This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the women coach-mentors who help make everyone feel valued by creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces for young people.
“I am so blessed to say that I get to do what I love for a living. Since 2017 through the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s and the Independent Health Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, I’ve been able to call one of our sites at JH Williams Park my second home and safe space.”
“I really enjoy the connection that we build with the children. I build strong relationships with a lot of them and their parents too. Just seeing them smile and seeing them have all that fun on the field is what fulfills me and makes me want to come back to Soccer for Success day after day.
The kids approach you and want to talk to you about their day. That really impacts me because I know I’m really doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m here helping these kids. I’m allowing them to open up to me.”
“As a coach-mentor, you’re just thinking about the kids and the opportunity to give kids the chance to learn and enjoy their childhood. I think that’s the most important thing that we all can do as adults. Even if you don’t have kids, just to see them come to life is amazing. I cherish it.”
“When I was younger, I had a lot of trouble speaking, specifically because I grew up speaking Spanish first and then I went to English school. But as soon as I step on the pitch, everyone says I become a different person.
Growing up, I had all male coaches, and I didn’t really ever profoundly connect with them, so to have that coach that asks, ‘how are you doing?’ and somebody that you can depend on, that’s who I try to be for my girls.”
“We teach [participants] nutrition, we mentor them, whether it’s homework-related or it’s something else. And on top of it, there is soccer. So there’s a lot more engagement with the kids, more one-on-one getting to know this kid…It’s more than just soccer, which is what I feel kids need…You can see it because the kids are changing, and they’re changing for the better.”
“Soccer has brought many great things to my family. I learned and have grown so much as a person and a parent in the program. I am now a true advocate of the program as it has taught me so much.”