My Soccer team is made up of amazing individuals who have a passion for the sport. We compete with local schools who have resources we don't as a school system. We lack the parental involvement, booster club and involved alumni that would help us grow.
Many of my players struggle academically and are in danger of not graduating.
Maintaining student engagement is an ongoing responsibility of mine after the season is over. Many of my players lose focus once the season is over, thankfully I am in the building and work with support services within the school to make sure they all walk across the stage in June.
Our soccer players are from around the world; Jamaica, Thailand, Peru, Brazil, Columbia, Guyana, Mexico Ecuador, The Dominican Republic. They love soccer but require extra time together as a team to learn how to play and win together. Players are in need of experiences that foster personal growth and strengthen the team as a whole. In a school that loves football and basketball, soccer is often overlooked. My international squad needs the inspiration to stand out and shine.
Many of my soccer players students struggle to graduate on time, I started to reward their successful graduation with a brand new soccer ball a few years ago. The players look forward to it every year, I know it's not much but I see it as a symbol of their hard work, and the time they spent with me over the years on the soccer team.
Making relationships with my players are the best part of every school year.
I know many don't have the same support at home as I did when I played soccer in high school, I just want to do everything I can to make their high school experience memorable and positive. Collaborating with social workers, behavior techs and administration helps me keep track of my players once the season ends; many are engaged in their academic responsibilities during the season, but lose focus and fail multiple classes when the season ends. I offer Saturday school, tutoring and access to my expanded after school hours for players on my team. I am constantly checking their attendance and grades making sure they are in class and getting extra help in classes they are struggling in.
My team does not have the community support many other school districts enjoy for many reasons, being their coach I feel it's my responsibility to keep them engaged in school, and walk across the state in June. The soccer ball is a symbol of their accomplishment, the high school diploma is the real reward when they succeed, I succeed.
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