Nov 242012
 
Soccer is a Bonus Slider

 

Their triumphant smiles are eternal and not simply in the photograph, but in their young memories. Their little legs and minds had accomplished the unthinkable. These kids were never ‘supposed’ to win soccer tournaments. A trophy? Collective success and well-placed pride? Never. Not for them, not for those kids.

If I must choose a highlight to my four month study abroad experience in Oaxaca, México, the moment that stands out is when I received a picture via email from my internship supervisor, Bonifacio. In the picture nearly all the boys and girls I had been coaching every afternoon stood with their PE uniforms and a beautiful trophy; they had won their annual soccer tournament. Bonifacio had informed me before I began my internship as a PE teacher at the school located in Zaachila, about half hour south of Oaxaca, that in previous years the children had lost every game. The simple reality was the other teams had access to good fields, shoes, teachers and coaches.

To paint you a picture, the kids in Zaachila played on a dusty, rocky field with balls that often popped upon impact. There was no such thing as a real pass. The school of around 40 kids sat literally in the shadow of a landfill and the kids’ parents made a living, for the most part, on separating the recyclable items from the garbage. Most of the kids’ shoes were from the landfill. What kind of strength would you need to live on what everyone else threw away?

Needless to say, morale and confidence were lacking when it came to the annual soccer tournament. Many of the kids expressed to me they didn’t feel like they belonged in the tournament, even though they were from the same area. “No es un secreto, los ricos siempre ganan.” Those eight words from a 5th grader named Santiago have stayed with me for these past three years. “It’s not a secret, the rich always win.” He was just referring to the soccer tournament…right? His expression indicated otherwise as his blank stare found the landfill and he sighed.

I was nobody to try and change their minds, but I could definitely offer some passing and dribbling drills, relay races and other games to get them excited. My goal was only to get them more enthused about playing the game and I showed some juggling tricks to keep their attention, as well as some clapping and dancing. Trust was earned rather quickly because there was no language barrier between us. Wherever I could I would tell them they indeed could play soccer well and that if they purposefully practiced anything, they would improve at it. I challenged them to think of it as their only option, that only success could happen because, at the end of the day, they had learned how to correctly pass a ball or they could shoot with laces and not their toes. The landfill was real, yes, but it could not define them or their abilities as students or athletes.

The trophy was theirs but the lesson, as always, was that soccer is an added bonus. Injecting confidence where it hasn’t been able to flourish before is monumental and those children will never forget the day they stood much, much taller than the landfill that dictates their lives.

 

About the Contributor
Jake Taylor M. is a youth soccer coach, Spanish teacher and aspiring author. He has lived, worked and coached in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama and Washington state.

Aug 032012
 
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If you are a fan of soccer, the MLS or a resident in Seattle, you hopefully have been inspired by the amazing soccer community that is Seattle. Comprised of thousands of fans, the Seattle Sounders franchise, or the rave green, have done an incredible job using the long soccer history in Washington to build a strong, exciting, supportive soccer fan base. trans Seattle Soccer and the Rave Green

This is just as evident in our fan attendance numbers as in our silver case. With the highest average attendance amongst the league (holding steady at 39,469 compared to number two LA Galaxy with 22,483) this season alone, the Sounders have recently picked up the attention of Forbes Magazine. This three piece article touches on the amazing soccer community that lives in Seattle, Washington and helps build the case for why the Sounders are so successful.

E Pluribus Sounders (Part 1): Immigrant & NASL Roots (from Forbes)

Any attempt to explain the 60+ year history of soccer in Seattle in a little over 8,000 words is bound to miss a lot.  This three post series doesn’t attempt to explain the full history of the sport in the city, but rather the relationship between the sport, the city, and the club that grew out of that relationship.  At the root of the story are the experiences of the individuals who built the sport and then kept it alive in its darkest days to bloom again in its current MLS franchise form.   Herewith is part 1…

seattle sounders portland timbers18 Seattle Soccer and the Rave Green

It’s November 2nd, 2011, and 36,000 Sounders FC supporters at Century Link Field are hoping for a miracle as their Sounders are down 3-0 to Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinal playoff.  I am one of those anxious bodies in the crowd, sitting just outside the Brougham End where the Emerald City Supporters, or ECS as their known around Seattle, chant and dance for the entirety of the match.  In the 12th minute the ECS lead the crowd in singing a Woody Guthrie tune familiar to many Washingtonians:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on!  Roll on, Columbia, roll on! Your power is turning our darkness to dawn. So roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Continuing reading the full article here: Seattle Sounders and Seattle Soccer

 Posted by at 12:17 am
May 132012
 

When you are creating and developing a youth soccer program, the most important thing to keep in mind are your coaches. Who are they? What are their unique skills? Which coach will work best with each age/gender? What are the outcomes you want to see – soccer skills, social skills, education?

These answers will help you design a program that meets your desired outcomes and ensures that your players have the most positive experiences possible. The Global Team, in recognizing the important ‘mentor’ role of the coach, aims to provide these leaders with best practices not only on the sport of soccer, but age-appropriate tips, learning across ages/genders and the importance of fostering a culture of trust and respect on the field. Read a few of our tips below:

Continue reading »

May 082012
 

Below are top ten things to consider when creating community programs and building community relationships. Keep them in mind as you begin to grow your youth soccer community.

Top Ten Things to Consider in Developing Your Youth Soccer Program

  1. Understand your larger community. By knowing the needs of your community you can tailor your program to fit. For example, is obesity an issue? Gang violence? education? Linguistic differences?  Understanding the make-up of  your community can help you develop a program that creates meaningful and sustainable impact.
  2. Connect with your larger community. Create materials that explain your program,  your goals and the details of your program in all target languages. Cold call or make local visits to build relationships with key community leaders and potential players – connecting with them where they are.
  3. Use your internal community. Explore the expertise that you already have within your organization. Do you have a Board Member who also volunteers at the local food shelter? A father who is a local police officer? Ask them questions about the needs in the community and influential leaders to connect to.  Continue reading »
May 012012
 

This month the Global Team will be highlighting fun ideas, tips and suggestions for developing soccer programs and integrating education onto the field. As many of us know, there is much more behind-the-scenes action that occurs before and after the blowing of the whistle.

Don’t know the first thing about soccer programs or sport for youth development? No worries, here are the first three tips of the month:

Keep it Age Appropriate

Beginning players and players at the youngest ages need a different structure than older players. As a general rule, the younger the player focus should be placed on smaller teams (ie. 3v3 or 4v4) and individual ball play. As players age, slowly grow teams and move practices towards pair and group play. Full 11v11 play should not be introduced until around age 11! By following this simple guide, you will ensure that players have the most success possible and are learning at levels that match their age and development.

Continue reading »