DC SCORES Kicks Off Fall Season With Coach Training and Networking

4-bc2912.png Kickoff was an opportunity for coaches to prepare from the fall season and learn from one another. Photo: Brandon Ellis

On September 9, 2023, DC SCORES marked the beginning of the programming year with a time-honored tradition: Coach Kickoff!

At the beginning of every DC SCORES season, the nonprofit invites its coaches from across the District to an all-day event where they receive the training, equipment, and information they need to successfully deliver DC SCORES’ soccer, poetry, and service-learning programs.

DC SCORES is sustained by dedicated paid soccer and writing coaches, the vast majority of whom work in the schools where they coach. These vital staff members lead DC SCORES programs at over 60 schools in the District and serve as critical mentors and champions of youth in the city.

2-ea7c0c.png DC SCORES staff members gave briefings on the curriculum and calendar for fall. Photo: Brandon Ellis.

“I’m most excited about getting to know the new scholars at Moten Elementary School,” said Coach Marvin “MJ” Newsome about his preparation for the start of the season. The soccer coach transferred to the school from Ketcham Elementary School and is looking forward to putting his personal stamp on the program at Moten. “Bringing my flavor of SCORES to that school, I’m so excited about it!” he shared.

Kickoff, which was held at John Lewis Elementary School, began with a welcome from Katrina Owens, Executive Director of DC SCORES. Owens also introduced DC SCORES’ new Chief Program Officer Tierra Stewart, who led the more than 100 coaches in a rock, paper, scissors ice-breaker that got the entire room on their feet.

After briefings on site management and the DC SCORES administrative calendar, coaches split off into breakout sessions and brainstormed poetry workshops, soccer strategies, and how to make the most of the upcoming season.

3-81727a.png Soccer coaches also had an opportunity to get out onto the field to simulate drills they’ll apply to their sessions this fall. Photo: Brandon Ellis

This year, Kickoff also included a special session for veteran coaches who have worked with DC SCORES for more than three years, which included an opportunity for longstanding coaches to share their feedback on how to continue to improve the program.

For Justin Morgan, a veteran soccer coach at Cardozo Middle School, every season brings its unique set of challenges and opportunities. “Every year, you get a new batch of kids, you get to work on their confidence, work on expressing themselves through soccer and poetry,” he said. “That’s what we’ll be doing and I’m excited to get started.”

All of this preparation ensures that DC SCORES poet-athletes access growth opportunities in the program and the tools to empower themselves. And Kickoff also creates a space where coaches and other DC SCORES staff can share their best practices and learn from one another.

“I really felt the energy in the room at Coach Kickoff — it was an amazing introduction into DC SCORES for me as the New Chief Program Officer,” said Stewart. She added, “I am so excited to be in community with such dynamic humans, our coaches, and excited to work alongside them in and see the impact on poet-athletes’ lives.”

1-d0736f.png Kickoff was a great way for coaches to network and socialize with one another. Photo: Brandon Ellis

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