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Spokane Youth Player Wins Degree
Cool & Confident Kid Award

She may look like just your average 11-year-old. But in fact, Spokane’s Hallie Vervair is America’s most cool and confident kid.

That was the opinion, at least, of judges in the inaugural Degree Cool & Confident Kid contest, co-sponsored by Degree Deodorant and US Youth Soccer, who chose Hallie out of hundreds of entrants across the nation to receive a VIP skills clinic from an MLS player for her entire youth team.

In its call for entries, Degree asked kids across the country to share, in 150 words or less, their story of confidence under pressure, overcoming obstacles or going out of their way to help a teammate. Hallie’s mom, Kara, forwarded the contest info to Hallie and her River City Foxes teammates.

“My mom said, ‘Someone has to win, so why not someone from our team?” recalls Hallie.

Hallie sat down, thought about how confidence applies to youth soccer, and wrote:

“On and off the field, I work hard to stay confident. I do this by not getting stressed and laughing at my mistakes, and getting them right next time. It’s very important to not shut down. I see many players that start out playing great games, but after one incomplete pass or missed shot, their focus and performance starts to fall. I know that nobody is perfect. I always play my best; I can’t expect myself to never mess up, nor my teammates. It’s just unrealistic, and doing so would only be setting myself up to fail. Instead, I just keep moving forward, don’t get caught up in minor mistakes and encourage my teammates to do the same. Slowing down after an embarrassing fall inside a mud puddle doesn’t do you any good. It only lets the mud puddle defeat you and gives the opponent a chance to do the same.”

“It was true to me, and is what happens to soccer players my age,” Hallie says as to what inspired her to write those words.

It was also good enough to be chosen as the winner by contest judges, who praised Hallie for how she “demonstrated the ability to bounce back from mistakes with confidence and encourages her teammates to do the same.”

A sixth-grader at Spokane’s Midway Elementary, Hallie says she was “shocked” when she heard the news that she had won — not just for herself, but for her entire River City Foxes team, which would receive a VIP skills clinic conducted by Seattle Sounders FC star Lamar Neagle.

“I couldn’t wait!” says Hallie. “I told my best friend and she said that she’d better start working on her passing so that she wouldn’t mess up in front of him.”

Neagle visited the team on Apr. 20, conducted a skills clinic, scrimmaged with the girls and signed autographs for friends and family. A local Subway restaurant donated a party sub, and Darigold donated three cases of their chocolate milk, Refuel.

“It was so much fun!” says Hallie. “Especially when we did a scrimmage and he was on my team — I passed to him a lot. He was so nice and made us feel special.”

Hallie says that she plans to continue playing soccer, with the goal of playing at Gonzaga or Whitworth and, ultimately, in the WPS.

Congratulations, Hallie! For expert tips, tools and real life stories about how parents are communicating and transitioning their tweens into confident and self-reliant teens, visit

Washington Youth Soccer

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