Welcome to Growing the Game

Welcome to Growing the Game, our new Technical Department blog at Washington Youth Soccer.

Through WA Youth Soccer, we have a unique opportunity – our mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of the State of Washington’s youth through the sport of soccer.  We are focused on player development, and therefore, we get to look beyond the short term goal of winning one game, and focus on the long term goal of using soccer as the mechanism to develop well-rounded children in our state.  To provide players with soccer opportunities that will enrich their lives physically, emotionally and mentally, for years after they step off the field.  This is the essence of our Long Term Player Development plan, which we refer to daily to guide our programs and education.

But, to grow this player centric philosophy of soccer, we all need to work in concert, ensuring all of our leaders (you!) stay well-informed and are implementing the most modern initiatives and developments of the game in every corner of our state.

You play an essential role in the game’s development and it is the goal of this blog to create an additional forum that supports you in that pursuit. As Technical Director at WA Youth Soccer, I am like the head coach for our organization.  It is my job to make sure that you – our coaches and parents – have the tools you need to succeed in promoting Long Term Player Development and providing our players with developmentally supportive soccer experiences.

But HOW?

How do we ensure our players are getting the right development?

How do we grow as coaches?

How do we develop the game as parents?

How do we stay consistent across the state?

How do we retain our players, coaches, parents, and volunteers in the game?

That is what we will cover in this blog! Soccer is supposed to be fun. Coaching is supposed to be fun.  The game is my lifelong passion.  Through our work together, we get to develop players and people – what could be better than that?!  Through this blog, I will bring you the insights that I garner each day, the lessons I have learned over the years, and my pure love for the game, to help us all continue to Grow the Game in Washington.  Don’t expect it to be all serious either – keep an eye out for my occasional thoughts and commentary on global soccer news, professional games and coaching events – by dynamically looking at the game from different angles, we give ourselves new learning opportunities – and it is important we discuss the game as a whole here as well.

In turn, my hope is this blog will be more than just my perspectives – that it will become a community forum where coaches, parents and volunteers alike share ideas, thoughts, lessons learned from the field, and more.  A place for our passion to come together.

We have a lot to talk about, a lot to be passionate about, and a lot to be proud of in our soccer community,  so let’s get chatting!!

What topics would you like to see covered here? Let me know in the comments section below! I am always here to discuss offline as well, and can be reached at Gary@WashingtonYouthSoccer.org.

Keep the ball moving forward,

Gary White, Washington Youth Soccer Technical Director

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One Response to Welcome to Growing the Game

  1. Thank you Gary for starting this blog. I share your passion for developing soccer players for life! Learning and improving provides a much richer experience for youth players than simply focusing on winning.

    I am now in my 9th year of coaching and I look back at those first several seasons and shake my head in disgust! Maybe others have made the same mistakes. I was really focused on going directly to those skills that score goals, stop goals, and win games. I grew up playing soccer here in the Pacific Northwest and knew the game of soccer well and my intentions and passions were good. The first 2-3 seasons I felt alot of pressure for my teams to win games as I was recognized as a soccer knowledgeable adult with soccer skills. I attended no course and received no training on how to coach kids after all I played the game for over 20 years! What a novice coach I really was!

    The true gift of soccer is that it challenges us to develop physically, emotionally, and socially over multiple decades of one’s life! The secret to youth soccer is to introduce these challenges to kids in a safe environment where they are free to invest their own unique skills and problem solving characteristics into exploring the unknowns to find solutions. They have massive brains and almost unlimited potential to explore and learn! We as adults provide the structure of the activity and support the effort we see not the outcome. In this way all the kids benefit as they learn not only the skills of soccer, but valuable skills of life. The fact that soccer is very fun to play and stimulates healthy physical activity gives kids that play it a huge developmental advantage over kids that don’t. If we organize youth soccer around creating environments that stimulate healthy human development, parents will be signing kids up for youth soccer in record numbers! Then the future of player development in the US will change so that we start filling the worlds stage with quality players that change the game!

    Jim Copenhaver
    Whidbey island

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