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Copa America 2016

copa america

USA! USA! USA! USA!

That is the chant that you have all heard from those "crazed" soccer fans during the FIFA World Cup every four years. Maybe you have even been one of them yourself? Well, the good thing is that if you have been that fan or have ever wondered what the hype was all about you don't have to wait another four years to support your team or your favorite player, because a soccer tournament of nearly the same magnitude is taking over the month of June.

One of the hardest things for coaches to instill in young players is passion for the game. Think back to how you discovered something you are passionate about in your life. Was it because of playing pick-up games in the yard next door? Was it because of a teacher or coach that was so enthusiastic about a subject or sport that it rubbed off on you? Was it watching an iconic moment unfold while cheering on your favorite team? Or was it watching your childhood hero pull off the impossible with seconds left to spare in the game? We all can probably relate to at least one or more of those moments.

As it turns out one of the most prolific soccer tournaments, Copa America, is set to kick-off June 3rd on U.S. soil for the first time ever. Copa America is the perfect event for excitement, drama and passion that usually only a World Cup can provide. Watching these types of events as a group is one of the easiest ways to show young kids why a sport is so magical. It also gives you the time to explain things like sportsmanship and teamwork in a real-time situation that isn't so personal. So grab your team, your kids and your family and be one of those "crazed" fans. Follow your favorite team(s) or player(s) through the tournament and help instill that passion for the game in a young player you know this month.

If that wasn't enough to get you interested even Kobe Bryant is going to be watching and in the video below he tells you why you should be as well. The full T.V. schedule for Copa America is below.

Copa America Schedule:(in Eastern Standard Time)

Fri., 6/3 USA vs. Columbia - Santa Clara, CA - 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/4 Costa Rica vs. Paraguay - Orlando, FL - 5:00 p.m. FOX
               Haiti vs. Peru - Seattle, WA - 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 2
               Brazil vs. Ecuador - Pasadena, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sun., 6/5 Jamaica vs. Venezuela - Chicago, IL - 5:00 p.m. FOX
                Mexico vs. Uruguay - Glendale, AZ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Mon., 6/6 Panama vs. Bolivia - Orlando, FL - 7:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Argentina vs. Chile - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Tue., 6/7 USA vs. Costa Rica - Chicago, IL - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                Colombia vs. Paraguay - Pasadena, CA - 10:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Wed., 6/8 Brazil vs. Haiti - Orlando, FL- 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Ecuador vs. Peru - Glendale, AZ - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 2

Thu., 6/9 Uruguay vs. Venezuela - Philadelphia, PA - 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                Mexico vs. Jamaica - Pasadena, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Fri., 6/10 Chile vs. Bolivia - Foxborough, MA - 7:00 p.m. FOX
                Argentina vs. Panama - Chicago, IL - 9:30 p.m. FOX

Sat., 6/11 USA vs. Paraguay - Philadelphia, PA - 7:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
               Colombia vs. Costa Rica - Houston, TX - 9:00 p.m. FOX Sports 2

Sun., 6/12 Ecuador vs. Haiti - East Rutherford, NJ - 6:30 p.m. FOX Sports 2
                 Brazil vs. Peru - Foxborough, MA - 8:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Mon., 6/13 Mexico vs. Venezuela - Houston, TX - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                  Uruguay vs. Jamaica - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Tue., 6/14 Chile vs. Panama - Philadelphia, PA - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Argentina vs. Bolivia - Seattle, WA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Thu., 6/16 Copa America 1A vs. 2B - Seattle, WA - 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Fri., 6/17 Copa America 1B vs. 2A - East Rutherford, NJ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/18 Copa America 1D vs. 2C - Foxborough, MA - 7:00 p.m. FX
                Copa America 1C vs. 2D - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FX

Tue., 6/21 Copa America W25 vs. W27 - Houston, TX - 9:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Wed., 6/22 Copa America W26 vs. W28 - Chicago, IL - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/25 Copa America L29 vs. L30 - Glendale, AZ - 8:00 p.m. FX

Sun., 6/26 Copa America final East - Rutherford, NJ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Viva la Copa America Centenario

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports

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Where Have All of the Good Times Gone?

fun

Last week we talked about injuries and why it is important to allow our athletes the proper amount of time to heal before they resume play. Another very important reason to make sure your kids have healed properly is prevent injuries that are related to overuse. Overuse injuries happen most frequently when a child has been rushed back to play before properly healing and have become one of the leading factors in kids quitting sports in their transitional years. But, injuries are not the only reason our children are choosing to quit sports at an alarming rate (as high as 78%) at the age of 13. The leading cause is that they are simply not having fun playing their particular sport anymore.

This can stem from a number of reasons. The number one reason is negative child-coach interactions. At the club level it can be the pressure felt by the coach to win-at-all-costs that limits playing time for all but the best players. Another reason is that the kids themselves start to view the sport they once loved as more of a job than a fun activity. Second Nature Sports and I believe in a philosophy that empowers coaches and mentors to adopt a proven sports philosophy that nurtures childhood development by keeping soccer fun. Our number one goal is to keep kids playing longer and we believe that by providing coaches with simple, yet robust educational tools they will be able to interact with their team with confidence. Proper education and confidence will give them the tools necessary ensure their kids have fun and love coming to practice.

In this week's blog we turn yet again to Dr. Joseph Donahue and our friends at PCA as they go over some of the reasons why so many kids are leaving sports at such an early age.

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports


Dr. Joseph Donahue is an orthopedic surgeon at SOAR Clinic in Redwood City and has served as team physician for the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford University as well as an orthopedic consultant for the San Francisco Giants. He is the team physician for Santa Clara University.

In this clip, Dr. Donahue lists the reasons for attrition in youth sports and why kids drop out or quit. Among those: injury, often stemming from overuse, due to early sport specialization. Also, pressure to excel on the scoreboard can limit opportunities for players to continue developing as they get caught up in win-at-all-cost environments and may miss out on playing time. In turn, that makes sports less fun, which is the most often-cited reason for kids quitting sports.

A link to the original post can be found here.

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Your child has just suffered an injury...what happens next?

injury

Injuries unfortunately are a part of sport and seem to happen at the most inopportune time. As parents and coaches we often find ourselves in what can feel like a high pressure situation just following a players injury. Can our team win the next big game without being at full strength? Is that player going to miss out on a scholarship or opportunity to play at the next level due to missed time on the field? The player may also feel as if they are letting their team down or missing out on the fun. All of these things can lead to rushing a child back onto the field before he/she is ready.

As coaches we must realize that our teams best moments can come from a team pulling together to achieve goals even when the odds are against them. As parents we have to realize that scholarship opportunities aren't won or lost overnight. If the child is ready for the next level of play the scholarship opportunities will be there after the child has healed. Our children are resilient and missing the appropriate amount of time to heal is alright. Missing a month or two to recover is better than having lifelong health issues from pushing a child back into competition before they have healed.

In this week's blog our friends at PCA give us a brief overview of why it is critical to take enough time to properly heal from an injury rather than succumb to the pressure of returning to play too early.

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports


Dr. Joseph Donahue is an orthopedic surgeon at SOAR Clinic in Redwood City and has served as team physician for the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford University as well as an orthopedic consultant for the San Francisco Giants. He is the team physician for Santa Clara University.

In this clip, Dr. Donahue emphasizes the importance of full recovery from injury. Too often, in pursuit of wins or scholarships, coaches and parents can rush a child back to competition prematurely. Youth athletes themselves may just sense the pressure or have the innate drive to hurry back to the fun and to avoid feeling like they let their teammates down. But a rush to return can have lifelong negative consequences.

A link to the original post can be found here.

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The New Dimension in Youth Soccer: Navigating U.S. Soccer’s New Age Groupings

Age change.jpg

No one likes change, and this is a sizable change for the millions of soccer families in our country. The soon to be “old” system of determining age groups, where the calendar year began on August 1st, will now become “Birth Year” groupings with a January 1st start. All of this becomes a harsh reality in the next few weeks, and parents are scrambling with the question: where should my child play?

Terminology Lesson: It will no longer be called U8, or Under 8. The new term for this
age group is now 8 & Under. Get used to it.

There is one gender issue at play, and let me address it up front. Generally speaking, girls have a greater pull towards playing with friends than do boys. This factor will be one that many parents will grapple with when trying to decide where to place their child. I will talk about the “friend” card in more detail as I delve into this topic.

So your 9 year old has been playing with his team for three years, and now we are dealing with the fact that half the team was born in 2006 and the other half was born in 2007. (Those with 2006 birth dates will jump all the way to 11 & Under. Those with 2007 birth dates will play at 10 & Under.) Your child was born in June of 2007, but two of his best friends have 2006 birth dates. What to do?

Let me make one critically important fact very clear: The coach of your child is the single most important factor in all of this. Which club you play for, and which league you are in matter less. Your child MUST enjoy their coach, or they will be out of the game in no time. It doesn’t matter how many friends they have on their new team, they will make new friends quickly.

A good coach will make the experience fun and they will continue the developmental process for your child and progress them with their skills, their understanding of the game, and most importantly, the continued implementation of life’s most important lessons.

When considering an age group, especially playing “up” an age group, here are some considerations that you, as a parent, must be ready to deal with: (Please know that the more honestly that you make this assessment, the better the experience that your child will have.)

Speed: At what level will your child’s foot speed and speed of play (decision making) allow for the most success. If you over estimate your child’s ability, you are setting them up for failure.

Physicality: Like speed, this has to be the appropriate fit.

Emotional (& Psychological) Maturity: Given this stage of your child’s development, where will they find the most success and the best chance of developing into a team leader?

Ball Skills: Is your child’s mastery of controlling the ball in line with the older players that you may be considering having your child join?

The Friend Card: The longer that a team has been together, the more challenging it is to break up those friendships. Because high school players compete against many different age groups in high school, they are more likely to be successful at playing “up” in order to stay with friends. As we examine the younger age groups (8-14 years), I believe that it is more important to keep these children within their ages. There are always going to be exceptions, and as long as a child can meet with success when playing against older kids, then that child can be a reasonable candidate for playing “up”. Please keep this fact in mind: kids make friends in the time that it takes you to check out at the grocery store! They are more resilient than we think.

When we look at all of these factors in regards to our children, our ability to determine the best fit is critical. It will make the difference between your child meeting success or struggling with fitting in. In these formative years, the more success that they have, the longer that they will play.

Let’s keep our kids playing, keep the process positive, and support them in their journey to make new friends. Isn’t that what sports is all about anyway?

- Steve Locker

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Is Your League Following A Good Development Model?

youthcamp

As a parent or a coach you have seen the the practice sessions where coaches run out of ideas after about 30 minutes, so they instinctively turn to playing a one ball scrimmage. In many recreational leagues parents let it slide and think to themselves, "well they have to play a game at some point, so getting some experience in that type of setting is probably a good thing." But, there are real reasons why coaches shouldn't resort to playing a one ball scrimmage at practices. Are your league directors and coaches following a proven development model? If not Second Nature Sports can help. Our training plans give coaches 8-weeks of full practice plans that will guide them through each and every practice in a developmentally focused manner.

In this week's blog our friends at PCA give us a brief overview of why children under the age of 12 shouldn't be playing your traditional 11v11 one ball games, especially in practice.

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports


PCA National Advisory Board Member Jay Coakley (@SiSCoakley) is Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He has done 40 years of research on connections between sports, culture and society, much of that focused on the play, games and sport participation of young people. His Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies(11th edition) is the world's most widely used sports sociology text.

In this video, Coakley describes why youth sports needs to be simplified for children under 12 years of age. He states that, “prior to the age of 12, kids are not socially and cognitively ready to play complex team games.” Research shows that children under the age of 8 can only take on one role at a time. So for sports like soccer, where there are 10 teammates, a soccer ball, and coaches, it is difficult for children to understand all of these roles simultaneously.

Since we cannot expect children under the age of 12 to truly understand these complex concepts, Coakley recommends that instead of putting children in a complex game they do not understand, we should:

  • Simplify game models
  • Change the dimensions of the fields to fit the size of the children playing
  • Cut the size of teams so that all children can get more touches, opportunities to pass, and opportunities to score

A link to the original post can be found here.

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Positive Partnerships

Today's blog is an announcement of Second Nature Sports partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance. A few weeks ago Steve was asked to become a certified coach and possibly even a trainer. He is currently in the process of meeting the necessary requirements for certification and beginning the mutually beneficial partnership. Steve, wholeheartedly believes in positive coaching and strives to maintain philosophy similar to what PCA believes in. Stay tuned for future updates on this relationship and Steve's progress. In this week's blog we feature an article from a great free resource provided by PCA, known as the PCA Development Zone, titled Running As Punishment For Poor Performance.

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports


positive coaching

Running As Punishment For Poor Performance

"My daughter's high school coach punishes the team for poor performance by having them run laps and do push-ups. What do coaches and parents think about that technique?"

PCA Response By David Jacobson, PCA Trainer & Senior Marketing Communications and Content Manager

One of the ultimate ironies of sports occurs when coaches discipline "lazy" players by making them run. Why is that ironic? Because it is lazy coaching.

If your players need conditioning, help them get it. If your players need discipline, help them get that. But don't fall back on running as discipline.

There at least two reasons:

  1. Your players will come to despise running and other forms of conditioning because it feels like punishment. You want them to love running so that they will want to run and become the best-conditioned athletes possible.
  2. You are abandoning an opportunity to teach life lessons about discipline, which is best done by talking about the subject and setting an example by exercising the discipline necessary to coach well.

For example, let's say that in an intra-squad scrimmage your players have trouble passing or receiving on the run. Don't default to punishing them with extra running. Instead, recognize the problem as one of conditioning and/or insufficient practice at these skills.

Address both issues at once by interrupting the scrimmage and instead of ordering laps in the name of "discipline" conduct a drill that demands running, passing and receiving. This way, their skills and conditioning both improve.

Your drill could include a competitive element, such as splitting the team in half and seeing who can complete the most passes on the run in a given time period. That helps avoid resentment that comes from mindless, endless laps and makes the practice fun so that players will want to continue acquiring the skills and conditioning they need. And you demonstrate creativity and discipline in your problem solving.

You then can explain to your players after the drill that instead of knee-jerk reactions, creativity and true discipline are better approaches to problem solving in sports and in life.

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Psychology and the Game of Soccer

emotion

Quite often when I am coaching youth players I notice many of them with very vivid reactions to mistakes. Whether it’s their use of words, facial expressions, or the frozen stance some seem to take on from dwelling on their “imperfections.”

What are the causes these reactions? Why do we all do it? (Yes, I am absolutely sure I did this as a player too) As an athlete I learned somewhere along the line to let things go. Quite honestly, I can’t recall an exact moment that influenced me but most likely a series of events, coaches, or teammates that led me down that path. And those of you, who knew me as a player, know this wasn’t easy nor was it ever complete.

If you coach young players I encourage you to take notice of this and to create an environment where “mistakes” are accepted and in fact encouraged. College coaches are constantly asked what they look for when they are recruiting a player and I can guarantee most coaches keep a keen eye on players’ responses to mistakes. I know I do. We all want the player who keeps going and works through issues on the field.

The fact of the matter is to become truly great at anything you are going to fail more times than you succeed. We’ve all heard the millions of quotes out there. When I work with attacking players I’m constantly talking to them about letting go of missed shots and opportunities. Move on to the next and do it quickly. As a goal scorer you must be relentless. There’s no other way to play. Soccer is a game of mistakes, many of them.

My point is this applies not only in sport but even more so in life. Can we build persistence at an early age on the field through encouragement and acceptance of mistakes? Can we instill in athletes that failure is going to happen and its okay?

A great way to look at this is having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. When your athletes/children react by saying they “can’t” do something, I encourage you to take that opportunity as a teachable moment. Having a growth mindset opens doors for not only our own personal development but with our relationships with others as well.

- Christie Welsh

Additional Resources for parents and coaches is a book called Mindset by Carl S. Dweck, Ph.D.


Christie Welsh'sBio:
Welsh is a former assistant coach at the University of Oregon from 2013-2015 and Saint Joseph’s University in 2012, while also holding volunteer assistant coaching positions at Penn State and The University of Wisconsin.

She was a member of the U.S. National Team from 2000 until 2008. Welsh scored 20 goals over 39 international contests. During her time with the USWNT she remarkably scored 10 goals faster than any other player in American soccer history. She served as an alternate for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and she was part of the 2004, 2006, and 2007 Olympic and World Cup training residencies. Christie is also, a former Hermann Trophy winner and former professional soccer player for multiple teams.

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Turnkey Tools for the Parent-Soccer-Coach

First ever digital parent coach training tool   developed by former Harvard Soccer Coach

First ever digital parent coach training tool developed by former Harvard Soccer Coach

Columbus, Ohio Ask any recreational director what‘s the toughest part of their job and they will tell you:

  • Getting parents to volunteer to coach.
  • Having parent coaches adhere to the philosophies of the youth organization. 
  • Training parent coaches to not only effectively teach the game of soccer but also appropriately coach the child.  

The facts are clear: 

35% of all kids quit a sport each year & 75% of all kids quit all sports by the age of 13. Many families site the main reason their child quit a sport was due to a bad experience with the coach.

What’s the Solution?  

A perfect training session for a parent coach available in a matter of 2-3 minutes.  The Second Nature Digital Training Plan is the answer for the busy parent coach.  It allows access from their mobile device at practice.  The training session is designed for each practice with short videos, diagrams, graphics and photos. It’s an all- inclusive coaching kit that minimizes the time crunched parent coach’s prep time.   

Each digital training plan contains 5 main parts of a practice session from start to finish.  It includes a warm-up, stretching, soccer skill activity,   running activity and finally a “fun” game.  All sessions are age appropriate and produced for 3 different age groups: 3-5 year olds, 6-7 year olds and 8+  year olds. The method not only teaches skills for the game of soccer but also motor skill development, social awareness and an ongoing passion for the game. 

Developed by former Harvard Soccer Coach, collegiate and professional player, Steve Locker with the help of Ohio State University child psychologists.  This unique philosophy and coaching method “Second Nature”, is designed to enable coaches of youth recreation soccer to coach in a way that’s enjoyable for parents and players. 

For more information, visit Second Nature Sports. 

Contact:

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports
614-792-5522 | Chris@2nsports.com

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How to be a Good Coach…and a Good Parent

The following is an analysis of what makes a good coach and a good parent through the comparison of the 2014-2015 National Champion Ohio State Buckeye football team to the 2015-2016 team by James Allen.

James Allen taught four decades at universities and private and public schools. He has authored many articles on teaching and learning and during his professional career accumulated numerous teaching excellence awards. He has been featured in newspaper and magazine articles both locally and nationally. He received his bachelor's degree from Otterbein University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is a lifelong resident of the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Upper Arlington where he currently resides.


How to be a Good Coach…and a Good Parent

Good parents are good coaches. Good coaches are good parents. And both groups must be good teachers. And always stay together in victory or defeat. For the teachers, coaches and parents, they become good by not imposing experience on their kids who deserve to shape their own-share and mitigate their lives together, but not alone. Urban Meyer and his football team illustrated how this process works--and doesn't. How raw talent can win football games, but not championships if the team organism is jolted when the key actors go their own way.

I realized early on that another championship season would not occur. The culture had shifted too much for a repeat. But why? During the 2014-2015 season, misfortune became a team unifier. The individual could not construct a personal goal without embedding it within the group. The death of a teammate or a stinging early defeat could only be overcome and used as performance motivation if each person thought not of himself but the other guy in the same "battle" to overcome nasty life experiences.

And overcome they did in a remarkable run to the 2014-2015 national championship. The culture had won. The chase was complete. The devastation of previous experience had been substituted by the exhilaration of individual performance that was always linked and made possible by collaboration. A championship team was born. The teacher-coach had molded talented individual effort by showing parents that the NFL was more possible, and individual talent highlighted, when all parts of the organism functioned for the success of the entire group.

But what were those parents feeling and thinking early in the process? Was their trust in the coach and his teaching vulnerable? Probably. What the coach was telling his players was most likely not unlike what they'd heard at home. And here is where the parents own experience comes in. How were they able to diffuse, even eliminate, paralyzing disappointment in their histories? Were they now able to learn new strategies for embracing adversity to provoke and motivate their child's pursuit of excellence? They did that year and the final results were historical.

But then the shift began. Individuals were heralded, microphones thrust to their mouths. Magazine covers proliferated with faces of single contributors who had expertly performed on a national stage and were now glorified not for playing hard to make someone else look better but for their isolated contribution to the success. And then those individuals became the focus of the real "grind" to recapture the lost war culture that had succeeded at a high level in the past. Could the same "soldiers" from previous battles once again think first of the others in or would individual participation isolate itself without integrating the talent for the benefit of the whole? The answers began to emerge.

The miracle of the previous year was made possible when coaches, players, and parents viewed the group as the collective impetus for personal development and individual success. Rebounding from loss had propelled a renaissance that had made the whole much greater than its parts. Yet the focus had realigned to the parts. Who would be the quarterback or win the Heisman or be picked high in the NFL draft? The scrutiny had shifted from a collaborative triumph orchestrated by the coach to the decisions that he made which would influence a player's ultimate worth.

This new trajectory became apparent prior to the first game of the succeeding season. A star player had been suspended and other transgressions would follow as players who once thought first about the group were now assaulted by their own personal fame. And that fame had been originally established by overcoming adversity, not causing it to the detriment of the team. What followed was uneven performance, less unity, and a broken collaboration which culminated in November when a repeat championship was lost in the rain.

After four decades as a teacher, the winning "seasons" were always the same. They provided the exhilaration. When parents and their kids trusted the teacher, the triad had been formed. When the class coalesced as a team, the learning magic was palpable. Everyone--parents, kids, and the teacher--left feeling good about themselves because they had won this championship trusting in the coach at the head of the class. They were all on the same page. When they were not, victories were sometimes summoned but transformation was elusive, usually impossible.
The triad model is shattered when individuals, players or parents narrowly redefine winning as an individual pursuit and losing as the final score on the board. In the 2014-2015 season, an ugly score appeared to preempt ultimate success until a collaboration was formed and a team emerged where the group could only succeed together, not as individuals seeking fame and fortune for their highlighted, sports center moment.

And then the new model of the post-championship season climaxed in a devastating loss in November. The star running back then famously complained that he could have run the ball more. He revealed explicitly that his stardom could have made a difference. The difference had already been made. The blaming was exposed. The only remedy this late in the season would be a return, with nothing to lose, to a collaboration where all stake holders learned that failure can and should be a powerful learning tool.

Players, coaches, parents returned to each other to commiserate on "what could have been." They had each other once again when the adversity reappeared when they were more separate and apart. They reconvened, reconnected and surely learned never to lose sight of each other in victory or defeat. The reconnection looked and felt like the joy of the previous season. The battles had returned as a collective effort, a collaboration where the parents were on the team. It was too late for a repeat but vivid and instructive with what went wrong.

- James Allen

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Write a Blog

Write a blog. These aren’t words I have said in my head much, or maybe at all. What to write about, who would my audience be, what would I add to the conversation? I guess the question has always been why? And here, today, I answer with a why not?

About a month ago I made contact with Steve Locker through a Penn State connection. We sat down and so began our back and forth banter about the state of soccer, sports, and all that those two things encompass. That conversation turned into a bunch more and before I know it I’m introduced to Second Nature Sports and I’m on board.

I am a firm believer in the idea that you can never stop learning. I learn things every day and I aim to constantly put myself in environments that help me grow as a person. But before I dive head first into my beliefs, I’d like to share a bit about me.

A quick Google search and you can find mostly anything you need or want to know about my soccer playing and coaching career. But in an age where human connection is constantly on the back burner because of technology, I’ll ironically share via technology some things you won’t find through a Google search.

I was a very gifted soccer player from an early age. Mostly it just came natural to me, but I loved it. I had wonderful coaches as a youth player and didn’t even recognize this until later in my career. Once I made a commitment to invest more into MY OWN development my game took off to a level I wasn’t even aware existed. I constantly struggled with the idea of “fitting in” versus being myself, but was lucky enough to have a strong sense of confidence from within (a product I believe from my upbringing). Nothing made me happier than playing soccer. Well, maybe food… but that’s a whole other story.

I battled injuries, thankfully not too many major ones, but I have years of experience helping and encouraging teammates through some pretty physically demanding times. I’ve seen first hand what soccer demands on the human body and how with such early specialization players are “burning out” fast. I finally understood later in my career how nutrition, sleep, and recovery are paramount to success. And I can’t even dive into the psychology of it all without wanting to run out onto a field right now. I’ve had ups and downs and experienced a plethora of emotions tied to this beautiful game and through it all managed a pretty long career.

So in the end what does all this mean? A sense of perspective I hope. One that may help you in your coaching career or simply as a parent who wants to support their child play a sport they love.

- Christie Welsh


Christie Welsh's Bio:

Welsh is a former assistant coach at the University of Oregon from 2013-2015 and Saint Joseph’s University in 2012, while also holding volunteer assistant coaching positions at Penn State and The University of Wisconsin.

She was a member of the U.S. National Team from 2000 until 2008. Welsh scored 20 goals over 39 international contests. During her time with the USWNT she remarkably scored 10 goals faster than any other player in American soccer history. She served as an alternate for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and she was part of the 2004, 2006, and 2007 Olympic and World Cup training residencies.

In 2005, Welsh helped the U.S. National Team capture the Algarve Cup, scoring a team best five goals, including a massive game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Germany in the finals. She was also named the Golden Boot Award winner as the top scorer of the tournament.

Welsh was the first Penn State player to earn NSCAA All-America honors in each of her four years, while leading her squad to an impressive four-straight Big Ten titles and two Final Four appearances from 1999-2002. She was the first player in conference history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year three consecutive seasons. On the field, Welsh set the Big Ten's record for goals (82), assists (52) and points (216), with her career points mark still a current record. She was recognized as the top collegiate player receiving both the Hermann Trophy and M.A.C. Player of the Year honors.

Following her collegiate career, Welsh was drafted second overall in the 2003 WUSA Draft by the New York Power. In her first season she led her team in scoring and would go on to play internationally for KIF Orebro of Sweden's Top Division in 2004. In 2005 she brought her talents to Olympique Lyonnaise of the French First Division.

Additionally, she helped the Washington Freedom to the 2005 W-League championship, and the NJ Wildcats to the 2007 title, garnering MVP honors along the way. She also played in the Women's Professional Soccer League, competing for both the LA Sol and St. Louis Athletica in 2009 and the Washington Freedom in 2010.

She hails from Massapequa, N.Y. where she led Massapequa High School to the 1997 New York State Championship and earned Parade All-American honors twice. In 1998 she was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Girls' Soccer Player of the Year and ended her high school career named an NSCAA All-American.

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