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Julie Foudy On Coaching Young Kids

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Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, played midfield for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (1987-2004), winning two World Cup titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. A 2007 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, she now works as an ESPN Analyst and runs the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, teaching leadership skills to youth.

Foudy specifies what is important when coaching young kids, including such fundamentals as keeping in mind that it’s their first exposure to the game. It is so important as coaches of young children to try to instill a lifelong love for the sport, the team environment and athletic endeavors. Coaches can encourage this love by making the game fun, positive and interactive. Practice plans should reflect this goal and successes should be measured against an outcome of enjoyment.

It’s also important to remember that children have short attention spans. Foudy advises on how to combat the wandering focus of young minds by encouraging engagement and healthy competition. Even little things like making sure each kid on the team has a ball they can be kicking around and playing with, rather than having to wait to get in any touches. These are the keys to keeping kids engaged, having fun and learning.