What a busy time at the Foundation! Recently, the Programs team shipped out to Denver,Colorado for our 2nd annual “Training of the Trainers” event in anticipation of the upcoming Fall season of Soccer for Success. Finally over the jetlag and altitude, I want to share some highlights and observations from that amazing weekend.
“Training of the Trainers” is run each year in anticipation of our National Coaches Training held in Washington, DC (July 26-28, 2013). Twenty of the best and brightest, in both the world of soccer and youth development, come together to master the Foundation’s Soccer for Success curriculum, and prepare to teach over 200 coaches from across the nation how to effectively run their respective Soccer for Success programs. This being my first “Training of the Trainers,” I was both encouraged and inspired by the commitment shown by each and every trainer – I could not wait to get back to the office, roll up my sleeves and get ready for the fall season! Whether we were on the field walking through activities, or in classroom sessions sharing ideas and expertise on topics such as behavior management and nutrition education, it was clear that every trainer was dedicated to the goal of making the Soccer for Success program the best it can possibly be.
That’s not to say we didn’t have fun over the three-day training. Some of the highlights included our swing dance lessons (used as a fun and light ice-breaker), a Colorado Rapids game, and a handful of amusing-turned-intense scrimmages and games amongst the trainers. Fortunately, after the final whistle blew, the competitive edges cooled and everyone remained friends.
On a more serious note, it was amazing to observe the Soccer for Success curriculum take form, as the physical aspects of the program were expertly integrated with the youth development and nutrition education components that makes Soccer for Success unique. Through “teach backs” (where trainers demonstrated a portion of a Soccer for Success practice), the trainers were able to display their ability to adopt our curriculum and successfully run a practice. It was immediately clear that the trainers understood the goals of the program, and were more than ready to attend next month’s National Coaches Training. My proudest moment came when I realized that, despite all the trainers having their own specific skill set, everyone really came together to adopt the program and curriculum that we have spent months designing. Without teamwork, this program would not be successful and it was great to see everyone join together as a team for the greater good.
I cannot wait for National Coaches Training next month, and to see our curriculum in action this Fall at Soccer for Success programs across the country. Stay tuned for updates from the event!