Long-time Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer staff member Gary Stephenson has been named Technical Director.
“Eastern Pennsylvania has long been known as a national leader in both coaching education and the Olympic Development Program,” CEO Chris Branscome said. “Over the last decade, Gary Stephenson has been responsible for further enhancing our position and driving it forward. His dedication to the game, player development and coaching education is exemplary. His efforts will greatly benefit our membership to grow the game even further.”
Stephenson succeeds Mike Barr in the role. Barr, a 2022 recipient of the US Youth Soccer Fleck Award for Excellence in Youth Coaching Education, retired last August. Stephenson worked closely with Barr as the assistant technical director and has held several different roles since joining the staff in 2011, including assistant director of coaching, coaching education instructor, ODP staff coach and most recently as director of soccer development and performance.
A native of Durham in northeast England, Stephenson holds a mechanical engineering degree from Nothumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and spent eight years working as a design engineer and structural analyst for Caterpillar. He started coaching men’s teams in 1994 and began his coaching journey in the United States in 2000. He was director of coaching for Upper Dublin SC and coached at Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals in the US Soccer Development Academy. He’s also served as a collegiate and high school coach at Holy Family University, Delaware Valley College, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Upper Dublin High School and St. Basil High School.
He is currently the regional Olympic Development Program head coach for the 2010 boys and helps lead the East region in an advisory role. In 2017, he led the U17 Boys Eastern Pennsylvania ODP team to a US Youth Soccer ODP National Championship. He holds a US Soccer A license and is a certified coaching instructor.
In 2012, Stephenson developed the coaching newsletter The Evolving Game in 2012, reaching 18,000 subscribers. He has delivered thousands of educational courses, been a featured presenter at the United Soccer Coaches annual convention and for US Youth Soccer workshops, conducted USSF courses in the Caribbean and been instrumental in designing curriculum for a wide range of programming.
He’s also a licensed referee and helped create the Eastern Pennsylvania Developmental Referee Program for intramural and recreation clubs. He’s served as the staff liaison to the Sideline Behavior Task Force and is a tireless advocate for children and their rights as players. He’s also led the growth of Eastern Pennsylvania’s international travel programs, organizing trips for ODP teams and their families to the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany each year.
“I am honored to take this role with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer,” Stephenson said. “My mentor, Mike Barr, blazed and continues to blaze the trail in the sport and I should thank him daily for everything he has done. We have an amazing opportunity with the growth of the game in our state and I’m grateful to be part of the team here at the state office casting vision and supporting the growth of the game.”
As Technical Director, Stephenson is responsible for coordinating the coaching curriculum for ODP, coaching courses and the general education of coaches and personnel throughout the state association while regularly interacting with US Soccer and US Youth Soccer in curriculum discussions, programming and course delivery.
Stephenson resides in York County with his wife and three children.