North County's Malone tops in region Coach is finalist for national award


North County soccer coach Steve Malone has been chosen the Met Life National Soccer Coaches Association of America South Region Coach of the Year.

He is one of eight regional winners. One of the eight will be chosen national coach of the year, an award that will be presented during the NSCAA's convention next month in Atlanta.

Malone led his team to a 12-2 finish and a state playoff appearance in 1990, but, he said, that wasn't the only consideration.

"It's also based on your career," said Malone, who spent 23 years at Andover before becoming coach of North County this year after Andover and Brooklyn Park merged. "They look at your involvement with soccer on the state and local level."

In addition to being a member of the NSCAA, Malone serves on the All-America team selection committee, the Gatorade-USA Today Coaches Poll and the National Federation Rules Committee. He also has been on the state soccer committee since 1973 and currently is chairman. He has been the state tournament director since 1976.

He was chosen by the state coaches association last month as Maryland's top coach, beating out Middletown's Bob Sheffler and Whitman's Sam Debone.

To win the regional award, Malone then won a national election, beating out coaches from 13 other states.

"I was very surprised," he said. "I guess shocked is the best word. I knew the caliber of some of the guys I was up against. I was very surprised I won it."

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