On July 12th –16th, the U.S. Soccer Foundation hosted the Soccer for Success National Training. The event brought together representatives from over 50 program partners from across the country and introduced over 140 new and seasoned Soccer for Success trainers to the 2017-2018 curriculum. Trainers participated in our Train-the-Trainer model, which prepares participants to lead local Soccer for Success trainings throughout the program year.
The event began with opening remarks from our President & CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, about the important role coach-mentors play in the lives of Soccer for Success participants. He spoke on theme of the conference, ‘My Why,’ which had participants identify not what they do, but why they do it. "I'm here today because I believe all kids should have access to what you bring to the table," shared Foster-Simeon. He encouraged the trainers to identify their “why” and strive to achieve it every day.
After, participants were split into small training groups and began to review the program curriculum. Led by Soccer for Success Facilitators, these sessions allowed for participants to learn the new curriculum and share their best practices and ideas for teaching it.
“National Training was engaging, interactive, and gave me the opportunity to make lasting friendships with people that are doing what I am doing and have the same “why” as me. I left the training feeling motivated, encouraged, excited, and confident.”
- Amy, Washington Youth Soccer Association
Day two began with a presentation by Sarah Nance, an Advisor for Youth Success at Education Northwest, on best practices for facilitation and adult learning. After, participants took to the field and participated in a day of "teach-backs." Teach-backs allow for each trainer to demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum, while sharing and receiving feedback from their group.
"I immediately felt a warming and welcoming presence here. The facilitators are very energetic and motivated and they've made the initial experience very welcoming and easy to be a part of."
- Christopher, Chester Upland
The third day of National Training began with a discussion with Kim Miller, Vice President of Leadership & Education Programs, and Andrew Mac Intosh, National Director of Leadership & Education, from the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. They shared best practices to help trainers better connect with their teams, families, and communities that they serve.
Following the morning session, training groups took over the National Ellipse for a day of Soccer for Success teach-backs. The day finished with our “So You Think You Can Integrate?” challenge, where training groups created a cheer that celebrated healthy nutrition and active living.
On the final day, Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, led participants through an interactive session, helping them identify partners and allies within their communities that can assist them in achieving positive health and social outcomes for the youth they serve. "Our young people want to be seen and heard, so listen," emphasized Fulmore-Townsend as she concluded her session.
The event concluded with our National Training participants becoming certified Soccer for Success Trainers! Their graduation ceremony reflected the very impactful three-and-a-half-day training. We are excited to see the impact these trainers have in their local communities, as they train new coach-mentors and engage more kids in Soccer for Success!