Plumstead Christian’s Jim Zeldenrust named COY

PLUMSTEADVILLE — Jim Zeldenrust, Plumstead Christian School’s athletic director and varsity soccer coach, was named the Southeast Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association (SPSCA) Boys High School Coach of the Year Dec. 10 at their 43rd Annual Soccer Award Banquet. Zeldenrust was selected for this award from among all boys high school soccer coaches within Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Accepting the award, Jim Zeldenrust shared, “It is a great honor to receive this award and I accept it with the utmost humility — especially as I am surrounded by such a great group of soccer minds and coaches in this room this evening. Foremost, I want to thank God for the wonderful opportunity to coach soccer. I also want to thank Plumstead Christian School for the opportunity to work with such a great group of boys who work hard and try to play soccer in the right way and for the right reasons.’

Zeldenrust spent the first four years of his five year career co-coaching the varsity boys’ soccer team with former Plumstead Christian School (PCS) teacher Greg Jensen. During these earlier years district championships proved elusive. Despite this, Zeldenrust maintained the high standards that he and Jensen had established such as mile time requirements, off-season training, summer camps, and forced family fun time.

Coach ‘ Z,’ as his team affectionately refers to him, enjoyed a 20-3 record this year as head coach, and he had the privilege to lead his team to a division championship in the Bicentennial Athletic League. In postseason district competition, the PCS Panthers went on to defeat Faith Christian Academy in the District 1 semifinals and New-Hope Solebury High School in district title game, earning them their first ever district championship.

In postseason state level competition Coach ‘ Z’ and his team went further than any other team in Plumstead Christian School’s 66-year history with its top four finish in the state.

If any time is spent with Mr. Zeldenrust and his athletes, one might hear him ask the guys, “What’s your job as athletes?’ to which they will proclaim in unison, “to love each other.’ When he asks them the follow up question, “What’s my job as coach?’ they shout, “to love us.’

With Zeldenrust’s emphasis on what he and his team call “The Brotherhood’ it is no wonder his team, comprised mostly of underclassmen, was able to end New Hope-Solebury High School’s winning streak even though New Hope boasts the largest student population in the district — nearly 20 times larger in size than Plumstead Christian School’s student population. This was a true “David and Goliath’ story.

Dive deeper into the 2014 PCS soccer story and one learns that while the Panthers were enjoying their early state-level success, one Plumstead Christian School family experienced a heart-wrenching vehicle accident that sent Sammy — a pre-kindergarten student — to the intensive care with a traumatic brain injury. When the PCS boys soccer team inducted Sammy into their brotherhood, wore arm bands that read “4Sam,’ and dedicated the last games of their postseason play to this little friend, the true character of this team shined brightly.

“When I walk by the district championship trophy that our soccer team brought home this year,’ recounts Patrick Fitzpatrick, headmaster at Plumstead Christian School, “it will bring to the forefront of my mind the moment in our school’s history where two seemingly disparate community events — state level soccer and Sammy’s accident — merged into the grandest display of community love and support. We can’t talk about the success of our soccer team without also acknowledging and applauding the love that these boys showed to Sammy and his family. This will be Jim Zeldenrust’s legacy as a coach, not just the outstanding record that his players put forth this season.’

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