Mankato United Soccer Club Announces Annual Lon & Regina Smith Service Award Winners

Mankato Times

MANKATO, MINN. — Amber Frederick and Neal Anderson, both of Mankato West High School, were awarded the 2017 Lon & Regina Smith Service Awards on Sunday, November 12 during the Mankato United Soccer Club All-City Soccer Banquet at the Centennial Student Union on the campus of Minnesota State University.

The award honors the Smith family, whose pioneering work lead to the creation of the Mankato United Soccer Club and the establishment of high school soccer in Mankato. Gary Peterson, Mankato United’s first President, created the award as part of the first All-City Soccer Banquet in an effort to recognize players who exhibited the traits that Lon and Ginny exemplified.

Each year the club selects a male and female high school senior from one of the area’s three high school programs who they believe has best represented the soccer community during their playing careers. The selection committee determines the recipient based on sportsmanship, leadership on and off the field, commitment to Mankato soccer, academic achievement, and overall exemplary behavior, while applying the following criteria to the decision: 1) GPA; 2) High school senior;  3) Sportsmanship;  4) Commitment to Mankato soccer;  5) Leadership on and off the field;  and 6)  No MSHSL rule infractions. 

Amber Frederick has been with the Mankato United Soccer Club for more than 12 years, where her teams saw great success, including an MYSA state championship and state runner-up appearance. Amber also served the club as a referee and volunteered in many other areas, including TOP Soccer, field setup, and numerous other activities. She also participated in the 2015 Sweden Gothia trip and was tabbed for the 2014 ODP Select Team. All of those club experiences set the stage for a successful high school career with the Scarlets, where Amber was a three year starter and letter winner for a team that made two consecutive state tournament appearances. Away from soccer, Frederick was equally accomplished, earning eleven additional letters in student council, speech, choir, and drama, where she appeared in nine Mankato West theater productions. 

An outstanding performer in the classroom, Amber sports a 4.11 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, and was selected as Homecoming queen candidate earlier this Fall. Frederick’s record of service in the community and with her church are expansive. Amber was a volunteer with the Youth Summer Theater and served five years with JOBS Daughters civic projects, where she was a past honored queen. Frederick is also a member of Centenary United Methodist Church, where she completed five mission trips and also volunteered with the church nursery, as a Sunday school teacher and summer bible school leader.  Following her graduation this Spring, Amber plans to enroll at the University of Minnesota next Fall.

Neal Anderson has a passion for many things and soccer is one of them. Neal has been involved in soccer with Mankato United for the last eight years as a player and more recently as an Assistant Coach for a U11 soccer team this spring and summer. Anderson has also been an outstanding student and is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the “A” Honor Roll continuously for three years. He is also active in many other school organizations, including Key Club, Project for Teens, Concert Choir and West Connection Choir, while also part of this Fall’s musical production.

Away from school, Neal is an Eagle Scout, who is actively involved in leadership in the youth organization of his church. He is a fourth year attendee of “early morning seminary,” a spiritual class through his church that focuses on learning about scripture and which meets each morning before school at 6:30 a.m. He also works with the Department of Transportation as part of the Phoenix Internship Program, assisting in the Hydraulics Department. In his spare time, Neal enjoys outdoor activities, including camping and canoeing and spending time with family and friends.  In the future, Anderson plans to serve a two-year mission for his church and attend college, where he plans to study biology, with future interest in a medical profession.

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