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Reaching Out, One School at a Time
Fourteen months ago, Washington Youth Soccer’s “Soccer In Schools” initiative was little more than an idea — a plan to support school districts’ physical education programs and provide our state’s students with the opportunity to have fun and embrace a healthy lifestyle through the game of soccer.
In barely a year since, however, the program has already reached over 12,000 students in 100 schools and community centers, giving students statewide the chance to experience the physical, psychological and social benefits of our beautiful game — and we’re planning to grow it even more in the coming year.
We have been very busy with after-school programs, which are primarily designed to create awareness and development of soccer's fundamental skills. In-class programs have also been extremely well received by teachers across the state, as this program is designed to complement the school district’s physical education curriculum, and so becomes very supportive to a teacher’s demanding class schedule.
Although the programs are different in their approach, the message remains the same — be active, stay healthy and have fun playing soccer.
In response to the community’s enthusiastic response to our programs, we have streamlined the program to have a maximum impact with minimal demand on the school’s staff. We have also expanded our vision, applied for grants, and are working with our national affiliates to create awareness of the work that needs to be done.
In this issue of PlayOn!, we are launching “Project: Freestyle,” a new initiative to encourage players of all ages and abilities to develop their ball skills and embrace the forms of self-expression with the ball that are so prevalent in other countries.
However, the biggest expansion — and arguably the most influential program — will be the new Anti-Gang Initiative. This program, which looks to build friendships with the local police departments, colleges and community support groups, was successful last summer in the High Point area of West Seattle, so we will be running six such programs across the Puget Sound area this summer.
We are also looking to build stronger relationships with school districts by providing coaching education and detailed curriculum for teachers.
Directors and leaders at Kent, Federal Way, West Seattle, Vancouver, Bainbridge and Spokane clubs have been magnificent in their support and interest in the programs. Highline and Seattle Youth Soccer Associations have also been instrumental.
This dedication and passion for teaching children and providing opportunities for them have made it all possible. I would personally like to thank the Association and club leaders that have stepped up and volunteered their time. Their work has undoubtedly made a huge impact on the young children that they have met.
If you are interested in starting a Soccer In Schools program or would like to know more about any other programs, please click the “Soccer In Schools” link under the “Programs” tab at WashingtonYouthSoccer.org and complete the “Request a Visit” form, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington Youth Soccer • 500 S. 336th St. Suite 100 • Federal Way, WA 98003
PlayOn! is published by Varsity Communications, Inc.