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News - Details

Indiana Soccer Family Mourns The Passing Of Langdon Kumler - A Pioneer And A Friend

 

Langdon W. Kumler, age 85, of Indianapolis, Indiana passed away on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Langdon was born April 4, 1936, to Joyce Kumler and John Coghlin Kumler. 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/indianapolis-in/langdon-kumler-10389816

Langdon_Kumler

Joe Sochacki, Indiana Fire’s girl’s ECNL director, when asked about his coach and mentor, had this to say: 

“The Indiana Soccer family lost a pioneer and a friend with the passing of coach Kumler. Coach Kumler made a variety of contributions to the game in Indiana during the 1970s, 80’s and 90’s as a coach, mentor, and administrator. He assisted the growth of the sport of soccer serving as a staff member of the United States Soccer Federation in Chicago and serving on the National Budget Committee for nearly 10 years. 

As a coach, Langdon formed the Northside Saints in 1978. The Saints were a community club with players predominantly from the Butler Tarkington and Meridian Kessler neighborhoods, located on the north side of Indianapolis. Langdon formed the team based around the birth years of two of his sons…(Taylor ‘68 and Bryan ’70). 

Kumler, a 1959 Purdue graduate and football player, found a passion for soccer and turned it into a coaching “career” that has been matched by few who have followed him. Kumler coached his teams for 8 plus years. The Saints teams won over 500 games and 6 state titles under his direction. The success of his teams and excellent player development gained Kumler the prestigious Met Life Region II “Coach of the Year” award in 1985. 

The Saints’ success culminated in 1988, when Kumler, along with coach Jorge Berry, led the Saints 1969 team to a Region II title and a berth in the McGuire Cup U19 finals. The Saints finished as the runner-up for the national title and are remembered as the first team to achieve such a feat in Indiana Youth Soccer Association’s history. That club-level success, led to Kumler taking on an expanded role in 1989, as he became the first coach in Butler’s men’s soccer history. 

Kumler was also known for finding ways to bring diversity to a game that significantly lacked diversity. He used the Tabernacle Presbyterian church league to identify kids who would never dream of playing travel soccer and provided them a home and place to develop as players and people. As a coach, he believed gender should not be an obstacle and provided Angela Berry-White an opportunity to do what few people at the time would dare do by allowing her to play with the boys. Angela leveraged that opportunity and was eventually selected as an NCAA Final Four All American, and became a member of the 1988, and 1992-3, Women’s National Team. 

Langdon (or “Daddy” as his wonderful wife called him) is survived by his wife JoAnn, daughter Donna, and sons Sam, Taylor, and Bryan. 

Thank you, Mr. Kumler, for the many lives you helped elevate through the sport of soccer. You were a pioneer in the sport of soccer in Indiana and you will be missed by the entire soccer family.” 

Chris Johnson, IUPUI’s head women’s soccer coach; another player whose life was substantially impacted by coach Kumler, had this to say: 

“At the end of my fall u15 club season, my club team fell apart. I had competed against the Saints Soccer club on a couple of occasions, and they were the best in the area. I aspired to be one of the Saints and went to a tryout in the gym at Park Tudor that winter. I remember my parents being very concerned about me trying out for them as my dad had not had a job for several years and we didn’t know how much it would cost. After a couple of days of attending the ‘tryout’, Mr. Kumler offered me a spot on the team because, as he stated, “you work hard”. I was elated at the compliment but also hesitant to ask how much it cost to play. I shared with him that my last travel team charged $50, and Mr. Kumler said that would be fine.   

Mr. Kumler paid for my uniform and when we traveled to out-of-town tournaments, I would show up with the $40 my mother had given me. Mr. Kumler would take $20 to cover my hotel room for the weekend and I would use the rest for food. I would stay with three other teammates whose parents were unable to travel.   

Mr. Kumler often gave me a ride to out-of-town games or would arrange a ride for me with someone else, as my parents did not have the ability to attend these games, but Mr. Kumler always made sure things were provided. 

I am sure there are many unsung heroes involved in youth athletics who go the extra mile to make sure players from all backgrounds are provided the opportunity to play. For me, that person was Langdon Kumler. Soccer has been an integral part of my life for the last 40 years and without the opportunity afforded me by coach Kumler I’m not sure what trajectory my life would have taken.  

A couple of years ago I had lunch with Mr. Kumler and his son Taylor. It was good catching up with the two of them, and I tried to use the opportunity to thank coach for what he had done for me. I am not sure he realized the substantial impact he had on my life, and I wanted him to know how much I valued his presence in my teenage years. I got a little choked up, and the words did not come out as eloquently as I hoped, but I think he understood what I was trying to say. I thank God for that lunch date and the opportunity to express my gratitude for Mr. Kumler. He was truly a positive influence in my life.” 

Chris Johnson - Women’s Soccer Coach, IUPUI Jaguars 

Below are a few of his soccer accomplishments:

  • RECREATIONAL COACH – TABERNACLE PRESBYTERIAN

  • Coach and Founder of soccer program – St. Richards School

  • Founder and Coach of Saints

  • First President of Central Indiana Youth Soccer League

  • Team participated in first-ever Region 2 Regionals

  • Treasurer, Indiana Youth Soccer Association

  • Treasurer, Region 2, U.S. Youth Soccer

  • Founder of Circle City Classic Soccer Tournament

  • Coach of first Indiana team to play in the National Finals (1988)

  • Budget Chairman, U.S. Youth Soccer

  • Budget Chairman, U.S. Soccer

  • Founder and Coach of Butler Men’s Varsity Soccer Team

  • Purchasing Director, U.S. Soccer

The Kumler family, request that in lieu of flowers, and in order to perpetuate Langdon’s life work of providing assistance to kids who might not otherwise realize a chance to play the beautiful game, that you donate to Indiana Soccer Association’s outreach initiative.

You can donate by visiting the following GoFundMe link https://gofund.me/5530b6ec

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