For DASC 10 year anniversary we'll be sharing 10 stories to remember what pillars built DASC, the memories from before the unification, during and after merging the Sioux Falls soccer entities.
For our next feature we want to share some insights from a long time soccer fixture here in Sioux Falls, Steve Burckhalter. Since 2001, Steve has been here in Sioux Falls doing everything from coaching at Augustana College to mowing and groundskeeping for Dakota Alliance. He's held almost every single position within club soccer as well as guided scores of young men and women into higher levels of soccer playing and coaching, including me Jud Conner. I met Steve when I was working at a bank here in Sioux Falls and as he was a consistent customer we struck up conversations around soccer, finding out he coached at my alma mater just directly before I was a student-athlete. With many commonalities, and such a small world, Steve invited me to join him as an observer to find out if I wanted to pursue coaching. December of 2015 was when I joined Steve for his soccer sessions at the Sanford Fieldhouse and now, May of 2019 I am the Youth Development Director for DASC, staff coach for the club and head boys soccer coach at Roosevelt High School. He truly inspired me to take up the mantle of coaching and educating young people through the joys of soccer and sport. As a mentor and friend, he is always willing to talk soccer training, remember specific games or just shoot the breeze. I know I'm not alone in being humbled by the thought that he saw something in me that I was unable to see in myself because this career path was something I had never dreamed of. Steve will always be a friend, confidant, colleague and mentor to me and dozens more in this soccer community and for that I (we) all want to say thank you. Below is an interview I had with Steve to get his insights on the past 10 years of this club, his time in Sioux Falls and what memories he'll take with him as he heads back to North Carolina to start a new adventure.
What roles have you had in Sioux Falls soccer?
Steve: Women’s HC at Augustana College 2001-2005, Girls Varsity HS coach at Lincoln 2009-2018, Dakota Gold staff coach/development academy, Associate Director of Coaching for Dakota Gold then became DGSC Club Director around 2008. "I can't always remember the exact years or titles but I know I've pretty much done everything at the club."
What sparked a change in the organizations?
Steve: "The different entities had different spokes to a wheel but they were incomplete without each other. They kind of knew that this one had rec or this one had traveling soccer but they were competing and each wasn't advancing the way they wanted to."
Why’d they merge?
Steve: "It was more a mutual decisions to pool resources, made more sense to have it all under one roof. The ideas behind merging came from all organizations but mainly Brandon Barkus helped spearhead the idea. He was not from here, didn't need the background in the organizations to help get them moving the right direction. He kind of helped steer things properly. The coaches in the community were all involved and worked together to help move it forward into one organization. I don't think we could have done anything without the coaches helping."
From a soccer standpoint, since you first arrived, how has soccer changed in Sioux Falls?
Steve: "For indoor soccer the Avera dome was a good first step and it was really the only option at the time. Of course the Sanford Fieldhouse is a huge step forward for an indoor facility before that ,you used to have to fight for time inside. The merger has been a good thing, to offer better opportunities to all kids at all levels. When you can offer a lot it’s a good thing. Dedicated people, with full-time coaches/staff, to help with all the programs has definitely improved the soccer community.
The stability has definitely helped improve numbers on competitive side, the younger side of the programs have stabilized and produced some quality players. Having a dedicated Academy and starting the competitive program at that age has certainly helped. As things grow the question becomes can we continue to get better coaches? We still haven't done much of this but regularly scheduled competitive games would be something to keep in mind, something that’s not tournament style, to help improve our players."
You’re leaving Sioux Falls this summer, what’s one lasting memory you’ll take with you to North Carolina from DASC or this community of soccer?
Steve “I've had the opportunity over the years to work with wonderful kids, families, parents, team managers, coaches. I feel really blessed in that respect, and I've been really lucky to have great kids and families to work with. The people in this area are just great. It’s always going to be the kids and families and the coaches that are the best memories. The wins or loses will always happen but it comes back to the kids and people who are here. Almost all of my soccer experience has come from Sioux Falls so it’s tough to leave and go somewhere new. I’m going to miss this place.”
Dakota Alliance Soccer Club 401 West 39th Street Sioux Falls, SD 57105 Mobile Phone: 605-332-5911 Fax: 605-332-0278