Website Manager



Derek Winterburn's

Coaching Bio


            Current:          Altoona Area High School: Girls Head Coach
                                    Mountain District Union: Coach
                                    AC United: Head Coach

            Experience:   Altoona Area Junior High: Head Coach
                                   AC United '96 Classic: Assistant Coach
                                   AC United '98 Div 4: Head Coach
                                   AC United '02 Div 4: Head Coach

Why did you join the Union?

When the Union began I was coaching a team that was able to qualify to play at the Classic level. At that point, we had a choice to make? Would we join the Union or stay together?  

We chose to join the Union.  As a coach, I felt this was the right decision for many reasons.  Even though we qualified for classic on our own, I knew my players deserved this opportunity. They deserved a constant high level of training, in an environment that would provide competition among players, in a club of good teams and coaches.

I am a firm believer that if our players are being pushed each and every training session, the players will not only get better individually, but the team will improve and find success. The players are growing in the environment created by the Union.

Are you happy with the Union?

Looking back, the choice to move to The Union was the right one. It was hard to give up "control". It was also hard to not be "the coach" of "my" team.  Even though I am not "the coach" of “my” team, I am "a coach" of that team.  Not only am I "a coach" of that team, but I am also "a coach" for every team that is part of the Union. 

With all the conversations about players that take place between coaches, I feel the best opportunities for each and every player are within the Union. Player’s best interests are talked about weekly. Our players are lucky to receive the level of training being provided but also the level of interest and care the coaches show in their growth and development as players and people.

Are you ok with the Union Coaching Teams?

The Union coaches are not just high-level local, Middle School and High School coaches, but coaches at Universities, and also a coach who has coached at the World Cup level.

Not only have the players gotten better from having these coaches training them, I have also been able to get better. I am now part of a coaching team. Whenever I have questions or concerns, I have people and resources to turn to. Our players will get used to playing for different coaches, playing in different positions, and playing in different formations. All of these things will help them be successful. The more versatile our players are, the more success they will find. The Union is creating a soccer community within these teams and among the coaches.

Why should players and coaches join the Union?

The Union is committed to providing an opportunity to play soccer at a higher level for committed boys and girls u13 and above. We are creating a club, not just random teams. Players can count on us having an opportunity for them to play locally at a high level but in order for the MDU to be as successful as it can be, players, parents, and coaches need to commit, invest and trust in the program.

The strides and achievements we have made as a club in the first two years are commendable, but it's only year two. We have big goals for the future and will continue to improve but we need like-minded players and coaches to join the program.

Are the Union teams winning?

Yes and No, depends on the team but we are happy with where we are in each teams development. Losing is an important part of growing. Actually with the Union we are trying to change the culture in terms of defining success. Winning is definitely a part of soccer and we want to win. However, winning is not everything. There are times when putting a winning team on the field will be more of a focus, in the Presidents' Cup, State Cup, etc. However, during league play and especially with young teams, MDU, will concentrate on player development.  Players will play in different positions, we will ask the team to build play and take risks in order to help them reach their full potential as players. This may lead to mistakes early, but will reward us with success as players grow.

I believe that if everyone buys in, our club WILL become better than the clubs in the Pittsburgh area because I feel we have the talent, the coaches, and the player development curriculum to do so.  The only missing piece is for players, parents, and coaches who have not done so to buy in to the program and let it work.

If anyone has any thoughts, questions, comments, or concerns, I am always willing to discuss them.  Feel free to contact me anytime.