The Big Picture

“Elevator speech” is a term used to describe how you’d get your point across in a short time window, such as obviously the time from when you see someone on an elevator until one of you departs and goes on your way.  Preparing one really makes you step back and find your reason with precision, something this explanation is not accomplishing.  So here are a few elevator speeches on core topics:

What Do We Do?
The North Allegheny Soccer Club exists to make a soccer playing experience available for the general population of kids in the area of the North Allegheny School District.  We are not affiliated with the district, nor is attendance in it required, but it is the nearest thing to compare our service area with.  We provide soccer training and a playing environment with the resources available to us through the various municipalities where our members reside.  While those resources allow us to service more than a thousand kids through two seasons each year, they do not afford us the luxury of paid coaches or administrators, nor as many practices or amenities as some would like, but we are thankful to do quite well by most international standards.

What Programs Do We Have?
Our programs are based on age-appropriate soccer training:

  • 5-8 Micro Soccer – Clinics and games of “small-sided” soccer where teams of 3-4 kids compete on small fields with small goals to learn the basics of soccer, predominantly ball handling, passing, and teamwork basics.
  • 9-14 Team Soccer – Kids in 3rd-6th grade are ready for goalies and field strategies.  Here the game starts to take on more complexity and a combination of in-house and travel teams provide differing levels of competition so everyone can play in an environment that challenges them enough to learn more skills while still having fun.
  • 15-18 Teen Soccer – By High School most kids have so much going on that they have specialized in things other than soccer, but still enjoy the game and can use the exercise.  While we still field some advanced teams at this age, the majority of kids at this level enjoy each other’s company in a friendly recreational soccer environment.

How Do We Keep a Good Perspective About Youth Soccer as Adults?
To my way of thinking, the following four points are key to keeping the proper mindset for working our programs.

  • All kids need people skills and exercise.  Keep it a fun, simple part of turning kids into healthy adults.
  • It is rare for a non-natural-athlete to succeed beyond college sports.  What they learn here will be a part of what the kids become, not what they become, so keep the more universal lessons prominent and the intensity for the sport itself under control.
  • Many programs (not just soccer) fail because they can’t transition to a sustainable state.  Pinning too much importance to their success on the field is a sure way to lose them when they rise to the point of competition where they are outplayed regularly.  Soccer can be a fun source of community and exercise throughout life, so keep in mind as their other interests may over-shadow soccer, that there are other programs like teen soccer and refereeing that can let kids segue serious soccer to a fun hobby.
  • Committed people pay with their time.  Technology has made multitasking an inevitable part of our lives.  Kids notice your attention to them in the long run even if trinkets seem to buy their short-term happiness.  In a relatively affluent society, your time has even more value to your kids and your community than you may realize when you’re distracted by the beep of your smartphone.
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