My girls’ club soccer team did an annual soccer charity event where the entire club played soccer for twenty-four hours straight. Each age level was assigned a two-hour block of time where they scrimmaged against the boys’ teams with music pumping in the background. The coaches would jump in and play too, which made it especially fun. Each player raised $400 towards soccer scholarships and Special Olympics. It was a nice way for the kids to channel their love of soccer towards a social cause, and it also gave them a chance to interact with other teams that they usually didn’t ever see on the soccer field.
Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community
We already have the organization, in the form of our team, to help others.
We have the opportunity as coaches to educate outside the game. For example, we can encourage our players to give back outside the sport. If we do a community service project, our team might have the chance to learn that there are kids in Kenya who play barefoot because they don’t own soccer cleats or that they don’t have running water. It also is a way to improve team chemistry.
Community service also serves to decrease bullying because it teaches kids to be empathetic. Sometimes kids are so busy that if we don’t offer this opportunity, it’s hard for them to do it. Then we can get into this pattern of focusing on player improvement, and that sends a certain message to the team.
You have to prove as a coach that it’s more than wins and losses. As a coach, if you show that side of humanity, you hope that it transcends to them into a message of being kinder, and seeing the bigger picture of not just wins and losses. Greatness isn’t just victories; it’s helping others.
You have to prove as a coach that it’s more than wins and losses.
The bigger message is also that some days we win, some days we lose, but that we are really fortunate to be in the position of being able to give back. This is also a valuable team building experience that can change the perspective of a young person of what really matters in life.
We already have the organization, in the form of our team, to work together to help others. Scheduling the project during a practice ensures that everyone can make it, and that the coach values this experience as much as player development. A service project also gives players, who perhaps are not the most skilled on the field, a chance for leadership. Ideas for service projects within your community can include:
- Used athletic shoe/cleat/uniform drive.
- Junior Coach program where older players (ex U16) help out on younger teams (ex U9) during a practice.
For the rest of this chapter, please read How To Coach Girls book when it comes out March of 2018. Thanks!