US Soccer Foundation and North Texas ODP Combine for Successful Passback Tour Event

The following information was written mostly by Mr. Sam Snow in his weekly blog, for US Youth Soccer. With his permission, we wanted to give a special thanks to the following ODP players and staff and others who participated in this PASSBACK event on Aug. 27. The leader for the youth players was Allie Dickson 94s assisted by Julia Lenhardt, Miguel Conhrevra, Eric Secor, Alfredo Kaegi, Adam Witte, Sam Neichnl. Courtney Bruce, Ryan MacDonald, Robert Suarez and we cant forget Mrs. Bess Dickson running admin for us, or my daughter Kiara and friend Cameron who just came out to help. Im sure there were others, so last but not least, we want to thank the Director of Coaching for North Texas, Mr. Gary Williamson, and Ms. Shawn Morgan Lemons, ODP Administrator.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation's Passback Tour, brought to you by Nestle Pure Life, features a series of free soccer clinics for youth in underserved communities.

The Passback Tour provides:

  • Soccer clinics that emphasize the importance of healthy lifestyles
  • Interactive health-hydration booths for families of youth participating in the soccer clinic
  • Connections for families with local soccer programs that will help children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Through the Foundation's Passback Program, new and gently used soccer gear is collected by organizations, teams, clubs and individuals, then redistributed across the globe to help underserved communities play the Beautiful Game. Soccer is a unifying force that brings together people of all ethnicities and has the power to open doors, hearts, and minds of those who play.

Myself and Dr. John Thomas spearheaded the event, along with the help of David Edwards, Health Educator for the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute (An Affiliate of Baylor Health Care System) and Brian Gonzales, Founder & President of Good Football [], a Sport & Development Group, The clinic was held at the facilities of the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute. Many thanks go to their staff for making the facility available for free, as well as having several of their staff members assist with registration and service to the attendees.

The boys and girls who attended the clinic ranged in age from 5-12 years old. Some had played the game before and some were new to soccer. We laid out 10 grids and then split up the kids by ages with appropriate age groups in each grid. The clinic was conducted in two, one-hour sessions. At the first session, while it was still below 100 degrees, we had 125 kids attend. At the second session, as the temperature rose to 100-plus degrees (that it has been in Dallas all summer long), we had 80 kids out playing the game. Helping Dr. Thomas and myself with the coaching was Tom, a North Texas State Staff Coach and quite a few North Texas State Soccer ODP players.

The ODP players were paired up and each pair was given a grid to run training activities and small-sided games with the kids. It was fun watching the ODP players, who are quite accustomed to being on the other side of the ball as players, in a training session now taking on the coaching role. After they got their balance in their new role, several of them did quite well. I can tell you that there are a few future coaches among them.

Mr. Sam Snow and I ran the ODP players through how to conduct the training activities before the kids arrived. A few of the ODP players worked both sessions and thus committed themselves to a three-hour stint at coaching youngsters in 90-plus-degree heat. In fact, it was hot enough during the day that 10 balls popped. I can honestly say that I had not seen that happen before soccer ball spontaneous combustion!

Thanks go out to Charles Dickson for the photos of the North Texas State Soccer ODP players coaching the kids during the two sessions. Impressively, there were over 900 pictures taken of the players and staff. North Texas also provide dsome volunteer senior staff to assist with the program.

If you ever have the chance to be involved in a Passback clinic or any Soccer across America event, I urge you to do so!

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