News Local news Sport news Tibi Regele hopes new facil­i­ty will help young­sters ful­fill soc­cer dreams

Tibi Regele hopes new facil­i­ty will help young­sters ful­fill soc­cer dreams

Tibi Regele instructs Car­ly Nel­son (left), 12, of Olm­st­ed Falls, while his daugh­ter Lily, 14, stands by at the net.

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OHIO — Tibi Regele under­stands bet­ter than most peo­ple what a soc­cer field of any kind can mean to a youngster.

So much so that the new indoor field of his dreams was in part inspired by the mod­est yet very spe­cial field of his youth.

“Friends com­ing over to our small place, with us try­ing to learn to drib­ble and keep the ball,” Regele said of the makeshift soc­cer field in his small back yard as a child in Budapest, Hungary.

“You could do a lot there, though. We played every day because it was a blast. There was Com­mu­nism around us. But soc­cer was some­thing they could­n’t take from us,” he said.

Regele’s Excel Soc­cer Skills Devel­op­ment in War­rensville Heights is designed to pro­vide boys and girls from age 4 through the high school years the fun­da­men­tal tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal skills nec­es­sary to improve their game. Play­ers — includ­ing goal­keep­ers — get instruc­tion in indi­vid­u­al­ized, small-group set­tings based on their strengths, weak­ness­es and style of play.

Young­sters, except begin­ners, par­tic­i­pate in two assess­ment class­es to deter­mine their instruc­tion lev­els. Par­ents can relax in an adjoin­ing wait­ing room, which includes two large TV mon­i­tors, one of which has live stream­ing of the play­ers being coached.

“We want the par­ents and kids to talk with us, and us lis­ten to them,” Regele said of Excel, which has been open to some instruc­tion since Oct. 7 and will be ful­ly oper­a­tional on Nov. 9. “We want it to be per­son­al. That’s what the feed­back has been.”

Regele has the first name Tibor, though he is known to every­one as Tibi. He played sev­en years of pro­fes­sion­al soc­cer for BP Volan SC in Hun­gary before immi­grat­ing to the Unit­ed States in 1994.

Regele is the girls var­si­ty coach at Mag­ni­fi­cat High School, lead­ing this year’s Blue Streaks to a Divi­sion I dis­trict cham­pi­onship game, which it lost to pow­er­house Strongsville. His 15 years of high school coach­ing include stays at Solon and Lau­rel, which he guid­ed to a state tour­na­ment run­ner-up fin­ish in 2011.

The 48-year-old Regele grew up in a poor neigh­bor­hood when Hun­gary was under the dic­ta­tor­ship of the Com­mu­nist Sovi­et Union. He first came to Cleve­land in 1990, as part of a group of young men spon­sored for a soc­cer vis­it near the time of Hun­gary gain­ing its inde­pen­dence as the Sovi­et Union col­lapsed. He became friends with peo­ple in Cleve­land’s large Hun­gar­i­an com­mu­ni­ty, and moved here to stay in 1994.

Regele lives in More­land Hills with his wife, Heather, and daugh­ter, Lily, 14. He owns a con­struc­tion busi­ness, which he began in the mid-1990s, as he became famil­iar with the cul­ture and lan­guage as a Cuya­hoga Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege student.

“I basi­cal­ly start­ed from scratch, but now is the time I feel like I need to give back,” Regele said. “I appre­ci­ate every­thing soc­cer has giv­en me. It’s time for me to give back some­thing to the com­mu­ni­ty and to the soc­cer world, by teach­ing these young ath­letes and work­ing on all the details and aspects of the game, and giv­ing them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to work on their skill sets.”

Nicole Felice is a soc­cer stand­out at Gan­non Uni­ver­si­ty, where she has earned aca­d­e­m­ic hon­ors. Regele was her coach at Laurel.

“Tibi goes beyond just want­i­ng to have a good team,” she says. “He cares about devel­op­ing a play­er to become an over­all well-round­ed per­son — not just a good play­er who will help him win games.

“Tibi taught me how to have a pos­i­tive out­look on every­thing I do in life, helped me become a bet­ter play­er and helped me learn how to tack­le prob­lems,” she said.

“I tore my ACL my fresh­man year in col­lege, and Tibi worked with me four days a week that entire sum­mer for free, so that I could return to my for­mer abilities.”

Work­ing with Regele at Excel are field instruc­tors Court­ney Zuen­del and Matt Tain­er, and goal­keep­er instruc­tor Dan­ny Nagy.

“This facil­i­ty is giv­ing young ath­letes the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be in an envi­ron­ment where they can work on their tech­ni­cal skills, mus­cle mem­o­ry, foot skills, ball con­trol and goal­keep­ing,” Regele said. “Soc­cer has always been my pas­sion. It gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to come to the Unit­ed States.”

Tibor’s soc­cer academy