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Volunteers and Youth Soccer

December 31, 2003 09:00 PM
It is my great pleasure to be here today with all of you, celebrating The Game for All Kids!®

The Oklahoma Soccer Association has put together an excellent soccer workshop providing informative sessions on a variety of topics. There are sessions for Administrators, Coaches, Players, Referees and Parents. Topics range from Zonal Defending and Risk Management to Sports Medicine and Sideline Behavior. There is truly something for everyone.

The one common thread that connects us all to our great game is the player.

We must always remind ourselves and others involved in youth soccer that our purpose is to provide an environment conductive to learning and having fun for our players. This means that we all must understand what motivates our youngsters to play. Basically our kids play soccer:

  • To Have Fun – Smile
  • To Develop – Improve at some aspect of the Game.
  • To Feel Worthy – To feel important to their coach, parents and teammates.

This is true for all Ages!

U-6 Ü Adult


Who’s shoulders does this responsibility fall on?

Parents, Administrators, Referees, Coaches… Volunteers.

As I look back over my athletic career as a youngster and reminisce about the quality of my experiences, it was all about the volunteers that made it possible.

In 1960…

Mr. Cazavaland, a Hungarian immigrant from the neighborhood, who had sons my age, was always playing pick-up soccer with his boys and anyone that happened by. I was lucky enough to happen by one day and was reeled in to the game. We played 2 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 v 2, whatever numbers were available. There was only praise and teaching. I was never told that I couldn’t do something… rather here’s how you can do it. He was my 1st coach… what did I learn?

When you play soccer you have fun!

When you play soccer you learn new things!

When you play soccer you are important to your teammates and coach!

Mr. Cazavaland’s salary as my coach was $0.

In 1998…

I was President of the Windsor Soccer Club in Windsor, CT. 1,000 recreation players, 300 travel players, 200 classic players. First hand experience working as a volunteer with a Board of volunteers who coordinated club programs directed by other volunteers. Why?

So that kids could play soccer:

  • To have Fun!
  • To Develop!
  • To Feel Worthy!

I did my best to make sure that our agenda each meeting included a topic on player development. This was an opportunity to discuss and share ideas as a board that directly related to our kids.

The past, the present and the future of our great game and the quality of the development of our youth players is in the very capable hands of our volunteers.

In my new position as US Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Education, I oversee all 55 State Association’s Coaching Education programs. I work directly with the State DOC’s. In Oklahoma, it will be my extreme pleasure to work with Peter McGahey, your state DOC.

My 1st task is to create an environment of learning for the state DOC’s. To provide them with the tools and credentials necessary to prepare more coaching education instructors at the state level, thus preparing and educating more Volunteer coaches to train and develop your kids.

Let me tell you how important this really is. Many of you probably never volunteered, but, instead, were volunteered. The volunteer coach has direct contact and influence with a child… your child. As a parent, I assume you want your child to be in an environment that puts a smile on their face (Fun); where they learn (Develop) and where they matter (Worthy).

This is the purpose of your state coaching education program.

In the player development process the coach needs administrative help, usually provided by the volunteer team manager so that he or she can concentrate on teaching.

The team relies on the volunteer club administrators and board to provide a philosophy of player development, support and a conscience that guides the club administratively and ethically.

The team relies on the parents to participate in the positive development of their children.

The referees provide a safe environment for our players and allow the kids to be on stage and develop thru the game.

The club relies on the area and state administration and board, also volunteers, to guide and lead.

Your Chairman, Gordon Wilson, and your President, Steve Nath, who by the way are volunteers, are responsible for the vision, the big picture of soccer in your state. They and the state boards must do their best to smoothly keep all the parts working.

You, as a volunteer, no matter in what capacity, are an intricate part of the development our players and therefore our great game.

Please make sure that your reason for being involved is about the kids.

At the end of the day, soccer is The Game for All Kids!®




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