BREMEN — The North Central Soccer Association (NCSA) awarded Plymouth's Micah Harner the First Annual T. Edward Ummel Young Referee of the Year Award last weekend during the NCSA tournament in Bremen.
Ummel, a local attorney active in family, civic, church and soccer activities, passed away last October. He was the long-time treasurer of Argos Youth Soccer (AYS) as well as a coach, and he also served the NCSA in scheduling games and as the NCSA referee instructor.
“Ted was instrumental in helping our organization raise the level of its referees," said NCSA President Jon Alcorn. "He was an excellent IHSAA referee and brought a high standard to our recreation soccer referee training. He would watch games and quietly teach the refs at the breaks and after games. We wanted to honor his work and thought that this award represents well what he worked for.”
Harner is the son of Lonnie and Barb Harner and has refereed for three years. He is USSF certified and has officiated nearly 100 games in the NCSA recreational league and area travel games. He is a member of the Plymouth High School soccer team, and National Honor Society, among other activities.
“My wife is from Argos, and I know Ted did a great deal for Argos soccer," said Micah's father Lonnie. "Micah and I got to work with him last year and this award embodies how he dealt with people and what he put into them.”
The NCSA is comprised of eight local boards: Argos, Bremen, Culver, Fulton County, LaVille, Plymouth, Starke County and Walkerton. Each town selected a local winner from which the overall winner was chosen. Nearly 2,000 kids participated this spring.
Along with overall winner Harner, other local winners of the award were Elmer Roque of Argos, Zach Compton of Bremen, Kalee Miller of Culver, Emily King of Fulton County, Grace Smithberger of LaVille and Miranda Howard of Starke County. Each winner received a certificate and a cash award.
Ummel is survived by his wife Brenda and son Phillip, both of whom attended the weekend's ceremonies. Phillip, who is the varsity girls soccer coach at NorthWood High school, presented the Young Referee of the Year plaque to Harner.
“One thing I’ve recognized is the many lives my dad touched," said Phillip. "When officiating games, he tried to be very patient with coaches, drawing from his years as a coach and parent. He remembered what it was like to be on the sideline.”
“It was great to have Ted’s wife, Brenda, and son, Phillip, here today, along with some friends. I’m honored to have Phillip present the plaque and award to Micah on behalf of his father," said Alcorn.
“Ted would be pleased with the quality of the nominees for this award," Alcorn added. "Today is particularly memorable for me as Ted was diagnosed the week after this tourney last year. This is the sixteenth year of the tournament that Ted had much to do with starting. As I recognize the influence Ted had on me, I’m very happy that the NCSA will continue to honor him and promote his work.”