Eli Easterbrook was named the township's Volunteer of the Year for 2016. Here he receives the award from Mayor Bettina Bieri. Easterbrook was instrumental in transitioning the former soccer league from the PAL to the township.
WEST MILFORD — Eli Easterbrook, a major force in transitioning the West Milford Youth Soccer Organization from the former PAL group to a town program, was named the township's Volunteer of the Year for 2016.
Easterbrook, 43, is a lifelong resident of the township and a 1992 graduate of West Milford High School. He and his wife, Audra, have four children: Skyler, Paige, Jacob and Kaeden.
"It's definitely not a one-man show," said Easterbrook after receiving the award from Mayor Bettina Bieri. "This takes a lot of teamwork. I was shocked and humbled."
Easterbrook took the opportunity to thank a long list of coaches he has worked with throughout the years. "We've all had an impact on youth sports in West Milford," he added.
Home grownEasterbrook and his four siblings - Walter, Thomas, Robert and Jennifer - grew up in West Milford, raised by his parents Walter and Georgina.
He is an Eagle Scout, reaching the highest rank in Boy Scouting in 1992 by having a bike-a-thon to raise money for the Creative Playground at Rockport. He played soccer, baseball and wrestled as a young man. His dream was to play baseball for the New York Yankees. Alas, Derek Jeter ended that dream for him.
After graduating from West Milford High School, he went on to Ramapo College, graduating in 1998 with a degree in business management.
He served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1994 to 2000. He is currently a manager at Bayer Healthcare.
"At the forefront"Dan Trout, president of the West Milford Youth Soccer Organization, nominated his colleague for the award. Trout talked about the vision he, Easterbrook and a group of other parents had for the soccer league, to make it better for the children.
"Eli's been at the forefront of every improvement made," said Trout.
Easterbrook is the director of Player Development for the soccer league. He developed a player rating system used to create balanced teams. He has co-authored program guidelines that foster better communications between coaches and parents.
Currently, the program has grown to more than 500 participants, ages 4 through 14. They play soccer year round in this league. Easterbrook also created the end-of-season "Soccerfest," a celebration for players at the end of their season. He also assisted in the first ever "Summer Soccer Nights," a clinic to train players and to encourage further participation in West Milford soccer.
Easterbrook is also involved with the West Milford Little League.
What you give comes back to youAnd with all that Easterbrook has contributed to his various coaching gigs, he made note of what being involved in these programs has done for him personally, getting to spend such quality time with his own children, bonding with them on their various rides to and from games and practices. Not to mention he is up to date on all of the most current music.
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