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A Look Back on the 2018 Soccer for Success National Training

A Look Back on the 2018 Soccer for Success National Training

Every summer, individuals from across the country travel to Washington, D.C. for a four-day event to learn the new Soccer for Success curriculum. Through a combination of on-field demonstrations, activities, and classroom-style learning, these individuals become certified to train Soccer for Success coach-mentors back in their communities.

This year, there were over 130 individuals representing 46 Soccer for Success programs across the country in attendance at National Training. With the guidance of about 25 Facilitators, they returned to their communities ready to train roughly 5,000 coach-mentors who will strive to make a lasting positive impact on 100,000 youth in the 2018-2019 program year. 

On the opening day of National Training, U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, delivered opening remarks on the Foundation's push to make soccer a sport that is accessible to all. The success of National Training, he explained, would have an enormous effect on the Foundation’s ability to reach children in underserved communities through soccer. “Last year we served 45,000 children nationally in Soccer for Success. This year, at the end of the school year, we served over 70,000 children. Next year, it will be 100,000 children,” he explained to the group. “You're part of a national movement and when we talk about these big numbers, it all starts here, with you. None of those numbers are achievable without you.”

Ed Foster-Simeon

For the first part of the day, Facilitators began to teach the curriculum and soccer fundamentals of putting on a local training to National Training participants. Later that day, participants learned about teach-backs (a mechanism through which participants get to test and get feedback on their drills) and started to participate in their own.

Within the first day, Rezzi of Detroit PAL had already taken note of 10 new tactics and activities that she had learned and was excited to bring back to her community. “I always go home with so much new information,” she says. “Everyone here is a leader in their field and getting all that input from different people is great…It’s great to come together with these great minds that work in soccer.”

Rezzi’s colleague, Mikyle, was especially fond of this year’s emphasis on best practices for showing empathy. “I really like the new empathy piece. The empathy piece is so good, I actually use it with my wife...It’s really helped my marriage out believe it or not.”

Day two kicked off with a “Facilitation Frenzy,” wherein participants learned best practices for hosting and executing a local training and participated in the first round of teach-backs.

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"I loved it because of the vulnerability level that we all had," says Adrian from Think Together of the teach-backs. "To see everybody else at that same level was encouraging."

Chris of Detroit PAL says that teach-backs were his favorite part because they “gave me a chance to try the curriculum [and] it gave me a chance to work with some other people and get some feedback. Also, most of us don’t want to sit around all day. We want to get involved and get out there and do it…There’s a little bit of adrenaline going because you got to step in front of your peers and do it, but once you get going, it’s a great experience. And for new coaches it’s wonderful because they just feel that much more comfortable with everything."

But Adrian and Chris are not the only ones who recognize the power of teach-backs. “I’ve always been a hands-on kind of person,” explains National Training first-timer Jason of West Virginia 4-H, “So if you actually let me do it, I’m more engaged and I learn it quicker. I think it’s really great how they…let you learn the curriculum by doing.”

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The day closed with a soccer tournament where the likes of France and Croatia were replaced with powerhouses like team Passion Fruit, Tangy Ginger, and Chilling Watermelon during the World Cup of Nutrition. All teams were victorious!  

Throughout the day on Saturday, participants addressed training modules for how to host a local training, including “the coach-mentor blueprint,” “planning for success,” and “transition and closure.” More participants led their own teach-backs on the Ellipse with views of the Washington Monument, and at the end of the day, groups presented their team cheers in the annual Cheer Off.

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On the final day of National Training, participants heard from Alex Bard, grants and compliance manager at the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and Josh Opiola, risk management director at SportsEngine, to learn more about the implications of the Safe Sport Act. The presenters provided an in-depth look into the world of background screening, abuse awareness training, and appropriate player-coach conduct.

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At the end of National Training, participants were presented with graduation certificates, marking their completion of the National Training and gaining official accreditation to host local trainings back in their communities. To round out the weekend, all participants, staff, and facilitators came together to watch the World Cup final.

Our 2018 Soccer for Success National Training graduates will play a key role in the Foundation's effort to make soccer #EveryonesGame. Learn more about our goals at itseveryonesgame.org.

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Our Partners

  • adidas

    adidas, the Foundation's Safe Places to Play - Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation,  adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit adidas.com.

  • All Sports Enterprises, Inc.

    All Sports Enterprises, Inc. is the U.S. Soccer Foundation's preferred artificial turf supplier and installer. Whether you are building a new, or renovating an existing facility, All Sports Enterprises, Inc. has the materials and professional installation crews to outfit your entire complex. With over 30 different manufacturers to choose from, All Sports Enterprises, Inc. will assist you in selecting the right products for the right application. Its intallation crews are experienced, certified, and will work with you and your staff to make sure your project is a complete success.


  • APT

    APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit www.sportsbyapt.com.

  • CHA

    CHA Sports, the Foundation's Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport's full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit chacompanies.com

  • Hunter

    Hunter Industries, the Foundation's National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries' focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation's grants program.

  • Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.

  • Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit Kwikgoal.com.

  • MLS WORKS

    MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.

  • MTJ Sports

    MTJ Sports is honored to be a corporate partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Safe Places To Play program. We believe in working with our customers as a true business partnership. We cultivate & drive healthy relationships through our core business values and provide premier turnkey services for sports surfaces & equipment from design & manufacturing all the way through the installation process. For more information please visit our website at www.mtjsports.com or contact our president, Mats Jonmarker, directly via email at mats@mtjsports.com.

  • Musco

    As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ to learn more about the grant program and application process.

  • SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit scoresports.com.

  • Soccer.com

    Soccer.com, the Foundation's National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. Soccer.com embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit soccer.com.

  • Sport Court

    Sport Court®, the Foundation's Supplier for Futsal Surfaces, has been the industry leader in modular athletic flooring for over 30 years. With more than 50,000 installations worldwide, and the largest and most experienced network of authorized dealers, Sport Court® delivers innovative, durable, high-performance solutions for a variety of sports and activities. For more information, please visit sportcourt.com. Please contact Lauren Gillian at lgillian@sportcourt.com for any questions regarding Sport Court's corporate partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

  • Target

    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Spaces to Play in 2017, along with a million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.

  • TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.

    For more information on our services, please visit https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / Phone: 312-371-5852.

  • World Soccer Shop

    Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit www.worldsoccershop.com.

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