Wednesday, June 27, 2007

JT's Blog - Leading thorough soccer - June 27

JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.

This week I’ve had an opportunity to work with Dr. Ron Quinn in a leadership camp held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, and run by Starfinders of Philadelphia. Students who attended received a youth coaching certificate and referee license from Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association. The goal of the camp was to teach leadership tools with a hope that the students would take those tools back to their community and pursue ways to assist younger players. The candidates’ ages ranged from 16 to 18 years. There were 53 candidates with 50% of the class being African Americas.

I passionately believe that there are few people in society who have a greater opportunity to help shape and mold the character, values and leadership than that of sports coaches. Starfinders uses the powerful magnet of soccer to draw at risk children and youth to this leadership program.

Participants received information on famous leaders from different countries. In addition they learned valuable lessons on characteristics of a champion. They were also trained by professional coaches and college athletes and motivated to strive for educational, innovative and engaging programming that would stimulate them to educational excellence. By providing the candidates with a inspirational learning environments, like the US Youth Soccer’s State Youth Module, they could coach others how to play to learn and learn through play, building a foundation for strong character and positive outlooks that can last a life time.

If this group of candidates is an example of our leadership to come, we have a bright future. We must continue to encourage them to shine as the next generation of community leadership. They have been taught that the key to commitment is enjoyment.

Soccer has a tremendous potential to help promising young leaders and give them knowledge, encouragement and opportunities to become the next generation of positive role models that are needed for our young soccer players in the USA.

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