The U.S. Soccer Foundation is thrilled to be joined by Charlie Davies at the 2019 Soccer for Success National Training. Every year, community leaders from across the country head to Washington, D.C. to participate in a four-day training. Throughout the four days, they combine on-field demonstrations, activities, and classroom-style learning. After the event, they return to their communities to train the 5,000 coach-mentors that will impact the lives of over 120,000 young people in the 2019-2020 programming year.
Former USMNT striker and U.S. Soccer Foundation ambassador Charlie Davies sat down with the Foundation prior to the event to share his passion for the work and the importance of the National Training.
What is your personal “why” for remaining so committed to staying close to the game as you move into the next part of your career?
I’ve seen firsthand what a sport, especially soccer, can do for an individual, a family, a community, and a country. By remaining involved at every level of the game, and highlighting the important work of the Foundation, my goal is to educate and uplift the people of our country with everything the game has taught me.
What is one thing you wish would have been different about your experience playing when you were younger?
I wish that there had been more programs available. Programs like Soccer for Success are valuable for many reasons because they open the door to young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to play. They give young people an opportunity to learn essential life lessons that our sport teaches, especially working together, challenging themselves, and building healthy habits.
Speaking of life lessons, what was the best non-sport specific advice you received from a coach?
The lesson that remains with me today is – “If you want to achieve an extraordinary goal then you have to work hard for it every day and you must enjoy it.” This coach embodied the importance of working hard and modeled what it looked like to truly enjoy the opportunities we had. For me, this advice has played out both on and off the pitch, and it reminds me to embrace positivity while working hard.
The Soccer for Success National Training is the kick-off to the 2019-2020 season. How does the work of the Soccer for Success Trainers increase access to soccer to young people across the country?
The work of the Trainers is valuable in providing young people an opportunity to grow and help maximize their potential. They not only inspire the coaches who they will train, but also the young people who work with those coaches. The diversity in the room is so important, because they visibly inspire a generation of young people of color with essential life skills and fond memories that allow the game to grow.
Why should attendees be excited to come to the National Training?
It sounds like there are hundreds of connections to be made amongst attendees, and within those connections, they build the resources available to grow as a coach and a mentor. Together, they can continue to innovate in reaching people of all different backgrounds across the country.
What are you looking forward to at National Training?
I’m a firm believer in what the Foundation and the Trainers are doing in underserved communities. I’m looking forward to sharing my positivity with attendees. It gives me the utmost joy to give back and to learn from community leaders from across the country.
Stay tuned to learn more about our 2019 Soccer for Success National Training and follow us on social media to join the conversation.