March 22nd, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Martha Soccer

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Martha Soccer
photo from

Program aims high with new coordinator

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to

Nets, shin guards and soccer goals are nothing new to the St. Martha community.

But this school year brought along a new soccer coordinator, Bert Becker, and that in turn has brought new excitement as well.

“We’ve had a soccer program since around 1980, but we are excited to have someone like Bert become the coordinator for the first time ever because of his experience with the sport,” said St. Martha Boys’ Athletic Director Mike Ellison.

According to Ellison, St. Martha currently has 74 kids playing soccer in grades 3-8 and 60 kids playing in grades K-2. With growing numbers, Ellison said the parish school “is blessed to offer the sport so that so many kids can learn.”

“This was another good year with participation in the sport,” said Ellison. “Bert helps with coordination among the coaches and has a passion to teach the sport.”

Becker, who attended Mt. Carmel and DeSales High School, played soccer in his young life and went onto Brescia College (now university) to play on scholarship at the school. His experience includes eleven years of high school coaching.

“At St. Martha, I want the kids to be competitive in the soccer leagues, but I want to build a program where kids can get exercise, learn the game, and respect each other and their opponents,” said Becker.

With an emphasis on respect and fundamentals of the game, Becker is excited about the younger student athletes getting involved in soccer.

“We are now starting the kids out (to play) in Kindergarten,” said Becker. “They have their own little league. For every age, I want the kids to understand how important it is to value their education first because no matter how good they are or how much fun a sport is, school is first.  I also want them to learn to respect themselves and others.  It is okay to be competitive and want to win, but at the end of the game, it is how we have treated others that makes us winners.”

With teams in game competition in April and May, Becker helps with responsibilities from getting nets and goals up and down to making sure balls are available for the kids.

“Bert has a deep passion for the sport, and that’s a great thing for the school,” said Ellison.

Ellison, who is in his fourth year as Boys’ Athletic Director joins Amy Ackermann in her third year in the role as Girls’ Athletic Director to welcome Bert into his soccer role.

“With fall and spring soccer available, we are a growing school with many young families interested in the athletic program,” said Ellison. “The leagues for the very young kids (grades 1-2) to get involved started just a couple years ago, and it’s a great thing to be able to offer that. Amy really helped get that age group involved.”

Even though the school has a new coordinator for the program at St. Martha, Ellison said the one victory for the game remains the same as ever.

Said Ellison: “The goal is for kids to have fun and learn something about soccer in a Christian setting. That seems to be the positive feedback we get here at St. Martha.”


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