Why passing up great opportunities can lead to even greater ones…

IMG_5329Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with  Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team).  She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well as being the Varsity Girls Assistant and a Head Soccer Coach at Ridgeview High School.  Claudia is passionate about training other girls to become better athletes on and off the field, like so many coaches did for her.

First off let’s look at some of the elite female coaches in athletics [sports] today. Jill Ellis, is currently the head coach for the USA Womens National Team for soccer, Jen Welter is the first female NFL coach, and Nancy Lieberman is the assistant head coach to the NBA Sacramento Kings. This is just to name a few female coaches who have risen to the top of athletics as professional team coaches. [No way did] they just hop right in and get these positions, they worked literally from the bottom, and climbed all the way to the top.

What they have accomplished shows that for the next generation of female coaches that literally anything is possible as long as you are willing to work at it. So why does passing up great opportunities lead to better ones?

Well, think of it this way; a female coach has the option to take a coaching position as an assistant or head coach for a girl’s high school team, but she also has the option to stay where she is and keep learning and working with her team to become a better leader, player, and coach. By staying where she is she has the chance to grow and eventually be able to take the next step in her career, whether that is a college or professional team. I am not saying that a high school team is not worth it, high school players are the next generation and we want to build them up and be there for them, but if by staying where you are can help you in the direction of your ultimate goal and to open more doors for female coaches, then by all means take it.

From my experiences I have had several opportunities to coach for club teams, junior high teams, and high school teams, but as much as I would love to realise my ultimate goal, I know that I still have so much to learn. I as a college soccer player want to learn as much as I can from my coaches about soccer, strategy, positions, but also about leading others and being a good teammate. I believe all of these will help me to be the best coach I can in the future. I want to be there 100% for my college team now and once I have graduated I think then is when I will be better prepared to be a coach at the level I want to pursue.

So maybe it is not giving up an opportunity so much as preparing yourself to be the best you can for the future. As female coaches or aspiring coaches we need that, we need to be taught how to be the best leaders we can, how to teach our teams, how to communicate, and the more we are prepared to do those things the better coaches we will be. Also from our preparation I solidly believe that more doors will be opened for the wave of female coaches coming. Hard work speaks more than anything. So as we might pass over certain coaching opportunities and seek to learn more to become better coaches and players it is important to remember that we are doing this as women that have been there where we maybe weren’t allowed to play with the boys or weren’t taken serious. Now we have the chance to prepare for greatness no matter how that may look like for each of us.