LONG BEACH, Calif. — At the conclusion of the fall sports season, Special Olympics Southern California honored the Coaches of the Season for Fall 2017. Earning the honor were Kayla Edwards (softball, Santa Barbara), Eileen Malumaleumu (bowling, Carson), Jacque Martin (tennis, Oceanside), Carly Matera (volleyball, San Luis Obispo) and Adam Sutphin (soccer, Glendale).
Special Olympics Southern California serves more than 32,000 athletes and coaches like these help the athletes thrive. Each sports season, SOSC honors a coach from each sport. These five earned the honor for the previous fall season, which includes bowling, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
Kayla earned the Coach of the Season for softball, coaching in the Santa Barbara region. She became a part of the Special Olympics family while she studied at Purdue University, where she assisted in forming the first Special Olympics Club. She is originally from Minnesota but expresses, “Getting involved with Special Olympics has been one of my favorite parts of living in Santa Barbara.” Coaching softball has brought her back to growing up, remembering the times that she played softball.
The bowling honor went to Eileen, coaching the bowlers in the Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley region. She got started with Special Olympics when she first initiated her employment with the City of Carson Special Needs Program in 1995. Throughout the many years that Eileen has volunteered, she has not only coached bowling but also many other sports. Eileen expressed, “I love the athletes, seeing their enthusiasm and their happy spirit win or lose. The athletes, hands down, are what keep me going year after year.”
Long-time volunteer Jacque earned the honor for tennis, coaching in the San Diego region. Jacque is a parent to a daughter that has been participating with Special Olympics for years. She started as an involved parent and later stepped into her coaching role when the previous coaches for tennis retired. The athletes are what keep bringing her back every season, she expressed, “The minute I see the first athlete arrive at practice, its nothing but joy that fills my heart.”
Coaching in the San Luis Obispo region, Carly earned the volleyball honor. Carly started with Special Olympics during her first year at Cal Poly, while she pursued her degree in Special Education and wanted to get more involved in the community. She began coaching soccer and has had the honor of coaching volleyball, athletics, basketball, and now floor hockey. She expressed, “It’s hard to explain but the athletes give me energy and motivation to make it through the week. I think they teach me more than I could ever teach them!”
As for Adam, he coaches in the Santa Clarita Valley/Tri-Valley region and earned the honor for soccer. Adam started with Special Olympics in 2013 when he became interested in coaching athletics. Since his start, he has had the opportunity to coach athletics, soccer, and basketball he is looking forward to coaching flag football when it becomes available. “I’m here to help coach as much as I can, but these athletes have taught me so much about what is truly important in life; which is being the best you can be and just love everyone,” he said.
Read more on the Fall Coaches of the Season at the “Coaches Corner” on SOSC.org. Interested in volunteering as a coach? Registration is underway for the spring season. To learn more, visit SOSC.org/Volunteer.