Indiana youth soccer pioneer Langdon Kumler dies at the age of 85

Langdon Kumler, who died on Oct. 5 at the age of 85, was known nationally for his work for U.S. Soccer as a staff member in Chicago and head of the federation's budget committee, was most influential as a coach, mentor, and administrator in Indiana.

He played football at Purdue but turned to soccer coaching in Indianapolis in the late 1970s, forming the Northside Saints, a community club, in 1978.   Kumler is survived by his wife JoAnn, daughter Donna, and sons Sam, Taylor and Bryan.

Chris Johnson, IUPUI’s head women’s coach, had this to say about Kumler's influence:

“At the end of my fall U-15 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.”
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications