When you think about youth soccer in the Bordentown community, the name Marcus Gutterson will probably come to mind.
Gutterson founded the Bordentown Community Soccer Association (BCSA) in the early 1970s and paved the way for soccer to be a big part of the Bordentown community for the last 40 years.
“He was truly the ‘Father of Bordentown soccer,’ ” said Bordentown Regional High School Principal Robert Walder of Gutterson. “Everyone in town knew him. He knew everyone in the community. He did everything he could to bring soccer to our community.”
Gutterson, 90, passed away on Feb. 6.
A native of Braintree, Massachusetts, Gutterson grew up in Long Island, New York, and moved to the Bordentown area in 1956 when he was working as a computer engineer for IBM.
Gutterson’s love for soccer began when he was stationed in France as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
He and his family continued to take trips out to France every summer after his service and when he moved to the Bordentown area.
As his love of soccer grew, so did Gutterson’s desire to bring soccer to the Bordentown community.
He helped put together a team of 18 players in 1969 with help of the Bordentown Elks to compete against teams in a league based in nearby Hamilton.
That propelled Gutterson to help expand soccer in Bordentown even more each year, using the fields at the former Bordentown Military Institute (BMI) as a space to play and teach the sport, and thus the BCSA was born.
Walder saw Gutterson’s development of the BCSA first hand while growing up in Bordentown.
He can remember Saturday mornings at the old BMI field where children from not just Bordentown, but from Chesterfield and Northern Burlington as well, would all come together to play soccer in games that were all organized by Gutterson.
Gutterson did it all for the BCSA. He spent endless hours preparing the fields, organizing team rosters with coaches, hiring referees and not to mention, making up the schedules for each team.
Opening day each season was also a big deal to Gutterson, Walder said.
“The opening day ceremony was an all out spectacle,” Walder added.
Gutterson’s efforts to bring soccer to the Bordentown community filtered into the high school ranks by the 1980s as the sport became a mainstay for both boys and girls in the Bordentown Regional High School athletic department.
In 1986, Bordentown won its first and only boys soccer state championship. Walder believes Gutterson’s desire to create the BCSA paved the way to the 1986 team winning the state championship.
“He was very important to the success and growth of the teams at the high school level,” Walder said. “He created a program that filtered in players who were well coached and were ready to take their talents in soccer to the next level.”
Gutterson would later become involved with the high school’s Hall of Fame Committee. His endless efforts to create the BCSA and devotion to the Bordentown community over the years led to the high school inducting Gutterson into the Bordentown Athletic Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Contributor in the class of 2002-03.
Gutterson continued to be involved with youth sports and high school sports in Bordentown in recent years.
Walder said he would see Gutterson at many soccer and football games at the high school over the years until the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the high school’s Hall of Fame Committee begins to reconnect this spring after not meeting the last two years because of the pandemic, Walder said there will be a discussion about a way to honor Gutterson’s death in the future.
“His influence on the Bordentown Regional High School athletic programs was huge,” Walder adds.
Gutterson is survived by his wife of 68 years, Jeannine Hediart Gutterson; his children, Jean Marc Gutterson and his wife Sandra, Martine Illuminate and her husband Vince, Catherine Gutterson, Patrick Gutterson and William Gutterson; five grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and two nieces.
Funeral services for Gutterson will be held Feb. 11 at the Peppler Funeral Home in Bordentown at 11 a.m.