In a unique event, Cal South and the LA84 Foundation welcomed over 80 coaches for the first Celebrate & Grow Women in Coaching Specialty Clinic.

In the two-day event that took place on December 8 and 9 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, female coaches, as well as several male coaches, had the opportunity to not only earn their ‘E’ License in the morning sessions, but hear first-hand from specialists like coach Laura Harvey of Utah Royals, U.S Women’s National Team Strength & Fitness coach Dawn Scott, and South Texas Youth Soccer Association Director of Coaching Jene Baclawski.

Among the attendees, Jill Ferris was moved by the clinic and said, “Usually I’m the only female in a room full of male coaches and it’s a little intimidating. To be with all these other women and to know you’re not alone, the networking, and we can actually share the experiences we’ve had and relate to each other, was really empowering. A lot of the encouragement and words, I just feel really empowered and ready to go out there and help the next generation of females and be an inspirational coach and great role model for all of them.”

From the get-go, attendees were immersed into what the event at its totality would be like, hearing from specialists and their best practices, as well as getting on the field experience with them. Dawn Scott kicked off the event, reviewing the importance of using the ball in an effort to help build strength and fitness in soccer. Shortly thereafter, Laura Harvey would move on into a discussion on the future of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), a subject that she has experience in as the newly-appointed coach for the league’s expansion team in Salt Lake City.

Although there was plenty to talk about inside the classroom, coaches and guest speakers moved on to the forte of their work, the field where both Scott and Harvey each lead a hands-on lesson plan with the coaches to finalize the day.

Harvey’s discussion on the importance of coaching development touched on what she feels makes a good coach. Among the characteristics, Harvey felt that commitment to a team and to oneself was something that each coach should possess, pointing out that the simple effort of attending coaching clinics, such as the Cal South & LA84 Foundation Women in Coaching Clinic, was already demonstrating that those coaches in attendance were committed to becoming better coaches.

However, she mentioned the importance of finding one’s own coaching style and philosophy that they can take back and implement with their teams. Copying practice sessions, she said, would not convey as much as having one’s own style.

“Use the things that you think are great from the session, chop the things that you don’t think were great from the session, throw them in the trash, and add your elements to the session that are about you and what you believe in,” Harvey told the group. “When you do that, you come across to your players like you believe in what you’re doing.”

To learn more about similar events in the future, make sure to check out the Cal South Coaching Education website for more information.