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Monday, September 12, 2011

As 18th season begins, veteran coaches share advice and insights

Executive Director Amy Nakamoto
addresses a room full of coaches.
It might be hard to believe, but today marks the beginning of the 18th season of DC SCORES programming.

Yes, the flagship program of America SCORES, started in 1994 by Marie Reed Elementary School teacher Julie Kennedy, has grown during three presidencies, four summer Olympics, and the growth of the Internet from unknown to life dominator.

And DC SCORES is bigger than ever, serving more than 800 students at 27 elementary and middle schools. Additionally, within the past year, we’ve created and grown an extremely popular alumni program of more than 100 high school students.

While most of our staff arrived at DC SCORES within the past five years, many coaches — the program’s main influencers — have been around longer. They’ve had their ups and downs. They’ve seen kids come out of their shells and go on to high school, then college.

So it was only appropriate that at the Coach Kickoff event Saturday, held also appropriately at Reed, the DC SCORES veterans were asked to stand in a room full of many new coaches and speak about their experiences molding poet-athletes.

Here’s a sampling of what they shared:

“Remember that this is an outlet for the children. We’re offering something they don’t get at home.”
— Chiara Lee, Burrville soccer coach, 7 years

“I just have one word: patience.”
— John Guzman, Bancroft soccer coach, 8 years

“My grandchildren, all of them played it. They told me, when they graduate this year from college, ‘I’m going back to DC SCORES.’ So I think that speaks a lot for the program, for the children. And they used to get on me a lot about, ‘Grandma, why do you want to do this?’ Well, bottom line: they’re coming back. They say now, ‘I see what you mean.’”
— Barbara Ricks, Brookland Education Campus writing coach, 12 years

“Know that as a coach you have a really great support system. Know that you’re in good hands.”
— Rodney Curry, Arts and Technology soccer coach, 12 years

“The thing that really struck me about DC SCORES some years ago was that it’s an organization that really invested in the children. An investment means not worrying about a whole lot of small little issues. For me, it’s fellowship. It’s a sense of feeling good about what you’re doing.”
— Charles Robinson, Truesdell Education Campus soccer coach, over 10 years

“This is the only sport I know besides football or basketball where when you see kids play, you can’t decide who is a special needs student. Since I’ve been coaching, I’ve never discriminated. I’ve always made sure that population was represented. I thought that was one of the things that clearly stood out about the program.”
— Barrington Brown, Truesdell Education Campus soccer coach, 11 years

“The kids are coming to me on the first day of school, ‘Where’s my soccer equipment??’ I’m like, ‘Can we get through the first week before we even start talking about soccer?’

“Words of wisdom: Keep it positive, keep it real, keep it in perspective. … The kids that love the game will show you they love the game.”
— Shannon Nelson, Brightwood Education Campus, 8 years

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