“Alyssa! That was a 50-50 ball! You should own those!” Coach Ashley Yudin yelled out to our daughter Alyssa in one of the many soccer games that she played under his sometimes-stern supervision. Ashley had a voice as warm and fuzzy as a mile of rusty barbed wire, which you probably could find on the Texas plain in that state he called home once upon a time. Fortunately, he moved to California, otherwise, our paths never would have crossed.
Coach Ashley Yudin is a “throwback” to the times when I was involved in team sports. He taught the lessons of life as he carefully corrected the play and the attitudes of his players while they were engaged in action on the field. He did this with a variety of athletes from diverse backgrounds; both younger and older, boys and girls alike.
Coach Yudin wanted his teams to win, but wasn’t obsessed with winning. He reminded the players of Davis Xtreme ’92 that it was more important that they all develop healthy habits and behaviors that would last a lifetime, and soccer was the conduit through which that message was passed. Soccer was, and I am sure still is, fun to him, and he made sure it was the same for his players as well.
This coach created a special connection to the kids he guided that defies definition. He was, and is a special man who took precious time out of his life with his wife Nancy and their family to help guide our daughter Alyssa and her teammates through those perilous times we adults stoically refer to as adolescence.
He was not just a coach, but a teacher of the fundamentals of life; things like respect of self and others, good sportsmanship and teamwork. He taught his players how to share the ball, and how to win, but more importantly, how to lose with grace and dignity.
Ashley Yudin is living proof that one person can make a difference. His presence on the sidelines, and that unmistakable voice of his, will be missed, especially by future young people who will not have the benefit of his wisdom and guidance.
Thanks, coach, for being there for us.
Leora, Alyssa and David Hendricks