Local AYSO Coach Follows Mother’s Footsteps in Volunteering

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Unsung Heroes

by Tom Pedulla – 

Like mother, like daughter. Like mother, like son.

When Patricia Evans saw her mother, Hilda, volunteer on behalf of numerous organizations, she decided to take it to another level. She devoted more than 30 years to the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps as an emergency medical technician and 20 years to Girl Scouts. Evans, 71, has made some concessions to age, but she still drives for It Takes a Village (ITAV).

Patricia’s son, Matthew, combines his passion for soccer with the desire to help a diverse group of local youngsters through his time as a coach and referee with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). In addition, he is a founding member of the Sleepy Hollow Football Club, in its first season in the Westchester Youth Soccer League.

Evans graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School in 1988. He is a 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with extensive experience in the restaurant business. In volunteering, he said he is merely following the good example he grew up with. “I got volunteerism and a sense of trying to help the community from my mother, and I’m very grateful to her for that,” he said. “She gave and gave and gave.”

So does Evans, 48. Despite working long hours as a food and beverage manager at a conference center, he makes sure to enjoy quality time with his wife, Nazareth, and their daughters, Maya, 19, and Alicia, 14, and still throws himself headlong into anything and everything having to do with local youth soccer.

He is a former Regional Commissioner for AYSO, serving from 2015-2017, and now oversees all of Westchester as Area Director. He is president of the Sleepy Hollow Football Club. He also previously volunteered as an usher at Tarrytown Music Hall.

“He is a great man of character and stability and a true leader in the community,” said John Sutherland, who is devoted to local teams in various sports.

Evans said he allows himself free time on major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. But that is all. He described his daily routine as “very complicated.” Rarely does he allow himself adequate sleep.

“It’s a job plus a full-time job as well,” he said of his work in soccer. “I love it, though.”

Patricia admires her son’s dedication. “Matthew puts his heart and soul into soccer,” she said. Evans believes AYSO and Sleepy Hollow Football Club provide vital outlets for girls and boys.

“For me, it is all about getting those kids on a field on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons and having an organized team to go to with an amount of structure,” he said. “There are a lot of kids in our organization and in our community who lack a certain structure in their lives and need that. You’d be surprised how many kids from all walks of life don’t have a family life. Both parents are working and the kids have a lot of time to themselves.”

Evans noted that the days when youngsters would develop skills and form friendships through pickup games are long gone. He worries that young people are consumed by social media and said of the hours they spend at practices and games, “It’s time away from their devices.”

Evans admitted his life is a constant struggle to find enough hours in the day. “Time is hard,” he said. “You never recover time.” He finds more than enough consolation, though, in knowing his time is so well spent.

The Hudson Independent presents “Unsung Heroes,” a series of articles profiling those who provide extraordinary service to the communities in the readership area. If you wish to suggest someone for this feature, please email us at editor@thehudsonindependent.com with a brief description of that person’s background.

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