Through the Eyes of a Trainer: 2018 Soccer for Succes National Training

My first introduction to soccer was just a few years ago at the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula. I was serving as the athletic coordinator at the time when I was approached by the athletic director about a new partnership to start implementing Soccer for Success into our programming. I was nervous to receive this news. I was brought on to coach basketball at the Boys & Girls Club – I knew the sport and I knew how to teach kids who had little previous knowledge about the sport.

But now I was in their shoes. How could I teach soccer to kids when I myself had no soccer experience?

After learning a bit more about the program that we were to start implementing, I, in turn, began to rethink my whole approach to coaching and my role as a coach. I came to realize that it didn’t matter what sport I was coaching so long as I had a positive impact on these kids. So, I decided to give the Soccer for Success coaching model a try.

Once the Soccer for Success season started, I was not as nervous anymore because the curriculum was so easy to teach. Everything is tailor made for you to succeed, for both coaches and participants alike. The kids became extremely excited about healthy eating; talking every day about nutrition has encouraged them to think about implementing these practices into their own lives. They even start off most sessions talking about healthy foods during our opening circle.

Throughout the program, I came to learn not only about myself, but the youth I was teaching. The program gave me a better understanding about the sport, but more importantly, a better understanding of the importance of youth development, regardless of sport. I have become more patient in teaching, I have learned how to reach out to kids, and I have seen that just checking in with them keeps them engaged because they feel cared for and looked after.

I was excited to come to the 2018 Soccer for Success National Training for my second year because, while I have learned a lot during my time as a coach-mentor, I know that there is always more to learn. It was especially impactful to be surrounded by facilitators that I could tell had a real understanding of what the Foundation wants their coach-mentors to know in terms of preparing them to lead the way forward.

Coach-Mentor Andre

This year, there were participants from different countries, different cities, different states. It’s sometimes hard to talk to people because you feel like you don’t fit in or have the same values, but of course you’re going to be different because you’re from different places. The facilitators set the tone for this year’s event. This is one of the best trainings I’ve been to because everyone has been so humble and approachable, starting at the top. I felt confident to talk to new people and I learned that you don’t have to be more than who you are – a lesson I hope to convey to the coach-mentors I will train to run Soccer for Success in my community.

I am excited to return home and implement what I’ve learned at National Training into my Soccer for Success sessions. It is, after all, the kids who keep me going. The smiles on their faces when they know you care is all I need to know I’m doing my job well.

With over 500 kids and 20 coach-mentors in our local Soccer for Success program, it is imperative that we all get the necessary training so that we can make the biggest possible impact. In a time where kids are not participating in the sport, either due to high costs or to a lack of enjoyment, it is of utmost importance that the coaches receive training that teaches positivity and how to understand the communities they serve. At National Training, all 130 of us were given the tools to succeed in this regard. Not only will I be able to implement best practices that I learned in my Soccer for Success sessions, but I will also be able to use the training I received to positively impact children in all sports that I coach.

There is no shortage of love for the game in my community, which makes it all the more humbling to know that the U.S. Soccer Foundation is entrusting me to advance its mission. The Foundation is providing me with the tools to deliver the training and trusts me to ensure that these kids enjoy a program that is designed to benefit them both physically and personally. To be trusted with such a task is a great feeling.

Andre was one of approximately 130 individuals to attend National Training. They return 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. Follow this link to learn more about this year’s National Training. Learn about the important role these coach-mentors play in helping us make soccer #EveryonesGame at


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    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

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    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

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    The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than $100 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need.  Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit

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    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

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    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



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    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 to learn more about the grant program and application process.

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    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

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  • Target


    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Places to Play in 2017, along with a $6 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.

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    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.

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