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Use The Soccer in Schools Toolkit to Connect With Your Local District!

In 2009, Washington Youth Soccer launched “Soccer in Schools,” a community program designed to bring the physical and social health benefits of soccer to local youth through school-based curriculum, and to develop new membership by connecting students, teachers and schools to local playing opportunities in Washington Youth Soccer.

As part of the Soccer in Schools programs, coaches and volunteers from Washington Youth Soccer Clubs and Associations go into the schools to teach the fundamentals of soccer and the importance of proper nutrition. To make this program even more successful, Washington Youth Soccer has launched the Soccer In Schools Toolkit, an online, step-by-step guidebook to connecting with your local schools and launching a Soccer in Schools program in your district.

“The program and Toolkit have been very popular with our Clubs and Associations, who have been looking to introduce youth to local playing opportunities while developing stronger relationships with the schools in their areas,” says Heather Turney, Washington Youth Soccer’s Member Services and Outreach Coordinator. “This toolkit, in addition to the consultation provided by Washington Youth Soccer, has helped provide our Clubs and Associations the foundation to start Soccer in Schools programs in their districts. From how to start a program to sample nutritional resources —even a curriculum for grades 1-6 that coaches can use when conducting the program — it’s been a valuable resource.”

Clubs and Associations can conduct both in-class and after-school programs, though Turney says the week-long in-class program — in which a soccer coach works in collaboration with the physical education teacher— has proven the most popular with schools and Clubs alike.

Due to the flexibility of the model, Clubs and Associations have been able to develop programs or events that work best for their community.

In 2012, Seattle Youth Soccer Association sent SYSA trainers into 27 elementary schools in the Seattle Public School District, providing over 2,600 Seattle elementary students with free in-class soccer education, and connecting schools and students to local Clubs and playing opportunities within Seattle Youth Soccer Association.

"We believe this is a ground-breaking program," said SYSA representatives in April. "With access to so many schools, students and P.E. teachers, we can reach a great many young children next year. The benefits for kids in Seattle Public schools in the south end, for our local clubs, and for the position of soccer in the state in general, are significant."

Likewise, the Chinqually Booters Soccer Club launched their own Soccer In Schools program, with Club coaches visiting local elementary schools for up to two hours a day over a two-week span.

“Students were so excited,” says P.E. teacher John Barnes. “”They had an opportunity to learn some soccer skills from soccer coaches in our own community. This was not only beneficial to them, I, too, was able to walk away with some fresh activities and skills that I can review in class. I hope other schools take advantage of this program as I have already found it very educational.”

Onalaska Youth Soccer Association and Federal Way Soccer Association have also hosted Soccer in Schools events in their districts, which have been similarly well-received.

Onalaska registrar Autumn Pope says that the Soccer In Schools toolkit was an especially valuable resource when creating and implementing the Association’s “Soccer In Schools” program.

“I used the Washington Youth Soccer ‘Soccer in Schools Toolkit’ in my to help promote the event, gathering ideas for advertising, encouraging participation and registration, and follow-up contact.  We were able to keep costs fairly low by limiting the class to one day, printing half-page flyers about registration and soccer, and using volunteer coaches,” she says. “The Soccer in Schools event was fantastic, and I highly recommend that other clubs look into utilizing this opportunity to advertise your club and communicate that soccer equals fun.”

The Soccer in Schools Toolkit is a free resource available to all Washington Youth Soccer members — to view the toolkit and download it for use by your Club or Association, visit WashingtonYouthSoccer.org and click the “Soccer In Schools” link under the “Programs” tab.

For more information on the Soccer in Schools program and toolkit, contact Heather Turney, Member Services and Outreach Coordinator, at heather@WashingtonYouthSoccer.org


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