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|Coach raising local youth on soccer|
Growing up in Baltimore, Md., it might have been hard for Bruce Deaton to see himself coaching soccer, especially in Ouachita Parish.
Today, Deaton is known as the dean of youth soccer in the area and has impacted the soccer careers of hundreds of young players.
Deaton has helped the local youth soccer movement grow by leaps and bounds, with his tireless work as the boys and girls soccer coach at Ouachita Christian School and his long hours put into the development of the Northeast Louisiana Soccer Association. He serves as assistant director of coaching for that organization, and has has been there to help NELSA grow from the beginning.
For the past two years, Deaton has also been involved with the youth soccer camps at ULM with Warhawks soccer coach Stacy Lamb.
Deaton has quickly become one of the most well-liked coaches anywhere in Ouachita Parish as well.
"Everyone that plays for Bruce or has a kid play for Bruce loves him," Lamb said. "He has done so much good for soccer in this area and has continued to learn and improve himself as well as the players."
After working in the newspaper business in Salem, Ore., for a few years, Deaton moved back to the area in 1999. He began working in the front office of OCS in a fund-raising capacity and coaching soccer for the Eagles in 2002. Deaton had the pleasure of having his son, Tucker Deaton, play for him at OCS from 2005-2009.
"I have seen the game grow more and more each year," Deaton said.
"Programs at West Monroe, West Ouachita and Ruston have grown and gotten better recently."
Deaton is currently training two clubs in Monroe: A Under-12 and U-18 teams for NELSA. He is also a coach for the Louisiana Soccer Association. Deaton recently coached a U17 club team and is active with teams year around.
Deaton has greatly enjoyed his time at camps and summer workouts such as the ULM team camp.
"I can help train other teams' players," Deaton said. "I get to see them in a different environment. I really try to do everything I can to get soccer players to improve their game."
Deaton is one of the reasons for the development of great youth organizations such as NELSA and more high school programs that are rising to prominence around the parish each year.
"Soccer has much more involvement around here," Deaton said. "Young players at NELSA now may have a parent who has played the game."
Deaton recently attended the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Coaching Academy held at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill. where he earned the "NSCAA Advanced National Diploma."
During the six days of the coaching academy, Deaton participated in classroom and fields sessions designed for the experienced coach working with the advanced player.
Deaton also has the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National B and National Youth Licenses, as well as a regional goalkeeping diploma from the NSCAA.