Young soccer players yearning for the field during the pandemic now have a new way to get involved with the sport.
The Terrace Youth Soccer Association (TYSA) is making several web resources available free to all its members, including a live webcast video training session each Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. beginning May 12.
The core idea is that each training session will feature a coach demonstrating an exercise or skill, with kids encouraged to follow along at home. But Adam Glass, TYSA technical director, said the biggest challenge will be keeping kids engaged in the lessons.
“It can be very difficult for a kid to stay engaged, face-to-face across the screen,” he said. “It’s different when you’re in person.”
Glass said kids need a variety of content in order to remain interested. He’ll be the main coach, but later sessions could feature different coaches with different skill sets.
TYSA has an official partnership with the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club (VWFC,) which might mean VWFC players could make guest appearances in future webcasts.
The sessions might include a light homework component, such as a juggling challenge where players would aim to juggle a soccer ball as long as they could, each week striving to beat their own record from the previous week.
The main goal of the webcasts, Glass said, is to provide an outlet for the energy youth players normally pour into the sport.
“By the start of May, most kids in this area know ‘hey, it’s soccer time,’” he said. “Primarily the priority is to make sure those players are engaged.”
The organization is assessing the long-term viability of web training sessions to bolster training after the pandemic passes, Glass said.
“By using the online sessions, it might be a really good opportunity for us to engage with players that can’t always make it to the field, for whatever reason,” he said.
Glass said he’s had a chance to talk about this season with some TYSA players through his role as a VWFC academy coach.
“They’re upbeat and they’re positive, they’re happy that they’re able to connect,” he said. “They’re looking forward to when they do go back on the field.”