Meet Elizabeth Rappolt

An Extraordinary Volunteer and Coach


Libby Rappolt is shown here at the CYSA’s annual Hall of Fame Dinner. She was chosen as the District 1 Coach of the Year in 1998.

Elizabeth "Libby" Rappolt does not watch TV. She doesn't have the time. Her day starts and ends with soccer.

"I get up in the morning at 6 a.m. and get on the computer looking at emails," she says.

She receives from 15 to 40 a day from team administrators, coaches and parents associated with District 1's Viking Club and Viking League. She is president of the club and director of coaching for the league.

The rest of her day is spent taking her son, a high school senior, off to school; working part-time at a soccer equipment shop; practicing with two teams that she coaches; making dinner for her family; and at night attending soccer-related meetings, or working on registration and other administrative tasks for her club and league. She donates an average of 20 hours a week as a District 1 volunteer, in addition to her six paid hours as a coach.

Why does she do it?

"I am concerned that there are not a lot of healthy activities for kids," she says. "I want to provide something where kids can build their self esteem, especially girls."

She is pleased with the strides made in women's sports since the passage of Title IX, but concerned about the emphasis society places on female attractiveness, or form over substance. She explains that she thinks particular attention should be paid to girls between the ages of 12 and 14, because self-esteem-building activities are so important for adolescent girls.

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"It's the age where they start paying attention to their looks,” she says. “Team sports is about your efforts on the team; not what you look like; and there's built-in support from your teammates.”

District 1 Commissioner Ilona Montoya says Rappolt's gifts of time, energy and creativity have contributed greatly to the growth of the district's recreational program.

"The majority of our recreation players come in through the Viking Club," Montoya says. "Libby wants everybody to play."

In fact, Rappolt initiated one of the most popular programs in the district (other than traditional soccer play) - Micro-Soccer for children four to seven years old. She worked with other parents to start the project when her own son was only four years old. She wanted to give him a chance to play, despite his tender age, because she knew and valued the benefits of soccer. Now, 188 teams and hundreds of kids play Micro-Soccer.

She also contributed to the formation of Six-A-Side Soccer for girls 15 to 17 years old. Seventy girls now participate in Six-A-Side Soccer, which gets its name from the number of girls on each team. Games are conducted without a goalie and are meant to give teens who don't want to be in a competitive league, a chance to play just for the fun of the game. The program is in its second year; Rappolt says she would like to see something similar for boys.

She says her focus is always on increasing the number of kids who play soccer and not necessarily on creating champions.

"The percentage who can become champions is small. I define success as, 'Have you had such fun that this game is something you want to play your whole life?'" she says. "There is lots of focus on the elite player, but you don't have to be a great player to have a great time."

Coach Libby Rappolt (standing, far right) is shown here with one of the teams she coaches, the “Valkyries,” after they won the Tiburon-Mill Valley Tournament this past August.

She is proposing yet another innovative project where the purpose will be simply to provide a fun experience. It's called Drop-in Soccer and will consist of U9-11 players coming to a given location at an announced time, being randomly assigned to four-person teams, and playing a series of games.

Rappolt emphasizes, however, that none of the programs she's helped start, or other programs in the district, could exist without the help of many other dedicated volunteers.

"All of our programs are volunteer-based; it's really a community effort," she says. "I am just one of many hard workers in the youth community."

In addition to being a super volunteer, Rappolt is also an exceptional soccer player. She has been on several championship teams, including her present one, the Over-40 team with the Golden Gate Women's Soccer League. The group recently won its third US Nationals Women's Premier Championship.

She has also been a coach for 20 years and currently oversees two U12-13 girls' teams, the "Valkyries" and "Courage." In 1998 she was chosen as the California Youth Soccer Association's District 1 Coach of the Year. In 2007 she was honored by the Soccer Old Timers’ Organization for her numerous and extraordinary contributions to soccer.

Rappolt holds two science-related bachelor’s degrees, one in biochemistry and one in molecular biology, but she admits that over the years, her love for bugs has given way to her interest in making soccer available and accessible to children.

"My passion for soccer took over my passion for science," she says with a laugh.

And hundreds of children who play soccer in District 1 are beneficiaries of that change.

Become a District 1 Volunteer
District 1, like most CYSA districts, is always in need of volunteers. Currently people (parents, grandparents, friends, etc.) are needed to help with the Olympic Development Program as evaluators and trainers; keep fields clean; serve as team managers and coaches; and to perform secretarial, accounting and scheduling duties. If you think you could be a volunteer, please call Libby Rappolt at 415-753-3111 or email her at sfvikingssoccer@sbcglobal.net.