Next week will be the 78th convention of United Soccer Coaches. I was lucky to have attended 40 of those conventions and I hope to get to a few more. The convention is a wonderful series of educational opportunities for coaches, administrators, and referees.
My first convention was in 1980 when I and another young coach drove from Orlando to Houston to attend. If I recall correctly there were about 800 people at that one. The one taking place next week in Philadelphia will likely have about 10,000 attendees. Certainly, the convention has grown in many different ways over the years. Still, it strikes me as being a great soccer lover in.
I think of the United Soccer Coaches convention as a soccer love in because it is an opportunity to see the many friends, we have in the game who live in another part of the country. Given the size of our country as our friends move around with their soccer jobs it can be a real challenge to visit one another. Part of the convention for me is that reconnection with friends and colleagues in so many levels of the game.
The convention has moved from hotel ballrooms to convention center halls. The sessions have grown to full field demo areas and so what can be shown has expanded. The range of topics in sessions on the floor and in the classroom has grown and is now quite varied. The convention is an education, business, and networking scene.
When I left US Youth Soccer, I started a soccer consultants’ group to give the next big push to the growth of the game in the USA. Soccer organizations of all kinds need the occasional outside perspective to grow the business. Neal Ellis and Michael Warech, two of the partners from The Game Planners (TGP), will be at the 2023 convention. TGP is a soccer consultancy firm. Applying sound organization and business principles to the management of soccer clubs and organizations is what The Game Planners are all about. TGP is changing the paradigm for how clubs and organizations think about success!