21st June 6-8pm Concordia University Field, Sherbrook St
Across the country, the number of girls participating in soccer programs is significantly lower than that of boys. The dropout rate for both boys and girls rises predictably as they hit their teenage years.
These statistics are no different for the NDGSA, a local soccer organization determined to address these trends.
A cornerstone of NDGSA’s new strategy is a contract with IS4, a Canadian company led by soccer stars Diana Matheson, Karina LeBlanc, Christine Sinclair, and Rhian Wilkinson, to improve the sport experience of all its members- girls, boys, parents and coaches- through educational seminars and role modelling.
IS4 is a relatively new company that holds development camps for youth that combine soccer skills training with teamwork and motivational lessons, and also works with local clubs and community groups with a specific focus of keeping young girls and women involved in sport.
On May 11, Rhian Wilkinson spoke to all coaches, inviting them to bring their own perspectives on the culture and mission of the club, and sharing her insights on quality coaching.
Rhian spoke about her own experiences in community soccer all the way through to the National Team and spoke about the coaches that inspired and drove her- and about the ones that didn’t - and why.
She talked about the need to create a team culture based on respect at all levels, and the importance, at the community level, of providing equitable opportunities for individual players to develop and have fun, regardless of relative competencies and talent. In describing the differences between girls and boys, Rhian said “when you tell a boy to run a lap, he runs a lap. When you tell a girl to do it, she asks ‘why.’”
Rhian spoke about her last National Team coach John Herdman who invested a lot of time in listening to players and getting their ‘buy-in,’ and who built a tight-knit overachieving team because of it.
Rhian also ran a workshop with senior women players and coaches on May 12 with the aim of inspiring them to establish their own support network and to grow the numbers of women in coaching and leadership roles.
The women in the session were candid about enablers and barriers, and stayed well past the end of the session - as did Rhian - to brainstorm and share. IS4 will be developing a report for NDGSA with strategies to pursue based on member feedback.
Rhian will be inspiring young girls and boys in her capacity as a role model - a girl who was once a self-described ‘mediocre' player on a house league team called the “Strawberries”, who was cut from many competitive teams throughout her teenage years, but who ultimately made it to the highest levels of Canadian soccer with passion and hard work.
Importantly, she will be speaking to parents about their role in their children’s pursuits.
Research has revealed the negative impacts on children of parental pressure and vicarious drive. In fact, most kids who quit say the lectures from parents on the ride home from games and practices was a major factor in leaving sport.
Rhian will provide parents with better strategies - that sometimes include just stepping back, saying nothing and forcing a smile - for parents to encourage continued enjoyment and development in the game.
Please join us for this IS4 player and parent event on June 21, 2017
at Concordia University’s field between 6-8 p.m.