André Burger’s support of soccer has spanned every aspect of the game … grassroots development at the local level, effective involvement at the state level and inspiring leadership at the regional level. For countless years, he has dedicated himself selflessly as soccer has grown and matured in North Carolina and in the South.
A graduate of the University of Leeds, England, he was employed by IBM UK and moved with his family to the United States in the early 1970s. In 1979 the family moved with IBM to Charlotte and in 1981 he was asked to be an assistant coach for a ’68 Classic team in the Park Sharon Athletic Association. The team won the U14 State Championship that spring and advanced to the Southern Regionals in San Antonio. André then helped to form a ‘66 team and coached a ‘69 team.
As the number of teams wanting to play at the classic level increased in PSAA, André offered to serve as the association’s liaison to NCYSA. Shortly afterwards, Andre and other enthusiastic parents created the Charlotte Park Sharon Soccer Club as a classic-only entity and he served the next few years as its President and Secretary. Another member of the CPSSC board at the time describes André’s service this way: “From the very first, he displayed the characteristics that folks throughout the broader soccer community have come to know him for. He is totally unflappable, a thoughtful man capable of focusing on the small-bore, immediate details, while at the same time clearly grasping the larger picture. He has an unfailing sense of humor, is passionate about all aspects of the sport of soccer and is totally committed in doing things right, regardless of his current assignment. People naturally looked toward him for leadership and guidance and perspective.”
Another long-time fixture of Charlotte-area soccer says this about André: “One of his strengths is the ability to get everyone to get together to talk about the best interests of youth soccer and how it can help to make a bigger and better impact on the youth involved.” His ability to get everyone to talk was the major factor in bringing about the 1994 merger of Charlotte Park Sharon Soccer Club and Charlotte United Soccer Association. The merger, which created Charlotte Park Sharon United SC, marked the first time in Charlotte history that there was one unified classic organization for the greater Charlotte area. The name was soon shortened to Charlotte Soccer Club. André was the first president of the newly merged club and he remained in that position until 1997.
Early in the 1990s, a serious move began to develop a good soccer field complex in Charlotte. This was unquestionably an André Burger driven initiative not likely to have been achieved without his leadership, energy, determination and commitment. The result is known today as the Ramblewood Soccer Complex.
During André’s years of involvement in the Charlotte area, he was frequently called on to provide direction and leadership at the state level but he politely resisted the calls. He finally acceded in 2001 when he agreed to stand for election as NCYSA VP for Tournaments, a position that he held until 2009. During his tenure, André’s insight into how to work constructively and positively with people became the hallmark of NCYSA’s tournaments. André was honored by NCYSA in 1996 with the Pioneer of the Game Award and in 1997 and 2003 with the President’s Award.
Early in the 2000s, Andre’s good works began to be felt and recognized outside of North Carolina when the concept of a new form of competition for highly-skilled teams and players in the South was forming. The new form, labeled the Premier League, involved identification of a small number of high-performing teams in each state and a schedule of competition among the teams on a multi-state basis. André was one of the original movers and shakers of the Region III Premier League and remains to this day one of the persons the league goes to when the current leadership has questions.
André added to his reputation in the region when North Carolina hosted the Southern Regional tournament in 2008. He served as the co-chair for the local organizing committee that conducted the tournament. The event was highly successful and André’s effective leadership was widely praised. During that time Andre’ served not only as co-chair of the local organizing committee, but simultaneously served as chair of the Region III Boys ODP program and as chair of the Region III Premier League Committee. As time passed, it was becoming increasingly clear not only in North Carolina but throughout the South that André Burger was a person that could be counted on to get a job done effectively and constructively.
Mike McDaniel, past Region III Director, eloquently expresses the shared sentiment about André: “Of all the accolades I could give André, perhaps the best one is that he is truly a gentleman’s gentleman. I have never seen him angry or heard him use foul language. I think he is the guy we all want to be when we grow up.” André was presented with a special award in 2008 for his dedication and effectiveness as a soccer leader in the South.
André is married to the former Ruth Homer. They have three children, Clive André, Jason Paul and Christopher Robert.