MARYVILLE — A former professional soccer player. A “cowboy” who uses his special talents to mentor youth. A coach and mentor who has spent countless hours developing youth through sports. A dedicated volunteer who has spent decades developing youth soccer programs including those for special needs children.
Those are the honorees that will be recognized at the Bob Emig Foundation Celebrating Leaders in Youth Sports event to be held Thursday, Oct. 1, at Horizon at Harry’s in Downtown St. Louis.
Tickets for the event are $100 per person or $800 for a group of 10, and drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available through Camille at the Bob Emig Foundation 343-2898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The master of ceremonies will be Joe Wiley, former St. Louis University basketball star and sports analyst. Special guest is former St. Louis Cardinal Kerry Robinson, who currently serves as a Cardinals’ scout.
The event proceeds will benefit the Bob Emig Foundation, named for the late Bob Emig, an area sportswriter and a leader in developing youth through participation in sports.
One of the award recipients is Roxana High graduate Dave Redden, who recently retired as the director of athletics at Metro East High School in Edwardsville.
He will receive the Jim Emig Coaching Award. Redden is a longtime area coach, teacher and basketball referee. Under Redden’s watch, many of the athletic teams at Metro East Lutheran have progressed. Among his recent accomplishments was getting the Knights into the revamped Prairie State Conference and the decision to co-op with Madison High school in football.
Redden’s foresight and determination helped save the Knights’ football program and gave the athletes at Madison the opportunity to play the game for the first time in 20 years.
A standout in track at Roxana High School, Redden also helped develop a solid cross country and track programs at MELHS. The boys' cross country teams captured three regional crowns and had state qualifiers five times in the last six seasons, while the girls have a streak of four consecutive seasons of state qualifiers.
Over the decades, Redden’s inspiration, support and dedication have had a positive impact on the lives of many youth athletes on and off the field.
The Bob Emig Award for supporter of youth sports honoree is Carter Rethwisch, better known as the “Cardinal Cowboy.” Rethwisch of St. Charles, Mo., has devoted his life to helping many youth and other charitable organizations through fundraising efforts and sharing his enthusiasm and positive outlook on life. His motto: Dream…then chase your dream.
His experience of surviving a tragic car accident at the age of 19 was his inspiration. When he was given a 50/50 chance of survival, his father would not hear of it and instilled in Carter a belief that he could return to the life he enjoyed before the accident. He inspired Carter to rid himself of negative thoughts of doubt, failure or mediocrity. After a long five years of recovery, Carter had to let go of just one dream—to be a professional baseball player.
His turned his tragic experience into a life of sharing with others his excitement for life, beating the odds and fulfilling your dreams—messages especially important to youth. You can read more about the “Cardinal Cowboy” at www.cardinalcowboy.com.
The Todd Bruns Athlete Award honoree is Joe Reiniger, former professional indoor soccer player and founder of the Gateway Futbol Club. Reiniger played forward for the St. Louis Ambush, Milwaukee Wave and the St. Louis Steamers. He was selected in the first round of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) amateur draft by the Ambush in 1993, and was named to the 1993-94 NPSL All-Rookie Team. While playing with the Wave, he was the MVP of the 2001 NPSL Championship. He played 13 seasons of professional indoor soccer and was a six-time NPSL/MISL All-Star, scoring more than 600 career goals and 1,300 points in his professional soccer career.
One of the most decorated professional soccer players to come out of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men’s soccer program, Reiniger will be inducted into the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2015 this month. He is the No. 4 all-time scorer at SIUE with 37 goals and 19 assists from 1989 to 1992. He led the Cougars in goals scored in three of his four seasons and is fifth all-time in goals scored.
He continues to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for the game in his work with the Gateway Futbol Club, a select soccer club headquartered in Troy. He lives in St. Jacob.
The Cathy Hill Volunteer Award honoree is Kevin Byrne, who has devoted decades to supporting youth through the sport of soccer. Byrne, of St. Louis, helped found the Kolping Kicks Soccer Club and has served that organization since the late 1970s. For the past 15 years he has also devoted himself to growing the Special Needs Soccer Association, SPENSA, a soccer program for young people with disabilities. Byrne believes that nothing – certainly not Down Syndrome, autism or even a wheelchair – should keep a child from experiencing the thrill of kicking a soccer ball down the field or scoring a goal.
The awards are named in memory of people who shared Emig’s love of youth sports and the ideals he believed in. They were a fellow coach and brother (Jim Emig), an athlete that Emig coached in youth soccer and admired throughout his athletic career (Todd Bruns), and a family friend and volunteer (Cathy Hill) who demonstrated the importance of volunteerism to youth sports. The Bob Emig Award goes to a dedicated supporter of youth sports. Emig was a sports reporter for the Metro-East Journal from 1966 until it closed in 1979. During his career, he was also a freelance reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX Radio and the Suburban Journal newspapers. Emig served as the editor for the Redbird Review newspaper in the early '80s. From 1994-2001, Emig was the Director of Competition for the Prairie State Games, Illinois' largest amateur sports festival.
In all of these endeavors, Emig focused not just on skill development, but also on mentoring youth through the experience of the sport. To learn more, visit EmigFoundation.org and Facebook.com/BobEmigFoundation.