12239036098?profile=RESIZE_710xBob Rollins, shown with his wife, Shirley, holds the trophy that recognizes his induction into the Florida Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame. Rollins, of Boca Raton, was honored for his decades of coaching and leadership. Photo provided

By Faran Fagen

Bob Rollins of Boca Raton is a new member of the Florida Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame — one of only 30 people to be so honored since the inaugural choice in 1987.

Approaching his third decade as a Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District commissioner, Rollins has championed youth soccer in Boca Raton for nearly 40 years. He started coaching his son’s team, later became president of the Soccer Association of Boca Raton — Florida’s largest soccer club — and has served as SABR’s treasurer for 20 years.

“It was something I never expected,” said Rollins, 77. “You don’t do things like this — work with these programs — to get accolades. You work with kids to teach them the game, teach them teamwork, teach them how to be good sports.”

One of the most rewarding aspects of his longevity comes from attending games and seeing players he once coached. Some still refer to Rollins as “Coach” and are now coaching their own sons and daughters — extending the legacy of excellence Rollins helped create.

“That’s where the satisfaction comes in,” Rollins said. “It’s just great giving back.”

His youth soccer journey began when his wife, Shirley, volunteered him to coach their then 6-year-old son.

“Basketball was my sport growing up, and I had no experience playing or coaching soccer, but grew to love the sport,” Rollins said. “I met so many nice friends, and those relationships kept me involved in the sport at many levels.”

His achievements include becoming a certified high school and USSF soccer official, coaching a first-place team in a tournament, and elevating a travel team to play in the Surf Cup in San Diego.

On a personal level, coaching soccer reinforced his belief in recreation as a good way to keep kids in a healthy environment.

“It’s a place where they can learn good sportsmanship and fair play,” Rollins said. “It will carry over in life.”

Rollins instills these values in his own children. He and Shirley raised three — Rob, Melissa and Scott — in Boca Raton. The boys were soccer players, and the older one grew to 6-feet-6 and scored a basketball scholarship to Florida Atlantic University.

Two of Rollins’ grandchildren also live in Boca Raton. One grandson started playing soccer at age 5, and now starts as goalkeeper on Team Boca at 17.

These days, Bob and Shirley spend time watching their grandson play soccer. When Bob can, he goes offshore fishing with his older son and visits relatives in Tennessee.

Rollins is “at the sunset” of his community service and of his insurance career as a president with the Beacon Group.

He served on the board of directors of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, on the city parks and recreation advisory board for 10 years, and has been a Beach and Park District commissioner for 29 years. He also served on FAU’s Housing Finance Committee and Athletic Advisory Board. He was recently sworn in as chairman of Florida Association of Insurance Agents.

Rollins warranted induction to the FYSA Hall of Fame for his coaching contributions as well as his organizational guidance and expertise.

“With his professional career in insurance, the expertise that he’s lent to FYSA over the decades has really just been invaluable,” said Joel Dragan, FYSA executive director.

“People talk all the time about free legal services, but Bob has lent free insurance expertise to the association during a time that type of information has never been more valuable.”

The Florida Youth Soccer Association’s Hall of Fame recognizes people for their promotion of the sport, contributions to the growth of the game, and service as role models and standard-setters for future generations.

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