Hilary Kennedy, host of The US Youth Soccer Show on Fox Soccer Channel, set the stage for the night as the master of ceremonies for the more than 1,000 in attendance. Save of the Year, Recreation and Competitive Coach of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Male and Female Young Referee of the Year and the Dr. Thomas Fleck Award were also presented during the Gala and the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame inductees were honored as well.
Marcus Curaca, of Arlington, VA., netted his Goal of the Year while playing with his travel team, Venom, in the 2008 Jefferson Cup in Richmond, VA. The score was 0:0, only a few minutes remained in the game and the team needed a win to get ahead in the tournament. Though he had never done it in a game, or practiced it for that matter, Curaca scored the game-winning goal with a bicycle kick. For Curaca, the goal was personally fulfilling, but most of all, he was proud of his teammates because they always work hard and play together as a true team. Soccer is both a passion and hobby for him and through it, he has learned about the rewards of hard work and team commitment while striving to have fun and compete at a high level.
Marcus Curaca attends Yorktown High School in Arlington and will graduate in 2011. He holds a 3.8 grade point average while taking some Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as being on the Honor Roll. He received First Place in Engineering in the 2006 Regional Science Fair and is a member of the Hispanic Leadership Conference. Marcus played high school basketball in 2007 and was part of the Virginia Northern District Olympic Development Program (ODP) Pool in soccer.
The Arlington Venom play year-round soccer, including Region 1 in the Spring. The Venom compete in numerous nationally recognized tournaments such as the CASL Raleigh Shootout and Jefferson Cup. For the first time this Winter Venom travelled to Orlando to compete in the Disney Showcase at the Wide World of Sports. They advanced to the semi-finals, taking third place in the Predator Division. The Venom are professionally coached and trained by Jawed Sanie, a USSF B-licensed coach who has been building elite soccer players of all ages for over 15 years, and assistant coach Mo Tayari.
Arlington Soccer Association is a volunteer-based nonprofit soccer organization of over 5,000 players whose mission is to develop and manage year-round affordable, quality soccer experiences for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds and to serve as the leader and advocate for the advancement of soccer in Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.
US Youth Soccer is the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer is a nationwide body of over 600,000 volunteers and administrators, and over 300,000 dedicated coaches, most of who also are volunteers. US Youth Soccer registers over 3,000,000 youth players between the ages of five and nineteen. US Youth Soccer is made up of 55 member State Associations; one in each state, and two in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.