Providing children with the tools to lead healthy and active lives is a team effort. On July 14th – 17th, the U.S. Soccer Foundation brought together representatives from over 40 organizations across the country to host our annual Soccer for Success National Training. To expand the impact of our program partners, the four-day event implemented our new Train-the-Trainer model, which prepares National Training participants to lead local Soccer for Success trainings after the event.
This year’s Soccer for Success National Training introduced more than 150 new and seasoned participants to the Soccer for Success curriculum for the 2016-2017 program year. The training started on a high note with opening remarks from our President & CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, and the White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston, on the valuable role coach-mentors play in creating healthier communities. Excited for the day ahead, participants then partook in workshops focused on physical activity, nutrition, and child safety.
The second day began with a session on best practices for facilitation and adult learning, led by Sarah Tollefson, an Advisor at the Institute for Youth Success at Education Northwest. To follow, participants engaged in a series of interactive on-field sessions. Led by Soccer for Success Facilitators, the participants were broken into small training groups and walked through the program modules. After participating in Soccer for Success activities, they each got the opportunity to demonstrate how they would teach the curriculum through a reflective “teach-back” exercise. This exercise is crucial to building a strong Soccer for Success Trainer because it allows participants to demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum while receiving helpful feedback from their peers.
On the third day, participants enjoyed a keynote address by Adam Foss of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Adam’s speech emphasized the importance of providing high-quality mentoring opportunities to underserved communities- a message that resonated deeply within attendees. Training groups were then led to the vibrant National Ellipse for a day of Soccer for Success “teach-backs.” To close the day, participants brought down the house during our 3rd annual Cheer-Off. Each training group created a cheer that celebrated healthy nutrition and active living, getting everyone pumped up for a successful Soccer for Success season.
On the final day, the participants became certified Soccer for Success Trainers! The moving graduation ceremony was reflective of a very impactful training. By sharing the tools necessary to provide a high-quality local Soccer for Success training, we can help more than 1,000 coach-mentors deliver high-impact programming to youth in their communities. Also, we are happy to report that the new Train-the-Trainer model was very well received. 94% of Trainers surveyed expressed that they felt more prepared to run Soccer for Success local trainings as a result of the National Training. I couldn’t be more grateful to have participated in this fun-filled event that motivated an incredible community of change-makers, and set a precedent for National Trainings to come.