John Frederick has been an English teacher at Algonquin Regional High School in Northboro for 14 years, but he’s been a soccer coach for even longer.
Naturally, over time, his classroom has filled up with memorabilia from his teams — most notably the decade he spent as Algonquin’s boys’ soccer coach.
Frederick’s Tomahawks won Division 1 state titles in 2004 and 2005 and were state finalists in 2006. They also went undefeated in the 2008 regular season.
Frederick’s teams sparked a renaissance in Algonquin athletics, with the school winning seven state titles over the past decade.
“I certainly kind of grew up (as a coach) at Algonquin,” said the 43-year-old Frederick, who has added new pictures to his class from his latest coaching gig.
Frederick is entering his sixth season with the New England Revolution’s academy system — the 2014-15 rosters were announced last week, beginning another year — and he’s in his fourth year as head coach of the U-18 team. (The Revs Academy also fields a U-16 team and added a U-14 team in 2012.)
Frederick called joining the Revs, “the best professional choice I’ve ever made.”
But how did an English teacher from Algonquin get on the good side of Revs Director of Youth Development Bryan Scales?
“We had a mutual friend and ran into each other,” said Scales, who years later promoted Frederick to U-18 coach when he was put in charge of the academy.
That mutual friend was Revolution General Manager Mike Burns.
Burns and Frederick played high school soccer against each other in the late ’80s in some memorable Mid-Wach soccer clashes — Burns was on the Marlboro High team and Frederick on Algonquin.
Although Burns would go on into a different stratosphere — playing for the Revolution and the U.S. National Team — the two reunited when Frederick coached the boys’ soccer team at Marlboro for four years in the late ’90s.
Burns recruited Frederick to be an instructor at his annual soccer camp, which will take place again this year from July 28 to 31 at Ghiloni Park in Marlboro. Burns still runs the camp and Frederick still coaches there.
“One thing about John,” Burns said, “is he’s been with us from the beginning and you’re probably not going to find a guy that’s more passionate about coaching.”
It was at one of those Burns soccer camps that Frederick met and got acquainted with Scales, who was then the head coach of the Cornell men’s team.
Frederick consulted Scales when he briefly became an assistant on the Holy Cross men’s soccer team five years ago.
Scales said he thought Frederick’s time at HC helps him prepare academy graduates to be successful in the future. “(U-18 is) the final phase where you’re getting them ready for college or for a professional soccer career,” Scales said.
Over 50 academy players have gone on or are headed to play at notable colleges and many top players in New England will end up playing for Frederick.
Because of a rule put in place by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2012, kids have to choose between playing for all-expense-paid academies or their high school teams. The majority of top players end up choosing academies.
“To coach these young players, they are elite players that are truly talented and dedicated to their craft,” Frederick said. “That definitely drew me.”
Frederick coached Revs players like Weymouth’s Scott Caldwell and Diego Fagundez of Leominster, whom Frederick called “a very special talent.”
The 23-year-old Caldwell was the captain of the U-18 team in the academy’s inaugural season in 2008-09 before playing at college powerhouse Akron.
Frederick said Caldwell “may very well be the smartest player I’ve ever coached.”
The Revs’ two Homegrown players on the senior roster are one example of the academy’s success, but there are plenty other reasons to argue Frederick has been as successful with the Revs as he was coaching the Algonquin boys.
The website TopDrawerSoccer.com reported that in 2012, the Revs were rated the best academy in the country out of 77 ranked by U.S. Soccer. The Revolution reportedly received 20 out of a possible 25 points across five areas of evaluation.
Fredericks’s U-18 teams have made the 32-team U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs four times. The Revs U-18s advanced out of its four-team group into the knockout stage in 2013. In 2014, the Revolution won two of three games but were went sent home in the group stage because of a tiebreaker.
With the 2013-14 season wrapping up in late June, New England quickly reevaluated and named its latest academy rosters last Tuesday. Those lists included several locals, including three players on the U-18 team from Central Mass.
Matt Morana of Shrewsbury returns for another year, while newbies Isaque Couto and T.J. Soehn, both of Marlboro, will join him on the U-18s.
Couto played for Marlboro High last season, while Soehn is the son of first-team assistant Tom Soehn, who joined the Revs this past offseason.
Max Diamond of Hopedale will play on the U-16 team, while Southboro’s Trevor Burns and West Boylston’s Laszlo Dorogi were both named to the U-14 team.
Contact Carl Setterlund at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.