NJ Youth Soccer and WAGS Host All-Female C Course

NJ Youth Soccer WAGS All-Female Coaching C Course

New Jersey Youth Soccer recently teamed up with Women and Girls in Soccer (WAGS) to offer an all-female course for the U.S. Soccer National C License. This all-female course was sponsored by WAGS and offered candidates a full reimbursement of their course fees and travel expenses. NJ Youth Soccer made this all-female course available in an effort to increase the number of high-level female coaches throughout the State of New Jersey and beyond.

“I was either one or two of the only females throughout my higher-level coaching education journey,” said Lula Bauer, WAGS Chairwoman. “Given my experience, the question became, what can I do, what can WAGS do, to make the experience different for the next generation of female coaches? I had the pleasure of meeting and welcoming the U.S. Soccer National C License candidates in New Jersey. In the middle of sharing the WAGS journey, it hit me. I was standing in front of TWENTY-TWO C License female candidates. It was an overwhelmingly gratifying moment.”

This All-Female National C License Course took place over the course of 20 weeks, and the program was comprised of virtual classroom meetings, online learning experiences and in-person field sessions. The in-person sessions were conducted as part of a four-day week with two full days and two half-days of small group activities and individual field work. The sessions were led by highly accredited instructors Heather Pedersen and Jamie Meshew.

“As a long-time coach educator, I cannot overstate the value of the experiences, reflections and sense of community that occurs in our courses,” said Meshew. “However, not all student coaches are able to experience these environments in the same way because of their gender identity. As such, it is a tremendous privilege to be a part of creating a learning environment specifically geared towards creating a safe and empowering space for student coaches who do not identify as men. The Women and Girls in Soccer sponsored C License Course provided an opportunity for 22 coaches to step out of their comfort zone, expand their coaching knowledge and share a unique experience that will hopefully help them continue to grow in their coaching careers. I cannot wait to see where they all go from here!”

The impact of this All-Female National C License Course has also been significant to each of the coaches who took part, as evidenced in the following comments from course participant, Briana Solis, who traveled from Orlando to attend the in-person sessions.

“The amount of friendships and connections I have made this week has been incredible,” said Solis. “I was able to connect on a personal and professional level with all of the woman in different ways. I cannot thank WAGS and NJYS enough for allowing us to experience this and supporting us.”

Formerly a regional soccer league for girls in the Metro DC area, Women and Girls in Soccer (WAGS) has since restructured as a charitable organization that focuses on the empowerment of girls and women through soccer. The mission of WAGS is to sponsor, develop or provide educational and character-building programs for the benefit of girls and women through teaching and promoting an interest in the game of soccer.

“As we continue our focus enabling coaches to acquire and further develop knowledge, and skills, we acknowledge the need to empower more female coaches to gain further coaching qualifications,” said Evan Dabby, NJYS Executive Director. “Our collaboration with Women and Girls in Soccer (WAGS) aligns perfectly with our Growing the Girls Game Initiative, and is affording more opportunities for women in the sport. NJ Youth Soccer is extremely grateful for WAGS’ sponsorship of this course, and we are eager to support their future efforts.”

Meeting and field facilities for this All-Female National C License Course were provided by Cedar Stars Academy at the Capelli Sports Complex in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

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