Rowdies legend and FC Tampa Bay Executive Vice President, Technical Director and Director of Player Development Perry Van Der Beck will be inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame this Thursday night along with 11 other important soccer figures from the area. The annual induction dinner and ceremony will take place at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis.
Van Der Beck, who was born in Florissant, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis, was the first-ever player drafted out of high school into the North American Soccer League, in 1978. He went on to play professional soccer for 19 years as a midfielder and defender beginning his career for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. During FC Tampa Bay’s inaugural season in 2010, the club retired Van Der Beck’s number 12 jersey in a halftime ceremony on October 1 during the season finale against Baltimore.
“It is a great honor to be respected by the coaches and players that I grew up playing with back in St. Louis,” said Van Der Beck. “Having grown up and developed as a player there, this award is very, very special to me.”
Van Der Beck played in the Major Indoor Soccer League with the Wichita Wings, St. Louis Steamers and Dallas Sidekicks. He was a member of the U.S. National Team when it played in the NASL as Team America in Washington, D.C. He earned 23 caps playing for the U.S. National Soccer Team between 1979 and 1985. Van Der Beck captained the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team and was named United States Player of the Year in 1984.
After Van Der Beck’s successful playing career he has remained actively involved in the soccer community as a coach and mentor in the Tampa Bay area.
“Soccer was never a chore for me; it has always been a passion of mine. I played the game, I watched the game, I read about the game and I would reminisce with anyone and everyone who would listen to me. It became my life,” said Van Der Beck. “I have always wanted to put back into the game what I have gotten out of it. There were professional players who helped me with my development and that is something that I want to perpetuate.”
From 1988 through 1994, Van Der Beck was a professional soccer player and assistant coach for the former Tampa Bay Rowdies, then an American Professional Soccer League team.
From 1997 to 2002, Van Der Beck worked as Head Coach, Assistant Coach and Director of Community Relations for the Tampa Bay Mutiny. During the 1995 season Perry was an assistant coach, player and Director of Youth Development for the Tampa Bay Terror, a National Professional Soccer League team.
From 2004 to 2006, Van Der Beck was Head Coach and Technical Director of the Olympic Development Program for the Super Y League, a National Youth League. During the 2003-2004 season, Van Der Beck was a staff coach with the adidas Elite Soccer Program.
Van Der Beck served on the US Soccer Board of Directors between 1986 and 1993. His commitment to youth development and soccer is well known. He coached and directed from 1979 until 1994 for the renowned Campkickinthegrass throughout the Bay area.
“When you are honored by your peers it shows the respect that people have for the work you have done in the past and all the efforts and things you have put back into the game,” said Van Der Beck. “It is nice to know that people appreciate that hard work.”
The 2011 St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame Inductees:
Perry Van Der Beck