Day 2 of the Urban Soccer Symposium was another jam-packed day of engaging speeches, compelling workshops, and lively discussion. We opened the day with a great speech from Edward Gonzalez, an alumni of Project GOAL. Edward’s inspiring story helped set the tone for the morning by reminding us just how big a role soccer can play in life beyond the pitch.
My favorite part of the day was the Soccer for Social Change “Hackathon.” In a traditional hackathon, computer programmers and web developers collaborate intensively on a single project or problem. While most of us here are not web developers, Omar Woodard, Principal of Venture Philanthropy Partners, explained that we are sports-based youth developers who share common challenges and goals. For many of our organizations, fundraising is a major challenge, and one that often has no clear or permanent solution. The hackathon provided us with an opportunity to tap into our collective knowledge and share best practices and advice. By breaking into three separate groups to discuss our development strategies, we were able to identify common pitfalls and develop stronger strategies for supporting our sport-for-youth development efforts.
Following another busy afternoon of workshops, we ended the day with a presentation from former U.S. Men’s National Team player and founder of the Claudio Reyna Foundation, Claudio Reyna. As the current U.S. Youth Soccer Technical Director, Claudio was able to give us an inside look at the Federation’s new youth curriculum and explained the importance of age-appropriate coaching. For coaches and program operators alike, his presentation offered an exciting glimpse into the future of U.S. youth soccer.
Day 3 is up next – stay tuned for photos from the Capital Soccer Classic!