Courage, Cooperation, and Perseverance – those are the themes of the 2010 National Youth Leadership Institute hosted by the Urban Soccer Collaborative.
The five day event held at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH and sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, welcomed youths ages 14-18 to recognize their potential leadership
qualities on and off the soccer field and provide them with the tools and information they need to continue developing their leadership skills.
“We are proud to serve as a sponsor of the National Youth Leadership Institute which supports the development of our current and future youth leaders,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We view soccer as a powerful vehicle for social change and believe that this experience will provide each of the participants with the tools, mentors, and motivation they need to succeed as leaders in their community.”
“I was on the wrong path, doing drugs, going to jail, doing some dumb stuff. To come here – this is my first time out of Virginia – I get to meet people from all different states. Soccer has helped me stop going the negative way and start going the positive way. I am excited to teach it to kids from where I’m from,” said Benjamin Dinarte Jr., a youth leader with the Eddie Pope Foundation.
Programs during the week-long event included 11 hours of instruction by licensed coaches and trainers on how to teach children the game of soccer through urban youth development programs. Sessions focused on issues unique to urban soccer programs, the fundamentals of developing a practice session and how to ensure adequate physical activity.
“Teach and learn. Then pass it on,” is the philosophy William Benitez a participant from Project Goal took from the informative coaching sessions.
Beyond the on-field activities, participants also attended Youth Development Workshops focused on goal setting and college preparation. Students learned how to assess their academic, athletic, and personal goals and use those assessments to develop individual action plans. The “careers in soccer” aspect provided a snapshot of the various professions that exist within the soccer community, focusing on the steps necessary to start making contacts in those fields through internships.
“I learned that whatever you put your mind on, you can achieve,” said participant Katherine Monroy of Illinois Youth Soccer.
“I have big dreams I want to achieve – today’s Goal Setting Workshop showed me how,” said participant Seleke K. of Akron Inner City SC.
During the Service and Leadership Training, students planned their own service-learning project that they will implement at home. They will be able to follow each other’s projects and share success stories on ugive.org.
In addition to support from the U.S. Soccer Foudnation, the Institute secured a sponsorship from FIFA Football for Hope. 24 student leaders from the following organizations attended the event: Soccer In The Streets (Atlanta), Illinois Youth Soccer (Chicago), Akron Inner City Soccer (Akron), JT Dorsey Foundation (Harrisburg), Eddie Pope Foundation (Prince William), Project GOAL (Providence), Downtown United City Soccer Initiative (NYC), U-Turn (Richmond), City FC (DC), Star City Soccer Foundation (Roanoke), South Bronx United (NYC).