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Tom Rabstenek Award
The Tom Rabstenek Soccer Citizen Award acknowledges excellence in one of our senior players in honor of Tom, a founder of Manhattan Soccer Club, who died in 2005.
The award is given to the graduating player who best exemplifies the spirit of and enthusiasm for the game, sportsmanship and service to his/her team and the Club. This is not a best player award, although the best player may win it. Candidates should be the “glue” of his/her team. Community service with soccer or another theme is also valued by the award committee. The award includes a $1000 scholarship, to be used for books, college supplies or discretionary spending in college.
2012 Tom Rabstenek Award Winners:
For the first time, there are two winners:
Noe Jimenez - MSC Sparta
Noe came to MSC and joined Sparta in 2009 and had an immediate and lasting impact on the team. He has a caring and engaging demeanor, calm, focused and always concerned about those around him. On the pitch, that quiet soul becomes a fierce and skilled competitor, while constantly encouraging his teammates in competition. A natural leader, Noe was named captain early in his time with Sparta, always pushing his teammates to step up through his own example of discipline and efforts in practice and respect and sportsmanship on the field. He has always elevated the play of those around him and the team looks to him as an example. When suffering a serious ligament injury on his High School team during the fall of 2011, Noe could always be seen on the sidelines, cheering on his Sparta teammates whether at home or traveling to tournaments. Noe was a steadying force during the challenges of coaching changes, roster turnover and always remained at the core of the teams developing character. In spite of being recruited by several Academy teams, Noe ultimately chose to remain loyal to MSC and Sparta.
In addition to MSC soccer Noe was a four-year varsity starter for Midwood High School (Brooklyn) and the captain of the team for two years. His other primary focus has been the arts, in particular creative writing. Last year he and others from his writing class won first prize in a Holocaust Memorial Writing and Art contest. This year he had three selections published in the school's creative writing journal and in that same journal a fellow student dedicated a poem to Noe memorializing both his gifts as a poet and his generous support for others' creative efforts. Noe's writing reflects his integrity and his playfulness. In the words of his creative writing teacher, Noe "selects only the essential words and details giving his pieces texture and resonance without manipulation. Each work feels organic, there is an innate sensibility that distinguishes his work from others." In addition Noe plays the saxophone and was a member of his HS's Marching and Stage Bands for two years. As a Junior and Senior he participated in Sing, the school's annual talent competition among the classes. Additionally, for the last two summers he has worked at a local summer day camp. Noe will be attending St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.
Joani Medero - MSC Pride
Joani has been with Manhattan Soccer Club for ~10 years. She began with MSC in WSSL, and then on to the Rockets at U9. She has been on Manhattan Pride since it was named "Pride". In September 2011, Joani was diagnosed with LQT syndrome (a heart function condition) that limits her from playing, but she continues as part of the team regardless of the pain that she experiences while unable to participate in her passion for the game.
Joani will attend the College at Saint Rose in Albany. Until she undergoes further testing and determination regarding her diagnosed condition, she will not yet play at St Rose, but will be a member of the team as a recruited player.
Joani has a long history of community service, and service learning. She has assisted in programs of inclusion in sports for children with disabilities similar to the WSSL VIP program. She has also raised funds for various programs servicing children with autism spectrum disorder.
Joani would be described as the "glue" of the Pride. Prior to her diagnosed condition, Joani was an indispensable player starting and playing almost every minute of every game. She served as co-captain from 2009-2011, and continues to act in a leadership role. She attends tournaments during away stays for moral support and is a second set of hands for the coach. The Pride have dedicated their 2012 Spring season to Joani and have completed their Region 1 season with a 4-2-1 record. Its a testament to how much Joani is adored by her team.
2011 Tom Rabstenek Award Winner:
Danielle (Dani) Bennett - Falcons
Dani has played with MSC continuously for eight years, starting with the GU-11 MSC Demons, and then playing for six years with the MSC United from GU-12 through GU-17, and after the United team disbanded last year when most of the players graduated, Dani moved to the MSC Falcons for her final year with MSC. Dani has been a true “team player,” playing in all circumstances and under all conditions, even when under the weather herself, whenever her team needed her. She has been a starting player every year for all eight years, and has anchored the defense of all the teams on which she played. In her eight years (16 seasons) of scheduled games with MSC, Dani missed no more than three games, and those only because of outside circumstances. She has demonstrated excellent leadership qualities and she always given 200% effort regardless of the circumstances, cheering her teammates on and encouraging everyone to give their all. While Dani was playing with the MSC, the United won their division three times (once in Division 2 and twice
in Division 1) and the Falcons won their division last fall. Dani has simultaneously played Varsity soccer at her high school, Friends Seminary, starting in 8th Grade with the JV, and then Varsity soccer all four years (9th-12th Grade) as a starting player (defense or sweeper). Her Varsity team reached the finals and semi-finals of its league two of the four years. She was Varsity Captain her senior year.
Within the community, Dani has also given 200%. She was elected a Service Leader on the Friends Community Service Leaders Committee each year from 8th through 11th Grades, in which position she helped organize and manage the Friends community service program, planning community service events throughout the school year and shaping the program for upcoming years. During her senior year, she was elected the Clerk (the head position) of the Community Service Leaders Committee, in which position she oversaw all the other Service Leaders in managing the Friends community service program. Dani has also pursued her passion in environmental issues, as a member of the Friends environmental club “SAVE” (Saving Animals, Vegetation and the Environment) for all four years of high school, and leading the club as President during both junior and senior years. With SAVE, Dani organized numerous school environmental programs, all of which will continue annually after she graduates. Dani also volunteered on the Long Island organic farm, Garden of Eve, over the summers in high school and with the nonprofit, Greenmarket NYC, during the school year. Dani was asked to be a Peer Tutor in Spanish for four years at Friends and is working this summer at Camp Taconic, helping with the soccer and choral programs. In addition to soccer, Dani has sung with the Young People’s Chorus of NYC for 10 years, with which she performed in over 40 cities in the US, Europe and Japan, won gold medals in the World Choir Olympics in Austria, and was elected a Section Leader her senior year. Dani is attending Tufts University in the fall, and will definitely be playing soccer on campus (if not as a walk-on, then with Club soccer program.
About the Tom Rabstenek Award
Details and Eligibility:
The Rabstenek award winner is announced at the end-of-year meeting each June.
A candidate for this award must have played on an MSC team for at least 3 years, must graduate from high school this spring and must plan on attending a school of higher education after graduation from high school.
Past Winners of the Tom Rabstenek Award:
2007-Darby Nelson (Manhattan Element)
2008-Chelsea Weinberg (Manhattan Sirens)
2009-David Deneroff (Manhattan Jazz)
2010-Isabel Wiggans (Manhattan United)
For those who did not know Tom Rabstenek, what he meant to the Manhattan Soccer Club is described wonderfully by past President Ellen Josem: Tom was both a visionary and a pragmatist at the same time. He wanted everything in place yesterday, but was aware that it would take years to become the club he envisioned we could be. He worked hard, and expected all of us to work equally as hard to achieve our goals. While his focus was always on the kids, he deeply understood the need for process and consensus building in a community based organization comprised of a volunteer work force. He was a man of all seasons, and we were lucky to have him as our steward. While Tom loved to see MSC teams excel, what he cared most about were the lessons learned from team sports – self discipline, skill mastery, how to be a team player, how to win with grace and lose with dignity, and most important of all, how to treat others with respect. I can think of no finer way to honor him than by creating the MSC good citizenship award in his name for in essence, Tom will always be the MSC’s best citizen.