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Presentation with Skye

6 Steps to Being a More Inspiring and Empowering Youth Soccer Parent

Join Skye, the Founder of Soccer Parenting for an exclusive on our newly launched program for youth soccer parents and learn all about:

6 Steps to Being a More Inspiring and Empowering Youth Soccer Parent

In this hour long, live webinar Skye covers:

Challenges of being a sports parent today
- Essential things parents must know and learn more about
- Steps to collaborating with your coach and club
- What trust in youth sports looks like

Download Audio Below:

Speaker Info:

Skye Eddy

Founder at Soccer Parenting and The Sideline Project, Skye is also a former All-American goalkeeper, professional player and collegiate coach. She holds her USSF "B" License and USSF National Goalkeeper License and is an active youth coach, soccer parent and coach educator.

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For those of you who might follow us on social or if your on our newsletter, you knew that I was in Spain for the last five weeks. Part of my time in Spain was to just really try to rethink Soccer Parenting, to rethink the work that we're doing and the impact and how we're connecting with parents. Soccer Parenting and the Soccer Parent Resource Center is essentially an education platform for you, soccer parents and coaches, and we are evolving it into, for those who want more of a transformational platform, so shifting from education to potentially being more transformational, because I know that that's what parents are seeking. I hear that from parents all the time.

We've created these six steps. This is what we're going to be going over today is, the first step is embracing finding community. The second step for parents is reflection and then education, and then accountability. Holding ourselves accountable to the belief and values that we have as far as youth sports and what is important for our children. Then, so foundational. If you've been following Soccer Parenting for a while, you know that what we're really about is trust and establishing trust in the coach-parent relationship and then engagement within the greater community, whether that's a team, whether that's a club culture, whatever that means, engagement within the game, so we'll dive into that today. These are our six steps. We will be launching programming around this on the Soccer Parent Resource Center in the coming months. If you go through our new member onboarding program already at Soccer Parenting, you'll see that we have those steps and we're starting to layer in some messages about them. Really, really excited about that.

Okay. Again, I'm going to just dive in. This is going to be a lot of me chatting. I don't have slides for this conversation because it's just a lot of storytelling and things that I know to be true after spending 10 years in the space of sports parenting. I absolutely encourage you, like I said, to ask questions if you have any. But to start with, I want to go over, why these six steps? Why we need this? Why we're in this space where I think that this is important? We know that, in many ways, youth soccer, youth sports is not necessarily giving our children what it needs. I say, a lot of times, youth sports is not working yet. We want to give you all as parents the greatest chance of your child reaching their soccer playing potential.

Importantly, by you joining a community and by you getting some education around youth sports and youth soccer specifically for your child, you will become a part of the solution to make youth soccer better, and that's what we believe. That anytime anyone joins our movement, whether that's joining our mailing list, whether that's getting involved in a work that we're together making you soccer better. I want us to imagine a youth soccer experience for our children that is filled with joy, that's filled with inspirational moments, that's filled with friendships that last forever and really important life lessons that are learned along the way. All of that, while he or she competes with really intensity and a high-level of competitiveness on the field. I do believe that it's possible to have all of those things coming together. I want us to imagine a youth soccer experience for our children that is full of that great feeling that we have as parents when our child is thriving.

A lot of times, we hear from parents when their child isn't thriving or when parents' instincts are telling them that the environment their child isn't quite right for their child. We all know that, in many ways, youth sports, I say, has been hijacked. We have sidelines that are way too out of control where the focus is too much on winning instead of competing. There's just really an unhealthy focus on that. There's irrational sideline behavior. There's parents who are living vicariously through their child. There's coaches and clubs that sometimes aren't communicating the way that parents need and deserve to be communicated to. There's a pay-to-play structure that is really, makes families very uncomfortable and it's hard on families. There's nationwide travel that sometimes doesn't need to happen, and sadly there's a poor learning environments and too often a lack of team chemistry.

We really do believe that as parents go through these six steps and as you get engaged, as you become part of this solution, and obviously collaboratively with the clubs that we're working with, we have over 200 club partners, 16 state associations, leagues that we're working with across the United States that are really showing up and doing great things. When we come together collectively and collaboratively is when we will make youth soccer better. That's when we'll change the culture into one in which our children deserve.

At Soccer Parenting, we know that parents getting properly involved with the correct boundaries in the soccer experience of their child is really what's going to make a big difference, and so we do believe that parents, coaches and clubs collaboratively working together will improve player development. Those things we really do believe to be true, and that's why you all being here today and getting involved with this movement, diving in, reflecting a little bit on yourself, on how you can show up for your child and for the team and for the club a little bit differently, it's going to take all of us being a little bit more intentional, being a little bit more thoughtful in order for this to happen.

That's the big picture of what I want to talk to you about and the movement that's evolving from us. But more than anything, we want to make sure that you understand that you will be the difference-maker. I think a lot about my son, when I'm thinking here because my child, my daughter went to school and everything was very easy for my daughter. My daughter went into school and learning is easy for her. For my son, who has dyslexia, learning is hard for him. It became very apparent to me when my son was going into the elementary school system, my daughter was already in 3rd, 4th grade by then, but that I needed to show up differently for him because he needed a little bit more help and the environment that he was in required me to dive in.

I think that there's some lessons there about youth soccer and as parents, it's not so much just signing our kids up for soccer anymore, it's learning and getting engaged and getting a little bit more involved with our kids' experiences in the right way, with the right boundaries, just so that we can make sure that our child is as inspired as possible. I see that Gill is asking for those six steps again. It's an acronym, CREATE. It's community, it's reflection, education, accountability, trust and engagement, and we'll go through each of those here.

Also, I would tell you that when I was in Spain and going through all of this and developing this, what I really realize as I was creating this path is that this is the path that I went on. I founded Soccer Parenting because I was struggling with my daughter's new soccer experience. I was struggling because she and I weren't getting along as well. There was a lot of conflicts because my mentality is much different than Callie's. I was struggling because I knew that her learning environment wasn't as great as it could be to inspire her as like seven, eight year old, and so there were a lot of different things coming at me. Really, I founded Soccer Parenting and dove in. All of these steps, I found this great community. Fortunately, I already had a great community with my strong network in the game as a former player, as an active youth coach, as a college coach at that time. I had a great soccer network already, but I found my community, and then I did a lot of personal reflection and then I educated myself.

All of these webinars I've done over the last 10 years, the hundreds of them have all been education for me. I started this not knowing much about the language that I would use or what long-term athlete development was or any of these terms. Now, I feel through this education I've been able to support my daughter as well. These steps, these six steps are really the process and the journey that I went through as a youth soccer parent. This weekend, I was at my daughter's college graduation. Mission accomplished, she still loves the game she plays all the time. That's a big picture is, we want our children to stay active and healthy and ideally fall in love with the game in a way that they'll take it with them for their lifetime. With Callie, I knew that just being calm on the sidelines and trying to relax wasn't enough, that I needed to be a little bit more intentional.

Let's dive into step number one. Okay. Yes, Tim. Moms step in, you're right. Also a side note, as I'm just chatting with you guys here, this is reminiscent. The other thing I spent some time and studied a few years ago is the evolution of the PTA and the role that parents played in the PTA. Once the PTA was formed, how that really helped transform education in America, it needs a lot of transformation now, I agree, I understand, but the role that parents played in schools becoming safer, there being better standards of learning and being more equality and equity across education. I do think that, in many ways, that parents really are a big difference maker here.

Okay. Community is step number one. As a youth soccer parent, the first thing that you need to be thinking about are who your people are. I have talked a lot about, and I want to speak here about crazy soccer parents and how crazy soccer parents have really ruined it for us level-headed ones. The crazy soccer parents take a lot of energy from coaches, from us, and sadly, over the years, we've allowed them to be the loudest voice, to have the most power within the environment. We've allowed that because, as level-headed parents, we live in fear of being portrayed by the coach or the club as a crazy soccer parent, so we have decided that likely the best way we can not be a crazy parent is to just be quiet. What this movement that Soccer Parenting is about, is about the level-headed parents, the vast majority of us who are seeking what's best for our children that have perspective on the youth sports experience, but might need some guidance and some education and some support along the way. That is who this movement is for.

We're trying to give rise to the majority of us to take the emphasis, to take the power away from the crazy parents. We see them on the sidelines way too often. We see children falling out of the game because parents are living vicariously through them. We see all the results of the crazy soccer parents and now we have a place as level-headed parents to show up to support our children, to support the teams, to support the coaches. Crazy soccer parents have also really ruined youth soccer because coaches, myself included as a soccer coach over the years, coaches have been burned by crazy soccer parents. They take way too much time and energy.

Just the other day, I was reading back over a journal that I kept when I was coaching a few years ago, and I have two or three journal entries about a crazy parent on my team and how stressful this was for me. It took so much energy away from me even in this work that I'm doing. Coaches have been burned by parents, and so they avoid all parents and they come to these under this understanding or they make assumptions about the vast majority of parents, or we decide as coaches that it's just easier not to deal with parents, and so they put the parents aside. At Soccer Parenting, we believe that collaborative relationships, that the definition of parent engagement is coaches, clubs and parents working together to inspire players. We really need to flip the script on the youth soccer culture and rid our sidelines of the crazy parents or we're not going to rid our sidelines of them, but don't give them the energy and the power that they've taken from us and that's negatively impacted our children.

Now, crazy soccer parents, the only thing that is an issue in youth soccer. There's a lot of structural issues, there's a lot of issues with coaches, there's a lot of issues with leadership. There's a lot of ways that we need to improve youth soccer. It's very holistic in nature what needs to happen, but I do want to just be really, really clear that the community that we surround ourselves with really matters. In this first step of community, what I'm asking you to do is to think about who your people are, who the level-headed parents are within the youth sports environment that you're participating in, and to really sort of connect with them, unite with them, establish yourself, say out loud, "I am a level-headed soccer parent," and then start living within that community.

We have a couple of tools for you at soccer parenting to support you here. We have our soccer parenting Facebook page. I'll follow up and email, since I don't have somebody monitoring this, I can't really like pop that in the chat right now. If somebody wants to pop in a link to our private Facebook group page, if they're a member of it, that'd be great into the chat. We have our private Facebook group. Answer the questions to join, and Kelly, who monitors the Facebook group, will let you in. That's a great community of level-headed parents, coaches, referees, administrators, we want everyone to come into that Facebook group and to really share and connect with everybody. Then, we also have our community forums. If you're a member at Soccer Parent Resource Center, you have access to our community forums.

I'm excited, we've been working so hard on them and conversations are starting to happen. Community forums take a long time to get going, and I really appreciate Tim's on this call. He's been very active in the forums and many other parents have as well, so jump in there and get active. That's a community where you can ask questions in a safe environment where you can seek guidance and support in a safe environment. Thank you so much to a couple people, Chris, Sahidia for putting that link in. I'd really encourage you to join our Facebook group if you're not a member. If you are a member, join the Facebook group and also show up in the community forum. We ask important questions there. We're starting to link all of our education into the forums as well, so we can keep conversation going. Okay. Number one step of the CREATE acronym is community, and that's us. That's our level-headed parents all coming together. We're the community that is going to make youth soccer better when we work collaboratively with the level-headed coaches and like-minded club leaders that are out there.

Second step, this one requires some work. I'm just going to say it upfront, and that's reflection. I'm developing right now, we'll have it launch on the education platform in the next couple of weeks, a reflection workbook. It takes time to go through this. This is not necessarily supposed to be easy. It's not like a long-involved process, but I do believe that the first step in our learning and our growing and our showing up for our children is spending 20, 30 minutes and reflecting on us, reflecting on a few things. One is our youth sports experience, what that was or just so that we have perspective and understanding about how we feel about youth sports and how youth sports showed up for us, and then, reflecting on our child's youth sports experience.

Then, the third step in this reflection process is reflecting on how we are showing up within the larger community, how we feel about the sense of community within our soccer experience, because as a parent, that's a big role and that's going to be the last step we talk about engaged. We really have a big role to play when it comes to engagement and showing up within that community. When we go through the reflection process, right now, even if you've been a member for a while, if you go onto roadmaps, which is a new section we started, I'm going to open up the education platform in a second, but if you go into the roadmaps, you'll see the onboarding roadmap, even if you've been a parent for a while, a member for a while, go through that onboarding just so that you're seeing all the new things that we have offered, and part of that is a quick reflection questionnaire. We will build that out in the coming weeks to a much larger reflection, but I think it's important that we start there.

I talked about this a while ago. It's a concept I heard about on a podcast, not soccer-related one. It's this idea of decoupling. When I heard this, I've mentioned this on webinars in the past or recently because it was something that really struck me. When we start to reflect on us and how we are experiencing youth sports for our kids, and then start to think about our child's experience and what they're feeling and what's good and bad about it and what can be improved, and then the sense of community, what's good and bad about it, how we can improve it. When we start doing that, I think what we start doing is decoupling a little bit from our child's experience.

Those of us who might struggle with living vicariously through our children, it's a term I always have loathed, and I've always lived in fear of living vicariously through my child, and I've always felt like I must be doing something wrong because Callie feels so much pressure from me, even though I don't feel pressure from her. I think that in the far recesses of my mind, of course, I want her to excel and I want her to be her best. It's so easy for that to feel like pressure on our children depending on our children's mindset. As I was listening to this podcast and the psychologist was talking about this concept of decoupling from our children or decoupling from relationships, it really struck me that that's what is very powerful when that can happen. Yes, of course we can still want what's best for our children.

We can still want them to thrive, we can still want them to work harder and be their best and to set goals that are high. We don't have to force them, force those goals upon them, but we can also want that in a very healthy way once we feel we're just here to support them and show up for them, instead of prompt them too much. I think that this reflection and these reflection moments for us are really, really important. The Reflection workbook is not ready yet. When it is, you can go through that, but to start with, you can ask yourselves just a few simple questions and maybe even jot them down now and come back to them. It's these three concepts that I talked about. It's the youth sports experience that you had. It's the youth sports experience your child has, and it's the sense of community that you feel around youth sports in your family.

Then, look at each of them and just simply say, what's going well, what's not going well, and how can it get better? What can I do? Just go through those three steps, on those three areas. I think that's a first really great step in reflection. Then, obviously, take all of those, what can I do better and what can change? What needs to change? Take all of those and put them into a list and then take those with you to the next step, and that's our education platform, because really, we've got so many answers here for you already from amazing experts all around the globe. I see a couple of things. Oh, that's a chat, good. Again, the chat is open, so I see that in the background. If you have any questions, put them into the Q&A. We are going to go from community, establishing our community to reflection, reflecting on how we're showing up for our kids, and then going from there and thinking about education, but a couple of more points on reflection that I wanted to get to.

Other things that we really, really need to reflect on is our sideline behavior. Even as level-headed parents, it's really easy for us to get sucked into the game. I call it, it's really easy for us to care too much about the result. Now, we want our children to show up with a competitive attitude and, of course, we want them to win, but we can't care too much about the result because the fact is, is that half of every children in America are going to lose a game every weekend, and so if that's the expectations, we're just setting things up for failure. We're setting things up to be stressful.

As parents, how we show up and reflect about our sideline behavior is really important, and for those of you who haven't taken our Sideline Project course, it's a 15-minute course, 67% of parents who take the course say that their behavior improved as a result of taking it. My favorite statistic from this course, again, 15 minutes of your time, 42% of parents who take the course say that their relationship with their child improved as a result of taking the Sideline Project course. I'll show you where it is on the education platform, if you're a member. If you're not a member, you can grab a 3-day free pass and go take it. You can buy the course independently at thesidelineproject.com. There's lots of ways for you to get the course. In the course, we frame sideline behavior into three categories.

Somebody want to pop in what they are. I'm testing people. Anybody remember what the three categories are for Sideline Behavior? Supportive, yep. Angie, we got that. That's one of them. Distracting, yep, Will got it. Heidi was close, she said disruptive. Supportive, distracting, and hostile. Awesome. You guys are amazing. Love it. Those are the three categories and buckets that we have for sideline behavior. Your behavior is either supportive or it's distracting or it's hostile. I think we know what hostile behavior is. Talking to kids, screaming at our children, screaming at other children, it's crazy what happens out there. We know what hostile behavior is. I think we can all agree I'm not going to be a part of that. But what happens is that there's a lot of confusion for parents between what is supportive and what is actually distracting, what's distracting our children from learning. When we talk to our children, and there's lots of science and research behind this, when you talk to your child, when they're in the middle of performing, you're distracting them, you're not helping.

What's confusing about this is that sometimes we can help them in the moment because we might say, "Throw the ball to Mike," and your child might pick up the ball real quick and throw it to Mike and there might be a breakaway and maybe your team will score and then you'll be like, "Oh, I'm so glad I said that to him." What you've just done is you've taken away the learning opportunity for your child to be able to see that. Probably the best thing that you could have done is if your child didn't do that, if they didn't pick up the ball quickly and throw it to Mike and instead they took their time or they got distracted, then maybe you could talk to them afterwards about it and then the next time they can try to throw the ball in faster and see if that works.

But for them to control the learning themselves instead of us telling them what to do, and obviously, that's one example, but the other thing we're doing as parents all the time is like shoot or go here or pass here, and our children just hear it, it's distracting. In the middle of the course, we do a strip effect test with parents to help you understand what it feels like to be distracted when you're trying to concentrate, and this is what we're doing to our children. We're just distracting them from playing and we're making it about us. We're caring too much instead of just watching them and seeing the joy of watching them learn. That's something that as parents, when it comes to reflection, one of our big focuses for this year and next is on sideline behavior, and so reflecting as a parent on sideline behavior is something that's key.

If you want to be more inspiring, if you want to be a more empowering parent, how you show up on the sidelines really, really matters. I hear from parents that take the course all the time or that have evolved in their sideline behavior, how much more positive they feel, how much more joy they feel when they're going to their kids' sports experiences. There's a real lesson for us to be learned here. Thanks, Gill, I appreciate it. It's transformational. I appreciate that, Gill. I really do believe that it is as well.

Okay. We've got CREATE, from that we have community, we have reflection, and the next step is education. I'm just looking at my time. We've got time here. our education, I'm just going to, this is where I'm going to ask for questions so we can dive in. Our categories, I'm going to pop them in real quick here are the body. I'll do it in top in caps. Oh gosh! The body, the mind, the game, the coach club relationship, the next level, so that means high performance dreams or even going from rack to travel and parenting.

Those are our six categories that we provide education around at Soccer Parenting. I'd love to try to take, I put that into the chat, not the Q&A. I'd love to try to take, if you all have a question that's lingering for you about something related to the body, physical performance or something related to the mind, your child just, we're not going to dive so much in. But what I'm going to do is quickly enter it and show you where the resources are that are available to you, because we do believe that education is an essential component of parent engagement.

When I first founded Soccer Parenting over 10 years ago, the concept and the term that everyone used in this space, not that there were a lot of people in this space, but it was parent education. Then, there became this little movement of people, not necessarily from me, but there are quickly, a couple of years after I founded this, became this big movement to start calling it parent engagement not parent education, which I agree with. We want parents to be engaged. This is a big part of our work that we're doing. But what I believe happened when there was a shift from education to engagement is that we lost track of the education component a little bit with this idea that parents don't want to be educated. But what I know to be true, because this is what I do and when I'm traveling the country and when I'm speaking to parents and I'm educating them, their eyes are open. You guys are excited and listening and learning about things like relative age effect really impacts how you support your child, so I do believe that parents want to be educated as well.

Okay. I'm going to go ahead and I realized now that I don't have it open real quick because I closed all my browsers, so sorry about this, but I'm going to go ahead and open up the Soccer Parent Resource Center and share that with you all. I'm going to just share my screen real quick. We're going to dive in here a little bit when we're talking about education, because this'll be a good prompt for me to talk about to where and how we educate. This is our education platform, Soccer Parent Resource Center. You just click in, and right now, we're behind the membership wall. If you've never been on our education platform, you're getting a sneak peek of it right now. This is all of the education and resources that are available. I mentioned the community and the community forums, so there's a whole community that's here as well that you can interact with as well.

Let's dive into the library because I do want to talk about education. I talked about the different levels of, or the different categories, and the majority of our content is housed here in the library. I'm just going to look over to the questions and see. Heidi, I think the reflection workbook is being developed right now, so I think it'll be available in the next week or two. It's all written out, it's just a matter of, it's with the design team right now. So we're really excited about that. I was hoping to have it here for this webinar, but there's only so much that you can do, sometimes there's delays.

We talked about all these different areas. Let's start with the body. Again, if anyone has a question related to the body, I can show you and we can use that as a frame for talking about different things that parents need to learn. But when I think about youth soccer parents, and when I think about this topic of the body, there's so much that's essential for you all to understand. One, very first here is this webinar that I did with Jess Freemas, this first one here, the Female Factor. If you are raising a daughter, you have to listen to this webinar if you didn't listen to it. There's so many things that I didn't understand even as a female athlete myself about hormones and how they impact performance and ACL injuries around certain times of a women's cycle. There's some incredible research that's just now finally coming about because forever there's only been research using men. We're finally broadening our scope of research globally and starting to do some research on females, and the data points that we're getting in are really fascinating, absolutely fascinating.

We talk in this webinar about a free app your child can download that they can track their period and just so that they're aware of where they are in the cycle in terms of how it can support them. Absolutely, when we're talking about the body, if you are raising a daughter, this is a webinar you have to listen to. There's a lot of important content here about nutrition and how we show up for our kids with nutrition, what we know and some common misperceptions that we've had around nutrition. We have had three nutritionist on the site. Here, up here with John Cone. This is John here in this webinar doing one specific to Goalkeeping. He is a goalkeeper, but he has a number of articles or number of interviews on the site that are phenomenal.

If you have a child that's returning to play from ACL, there's some great information from both he and Chris Gorres, who's here, and then Erica's jumping in about load, how we need to support our children when they're playing on multiple teams, maybe it's high school and club, and what we need to do to protect our children from this crazy amount of games that they have to play in terms of making sure they're eating right, making sure they're sleeping right, taking extra time to do that just so that they can stay healthy. A lot of great information here related to the body and maybe just showing you, this is starting to trigger some different ideas for you. But one of our steps for parents, we're going to show up and be more inspirational and more empowering for our children, is absolutely, absolutely making sure we understand and that we're getting educated. Chris here talking about functional movement is fantastic interview. It was one of my favorite interviews that I've done and lots of other really good content here for our children.

Okay. That's the body category. If anyone has a mind, I can show you a question related to mental performance, I can dive into it. But here's everything from helping our children overcome bullying behavior and dealing with that to supporting our children's mental health. Also, then more mental performance, helping them work through setbacks, so lots of great education here. You see these interviews here? This was the high performance week that we did, so lots of great content here involving the mental side of the game related to high performance. Obviously, that would also show up for next level as well.

Dan Abraham has been a really key voice here at Soccer Parenting. He's a global sports psychologist, good friend of mine, phenomenal human being and master at his trade and has shown up a lot along with Stu Singer on this site. A lot of great content here and hopefully, just seeing this content and going through the library is triggering you guys on this realization of, "Oh yeah, I need to get more educated about that." We have a lot of good content related to the coach club relationship as well. I said I founded Soccer Parenting because I knew that my daughter's learning environment wasn't necessarily conducive to learning.

I looked around and most of the parents were totally satisfied with a learning environment and that made me realize, "Wow, we are never going to reach our potential as a soccer nation until parents understand what a good quality environment looks like." Going back to that PTA example I used, this is absolutely never an us versus them thing that we're doing at Soccer Parenting, it's all very collaborative. But as parents know more, the coaches will know more, the environment will improve, everything will just be raised and elevated for our children. Understanding the coach-club dynamic is really essential.

We'll talk about boundaries at the end, but just want to make sure that we have appropriate boundaries on everything, but this coach club relationship is key. Todd Bean is a good friend of mine. He lives in Spain. For those of you, most of you, if you've heard our webinars before, Todd runs a program called Tovo, where my daughter went and spent her senior spring. It's an international residency program in Spain. Todd is super holistic in nature, talking about psychologically safe environments for kids to learn, talking about holistic development here on the site. If you're your parent and you don't know the concept, holistic development, that's a term, "Oh, that's a good idea to create a term sheet of things parents should know. I'm going to do that." But holistic development will be front on the center on that list.

When we're talking about next level and education around that, this is where a lot of our hard performance week stuff will come up. Jay DeMerit, if you don't know Jay's story, it's phenomenal. Former National Team player, Premier League captain, talking about the mental side of the game here. All of these things are really, really key here. Oh, talking about the next level, sorry, I was like, "This is all not mental side of the game. This is next level stuff."

If your child has high performance dreams, what if your child says they have, we just had an interesting conversation in the forums about this. What if your child says they have high performance dreams, says they want to play in college, yet they just sit around on the couch all the time. How do you do that? How do you show up then? We've got content around that for parents because that's obviously a very common thing that we deal with. There's a great interview from a couple of people here talking about that as well. Then, education related to the game. When we survey new parent members, we ask what they're most curious about, the game is what always comes up. That's the thing that parents want to learn more about the game, so go in here and search the game and you'll have a lot of great content.

Here's tactical stuff. Passing combinations, defensive shifting, what does that even mean? Here's education for you around that, and these three topics from Sports App 360 change regularly. We're always rotating new content in here from them. Other things related to the game is a lot of education for young kids, so kids that are new to the game. Then, Soccer Talk is a section all about questions that parents are asking about the game itself. We answer your questions in our soccer talk section and in our Ask the Expert section. What does breaking lines mean? What does checking to the ball mean? What does receiving with your front foot mean? All of those things we're diving into. As parents, I don't think it's essential that you have this education, but I do think it's a nice connection that you can have with your child. I think we already went through the body and the mind, the game, the coach club relationship, and then our final section is parenting, which you can imagine we have a lot of education from really quality people related to parenting.

Okay. Another quick thing, I mentioned our new onboarding thing, so here is where you can find the new member onboarding. Even if you're a previous member, go through that. Another thing we just added in here at our education platform, I love this part, is the Q&A tiles. As you're curious about something, my child gets upset when they make mistake, content pops up where you can find answers to your questions about these different topics. Then, at the end, ask us more questions. We'll guide you to the answers here along the way. I'm really excited about this section. This is in the parent tiles here as well.

I'd mentioned our, and the last thing I'll show you is the courses. I mentioned The Sideline Project course, here's where you find it. It's a 15-minute course, simple online education, work through the different steps and you'll have access to a certificate at the end. It's just a quick video that you watch essentially there. Okay. I'm going to stop sharing the education platform. I just wanted, for those of you who are already a member to know how you can dive in, search by different categories, search by different topics, and we have a lot of resources here. But bigger picture than that, it's like the essentialness of parents getting educated. I'm going to go back to my conversation about my son and as he's coming up in the game or as he's coming up in school, how important it was for me to learn more about dyslexia and to learn more about how he amazingly and uniquely learned so that I can support him.

I think it's important that we realize that youth sports today are challenging and our kids are in challenging environments that are structural in nature, there's a lot of reasons for that. I think it's important that we realize that we need to be a little bit more intentional about showing up for our kids. It's not just signing them up and sending them out. This education and diving in and having a little bit more knowledge, one, it really helps just to support our kids, but I also love the connections that form from parents as you all are diving in to the education as well, because it helps you feel a deeper connection to your child in the game.

Okay. That's education. I'm going to go through the next three steps. I know I have 15 minutes, so we'll get through that. They are accountability. It's one thing to reflect and say, "This is what I need to change," and then it's one thing to get some education, but then we need to hold ourselves accountable to those. For that, I encourage you to look at our soccer parent value statements. We have those pretty easily accessible. I'll just go to soccerparenting.com to show them to you real quick and we can review them. Our value statements, we have six value statements. There's one for each category, active health. What we want to do when we're being accountable is we want our values to match our behaviors. As we're making decisions for our children or as you're maybe struggling and not quite sure or feeling some stress about your child's experience or just whatever as you're just trying to engage because that's what you're trying to do, reflecting on these value statements can help.

You can download these, you can print them, you can put them on your refrigerator, but it's active health, coach integrity, life lessons, soccer knowledge, love of the game, and balanced outlook. We have a value statement, so ways that parents can show up related to each of these concepts. I'll read one of them as an example. Soccer knowledge, we're just on the education platform, so that's a good one. It's as simple as we foster our children's love of soccer by seeking to educate ourselves about the rules, not nuances and intricacies of the game. These are our value statements for soccer parents, for sports parents, so important that we can reflect on them. When we're talking about holding ourselves accountable, it's holding ourselves accountable to these beliefs and to our values.

I would say, the biggest area and challenge that I would encourage you all to take on for yourselves is related to sideline behavior. Again, big focus of ours, how we interact with our children during the game, how we interact with referees or officials during the match, how we talk about the coach and the referee and teammates after the game and the car ride home. All of those things are really related to sideline behavior and how we're responding. I think that as parents, that's a way that there's a lot of room for all of us to improve. I know, for me, personally, that I was usually pretty good on the sidelines during a game. I wasn't screaming at referees, I wasn't screaming at players by any means. Very rarely, once I figured things out with my daughter, was I even talking because she did not want me speaking, and so I just showed up in attentive silence mode for her.

But I would say that the car ride home, there was some challenging times. I might talk poorly about the referee or I might talk about a decision that was made, and sadly, I'll admit it here, I might have even talked about a teammate and how they played in a match. How we show up for our kids is really important. Holding ourselves accountable to being the best parent we can is important.

Okay. Next step here is trust. This is so foundational to our trust or to making new sports better. The first time I ever spoke publicly for Soccer Parenting was at the United Soccer Coach's Convention in California, or might have been Philadelphia. It was a huge room. I sold this story a while recently. It was this massive room and so many people showed up. I couldn't believe how many people were in the room. It was this long, narrow room with maybe five a top rounds across it and just going all the way back and the mic wasn't working. I stood at the front of the room and just screamed pretty much all of this, but the topic of my talk that so many coaches showed up for was establishing trust in the coach-parent relationship.

Trust has been where I started all of this. I do think that it's an essential step to us showing up as parents. Once we've had some reflection, we found our community, we've had some reflection, we're starting to educate ourselves, we're holding ourselves accountable, then we can get to this place of trust. The first step of trust is self-trust. If you've done all those previous steps and you've gotten to that point, then obviously now you're trusting yourself or you've done the work so that you can feel like you can trust yourself.

Until we can trust ourselves, it's really hard to trust other people around us or to ask that of them. Side note, as I'm mentioning that, I do a lot of coach education around that because this is where coaches I think have a lot of stress. Whether it's ego, whether it's stress about them feeling like there's a lot of pressure on them to win. It's a self-serving thing that happens and we have to start and show up for one another in a spot where we're really confident and clear and have trust in ourselves. That's something that, even as parents, we need to think about.

The other thing is finding a coach you trust. Once we know that our children are in an environment that we trust, oh man, it just feels so good. I would say that being reflective and really thoughtful of what that environment looks like. When we get into Soccer Parent Resource Center, we develop content around trust because there'll be like six steps that parents work through, just like that reflection workbook. There'll be a step around education, there'll be a step around accountability, there'll be a step around trust. When we do that, we'll do some exercises on self-trust, but we'll also talk about what does youth soccer look like when it's right and when we feel like we can trust the environment our children is in, because I'm telling you, there's nothing better than knowing that you're putting yourselves or your children into the hands of an adult that you trust that has their best interests at heart. A lot of the coach education that I'm doing on the flip side of this, involves coaches showing up with a capacity to be able to love our kids and show up that way for them.

The other concept that I want to talk about with trust quickly before I get to our last step of engage, because I want to spend some good quality time there and wrapping up soon, is the importance of gratitude. Many of you have participated in our gratitude week. We hold it every year in February around Valentine's Day week. The importance of showing and demonstrating gratitude when it comes to establishing trust is so important. For those of you who are wondering where this gratitude week comes from, it actually comes from this concept of trust and how important that is. Next year, when that rolls around, please get involved in our gratitude week.

Okay, our final step here, I'm going to look really quickly in the Q&A to make sure I'm not missing anything. Looking ahead, more training webinars for players already playing at high performance level to help position them to succeed. Sahidia, if you go to that high-performance week and watch those webinars, I think there are 12 of them. They're 20-minute interviews. You'll really get a lot out of it. Listen to Steve Cook, he's now the Atlanta two coach. When he did the interview was coaching for, he was the academy director for Seattle Sounders in the Boys side. He has a great talk for kids with high performance dreams. He's working with them, he's working on the path to the pros. There's lots of great content on the site for you related to that. Yes, on the mental side of the game as well, we had sports psychologists show up that week and give some great guidance as well.

Okay. Engage our last step. I want to talk to you here about sense of community. You remember in the reflection I said to reflect on how you're showing up within the community or how you feel about the community that's around you, that's something we need to reflect on. Once we've gotten through all these steps, once we've found our community, once we've gotten some reflection done, been educated, gone and held ourselves accountable, we feel like we're in a good environment from a trust standpoint, and at least we trust ourselves, then we can really open up our hearts and minds to engaging. This is where I feel we have a big opportunity.

I was talking to somebody a few weeks ago when I was in Spain. I was on a Zoom talking to a man in France that a friend from Man City connected me with. I love how this game just puts in touch with these crazy people. It was a wonderful conversation with him. At the end, he is like, "Tell me, what are you trying to accomplish?" Without hesitation, it was embarrassing to say it here. I was like, "I want to bring the world together." That's where the game is done for me. I'm sitting here talking to some random man in France that's connected with some man from Man City who's actually from Barbados, and we're all connected from the game, and this is what's so special and unique about this global game of soccer, of football, and this is what I want.

I also want to bring back the community that we had growing up. I talked this morning for 45 minutes to one of my club teammates from high school who I still keep in touch with. This is what I want for our kids, this is what I want for our families. Soccer is so uniquely positioned. Sports is so uniquely positioned to help us feel the sense of connection to those that are around us and we're missing the opportunity. We're missing the opportunity because we get too focused on if our child's going to make the team or not, and there's so much club hopping that's going on. There's so much lack of trust in the environment, and so we're really missing this opportunity. Plus, to be fair, we got a lot of stuff going on as parents and the extra dinners and time with the team, with multiple kids going in multiple directions all overly programmed. I get it, it's hard.

But when we do have an opportunity to connect, whether it's on the sideline before a game, we need to be taking advantage of those times. That is what soccer can so uniquely do. For us as parents, with other parents informing nice friendships there, but also just more globally helping our kids connect to the world. If I could say one thing, when I sent Callie to Spain, I said, "I'm sending her to Spain to go to Tobo for the spring because I want her to understand the gift of the game to help her find her space in the world, to help her find her place in the world," and that's just what that experience did and many other things for her. But that's what we have this opportunity and that's why we really need to engage.

Sense of community. This is great research, sense of community theory. There's actually follow-up studies that Eric Leg at Arizona State did about sense of community theory within youth sports soccer teams in America. There's great research on this, but these are the steps of it quickly. Group membership. In order for us as a parent to feel a sense of community, we have to have a sense of group membership. There's four components of this, personal investment, we got that covered in youth soccer. We have made a personal investment of time and money, so we feel a group membership because of that. But that's not all. We also will feel group membership when we feel a sense of belonging, and so that's a lot of the education I do for club leaders and coaches about establishing a sense of belonging, helping you feel connected instead of avoiding you.

Have the coach call you by your first name and how wonderful that is. Likewise, we can do that with coaches. Boundaries, I've mentioned that a few times here. This is not just parents on fire, this is parents with boundaries, supporting kids in the right ways. Putting bumpers on how we got involved is essential. Finding other people to support our kids in other ways outside those boundaries is really important. Boundaries on the coach parent relationship is essential actually to us feeling a sense of group membership. I work a lot with coaches on establishing boundaries in the coach-parent relationship, so as parents, we feel another thing, which is next, emotional safety and showing up for those relationships and feel comfortable with that.

Those are the four components of group membership, personal investment, sense of belonging, boundaries and emotional safety. That's one component of sense of communities, there's three more. They're pretty simple. We have group membership and then we have needs fulfillment. When I ask you soccer parents, what do you need? I get some great answers. In fact, I'm going to ask you that now. If you don't have time to put it in the chat, that's fine. Follow up and write a comment in the Facebook group or write a comment in the community forum about what you feel like we need. In fact, we've been asking you that sense making question for the past eight years on soccerparenting.com. You can go to our sense-making question and you can say, what is your greatest goal, problem, or challenge that you're trying to solve for your child? What do you need?

But getting your needs fulfilled is an essential step of feeling like you're part of a community, and there's two more. One, it's essential for us, as youth soccer parents, for us to feel a part of the group, for us to feel a sense of community within the organization. It's essential that we feel like we have influence. It's essential that we feel like we matter. I hope that you realize, this all is about how much we matter. It's actually important that we not just be the quiet parent, not wanting to be the crazy parent and just being reserved and show up like that, but then we show up with some agency, with some awareness with all the other level-headed parents, and that we show up because we realize that we have influence that we matter to this experience, that our children are having that experience of the community, the experience of the coach, the officials, all of our families, so we do have influence in the space.

The fourth component of sense of community, the fourth thing that we need to have is a shared emotional connection. When we have a shared emotional connection with a coach, with the other parents, with our child, with the other kids in the team, when we all feel that shared emotional connection, then we are going to feel a sense of community. My challenge for you to, do you know the first names of all the kids on the team? Do you know their parents and their names? Have you ever gotten together and had a potluck supper or something like that with a team? Do you have opportunities to develop an emotional connection? Are you taking advantage of creating those opportunities if you're not? That's the final step of us showing up in terms of how we're going to be more inspiring and more empowering for our children is this sense of engagement and making sure that we feel a sense of community.

That wraps it up for me right at 1:00. I definitely covered the timeframe really well here. I'm going to stay on. Usually, I just cut these off at the end, but I'm just going to hang out here for a little bit. I got a little bit of time, so I think I'll probably stop recording and hang out here and look at some questions. If anyone has any questions, I'll just stop recording, but hang out here for a little bit more. Thank you, Nathan. Thanks Sahidia, Angie. Angie, I think that you were up in the community forum, is that right? I remember that name. I think that was the last name. I appreciate you all being good. Good. Thank you. It's so nice to see you. I'm so glad your son made the team and he's a goalkeeper, so that's awesome. Thanks so much for being here. Again, I'm just going to stop recording.

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Skye Eddy

Founder, SoccerParenting.com
Skye is a former All-American goalkeeper, professional player and collegiate coach. She holds her USSF "B" License and USSF National Goalkeeper License and is an active youth coach, soccer parent and coach educator.