ASC COACHES AND TRAINERS
Heins has 10 years of coaching experience and started coaching with Abington Soccer Club (ASC) in 2019 after recently relocating to the area, bringing with him a wealth of coaching and playing experience. Prior to ASC, he was with the Richmond Kickers in Virginia from 2012-2018, working with elite players ranging from ages 9 to 14. While in Richmond, Heins also served as a Volunteer Assistant for Women's Soccer at the University of Richmond immediately after his retirement from professional soccer. Before his time in Virginia, Heins was training teams in South Jersey, including PDA South.
In addition to coaching, Heins played over 170 games and scored over 35 goals as a professional. Heins spent time with the following professional indoor and outdoor teams: USL Pro's Richmond Kickers from 2010-2012, USL 1's Rochester Rhinos from 2008-2010, MISL's Philadelphia KiXX from 2007-2010, and USL 2's City Islanders in 2007. Heins played collegiately on an athletic scholarship at Temple University, after which he was drafted into the professional ranks as the Philadelphia KiXX’s first pick. He played club soccer for five seasons with PDL’s South Jersey/Ocean City Barons.
With Heins' experience playing professionally as a defender, winger, attacking center mid, and striker he brings with him a wealth of knowledge that he is eager to pass to ASC’s players. Heins' best asset is his ability to communicate and instill his knowledge in ways that keep the game fun and relatable to youth players.
Coach Emma is a head coach and trainer for Abington Soccer Club and also serves as AYS' Vice President of Recreational Soccer and AYSL Referee Coordinator. She holds coaching diplomas from United Soccer Coaches Association and a coaching certification from the Positive Coaching Alliance. Emma has worked as a trainer for the Riverfront Soccer Academy and as an instructor in the Micro-Soccer Program. She has also served as a head coach at both Keystone Giants Soccer Camp and Soccer Plus Summer Training Camp.
Emma served as an assistant coach for the ODP U13 girls in 2017-2018 and was an assistant coach for the ASC Jr. Lady Comets team that won the 2013 EPYSA State Challenge Cup. Emma received a United States Soccer Federation Grade 8 Refereeing certification and has been a referee in both the Lehigh Valley Youth Soccer League and Abington Youth Soccer League.
A product of Northeastern PA, and a graduate of Abington Heights and the University of Scranton, Emma was a four-year varsity starter and three-time all-conference forward for the Abington Heights Lady Comets, playing for a team that won four straight District 2 championships. In her senior year, she captained the team to an undefeated season, and later that year, she was named MVP of the UNICO senior all-star game. After beginning her club soccer career on local soil with the Abington Spice, Back Mountain Spirit, and Lakeland Revolution, she expanded to playing for premier teams at the regional level. In this capacity, she played for the AC Perugia Grifos and Keystone Athletic in the Super Y League and with the Cantalao Explosion which went undefeated in the premier division of the Philadelphia Area Girls Soccer League. During this same time, she was an award winning participant in the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy in New Jersey, where she was mentored by both professional soccer coaches and members of the U.S. Women's National Team.
Emma is happy to remain part of the club she grew up playing for and continue giving back to a program that gave her so much.
Lilly Cross is a highly experienced player and coach and brings a strong pedigree, background and soccer knowledge to Abington Soccer Club. Lilly is currently an assistant coach for the Keystone College Women’s team and is a valuable asset to their program. She previously coached all ages at camps and in the Hershey area.
Lilly played college soccer at the decorated powerhouse of Messiah College. In Lilly’s four seasons at Messiah, she and the team reached the National Championship in 2016, National Semi-Final in 2015, Elite Eight in 2017, and Sweet Sixteen in 2018. Additionally, Lilly and the team were Conference Champions for 3 years. Lilly’s experience as a player also includes playing for a WPSL team Hershey from 2015-2019 (earning all star honors in 2016) and her time in high school at Cumberland Valley which saw her team reach the state finals two years in a row, winning in 2012.
Mike Sotak has a long soccer history in the NEPA area, having coached and trained players of all ages since 2005. Mike holds coaching diplomas and certificates including NSCAA, Regional Diplomas, and Goalkeeping Diplomas. As a coach, Mike has the experience of forming travel teams and building them into highly recognized and distinguished teams. Some of Mike’s accomplishments with his teams include winners of Hershey Invitational, Hempfield Fall Classic, Lehigh Valley Youth Soccer League (5 times), Eastern Pennsylvania Turkey Hill Challenge Cup, EPYSA Indoor Cup, and Lou Ramos Classic. Mike’s proudest achievements have been the recognition of his players in the form of 4 All-State PSAC honorees, 1 Eastern Regional honoree from NSCAA, multiple “Times Tribune All Regional Teams” players, and helping his player reach their goals of becoming collegiate players.
Mike grew up playing with Abington United and attended Bishop O’Hara, helping them to 2 division championships while serving as captain. Mike played collegiately for the University of Scranton Royals from 2003-2005.
Victor hails from the soccer rich country of Nigeria and played the majority of his youth career with Young Stars Football Academy. After playing with Young Stars and other interstate club competitions, Victor was recruited by an agent to play collegiate soccer in the US. Victor made a name for himself at Genesee Community College scoring 10 goals and registering 11 assists as a defensive and box-to-box midfielder in only 37 games. Upon transferring to Clarks Summit University, Victor continued to show his intelligence for the game in defensive midlfield and his creativity. In his final season, he was recognized as a part of the 2nd Team All-CSAC.
Victor has continued to pass his knowledge of the game through multiple soccer camps in the region and has joined Abington Soccer Club in Fall 2019.
Andrew Smith completed his 21st season as Head Women's Soccer Coach at Marywood in 2020.
Smith is also in his tenth year as the University's Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation for
Communications after serving six years as Director of Sports Information and Athletics Promotion
Under Smith’s leadership, the Pacers have amassed an overall record of 198-152-26 (.561) with a
126-44-15 (.722) mark in Conference play in 20 seasons.
The holder of a USSF “B” license and United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) Premier Diploma, Smith also holds a Goalkeeping Level I diploma as well as an LGBT: Diversity and Inclusion diploma from the United Soccer Coaches.
Smith also served as the Head Coach of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) Olympic Development Program (ODP) for the 20015 (U12) Girls for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area for the 2016-17 season. He is currently a head coach with Abington Youth Soccer's high school age travel girl's team and is a certified US Soccer and PIAA Referee.
John Velasco enters his second season as head coach of Marywood University's men's soccer program,
leading the Pacers to the Atlantic East Conference playoffs in his first season at the helm. Velasco also
serves as the Facilities Manager for the Athletics and Recreation Department and assists the women's
soccer program, primarily working with goalkeepers.
Velasco previously was a head coach at Kean University in 2016, where he led the Cougars to an at-large
NCAA tournament bid after finishing in the top 10 nationally in goals, assists, points, shots and shots on
goal. He finished with a 14-6-1 record and led the team to its first NCAA tournament since 2010. He coached one All-Region, six All-Conference, and one CoSIDA Academic All-District.
In 2017, Velasco was an assistant men’s soccer coach at Division II Bloomfield College in New Jersey.
During the early part of his career, he also served as an assistant coach at Kean, as an Academy staff coach, and as part of the First Team support staff with the Columbus Crew SC of Major League Soccer.
With the Columbus Crew, Velasco assisted in the tactical, technical and developmental strategy of academy players, in addition to overseeing the MLS first team’s budgeting for apparel-related products.
A former four-time New Jersey All-State, All-Middlesex County, and All-Conference selection in high school, Velasco was part of the New Jersey State and Region 1 Olympic Development Program team, while also selected as part of the Youth National Team player pool. Velasco played at both East Stroudsburg University and Montclair State University where he was part of multiple conference championships. He also played for the Ironbound Express (USL/PDL) and the New Jersey Blaze (NPSL).
Velasco has also worked under Nike Soccer, providing training sessions throughout the East Coast as the Regional Tour Manager. In addition, he's worked with Nike's The Chance Academy soccer program (North America) as a scout on the east coast, identifying players from both academy and non-academy teams such as NY Red Bulls, Players Development Academy (N.J.), Bronx United (N.Y.), NY Kosmos FC (N.Y.), BW Gottschee Academy (N.Y.), Bethesda SC (Md.), Charlotte Soccer Academy (N.C.) , Concord Fire (Ga.), and Georgia United. Velasco also worked in conjunction with the Youth U.S Soccer Training Centers and Combines through the Nike Soccer Programs.