As a committee member of Soccer Across America, it has been a pleasure to collaborate with the U.S. Soccer Foundation at the Urban Soccer Symposium to help bridge the gap between State Associations, clubs, and grassroots organizations working in underserved communities.
Soccer can be the platform to keep kids active and affect positive change. This is where we can have the greatest opportunity for success. It is a good model and shows us how we can use sport as a vehicle to get into communities to spark interest and development. Finding the next great player is exciting, but the primary mission is building communities and creating healthy lifestyles. It is the idea of providing and managing sustainable programs for long-term growth, fostering an environment of inclusion.
The Urban Soccer Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to ‘connect the dots,’ gather information on existing programs that have had success, and share best practices. The event allows you to improve your internal and external communication, as well as gain a better understanding of critical items in need of pursuit. It gives you the ability to learn how to offer support, particularly in an administrative role. The ultimate goal is to increase participation in soccer by attracting first-time players and to have a profound impact in multicultural communities.
The Symposium has allowed Soccer Across America to shape the four following themes through the various workshops and sessions:
- Community Building (Active collaborations)
- Celebrating Diversity/Legacy (America and abroad)
- Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
- Player Development (Soccer and/or life skills)
Thank you to the U.S. Soccer Foundation for putting on this great showcase. I always look forward to developmental opportunities, to grow the game, and to change our environment through education.
Tom Condone is the Executive Director of Alabama Soccer and the Chairman of Region 3 for Soccer Across America. He will be presenting at the 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium about working with State Associations on how to develop programs in underserved communities.