We all know that soccer is the world’s #1 sport. In Calgary, Alberta, where I live, soccer registrations are up 11% this year! This is amazing growth and reflects the increasing popularity of the sport and the success of our Canadian teams internationally.
As many of you know, my book attempts to deliver socio-political and economic informative advice, all in the form of a fast-paced thriller. My theory is that few people read deep, heavy treatises on these subjects, but the potential for an interesting, hopefully, best-selling novel to reach thousands of people is very real.
For me, the best use of my spare time is captured by a single word: leverage. But how is this related to soccer?
Coaching Youth Soccer
I have been coaching my kids in soccer for years. Many parents have come to me over the years to thank me for coaching their kids, but many have also thanked me for broader, more meaningful contributions to the development of their children.
One such note said, “Your continued commitment to soccer youth and your passion for the game of soccer inspires our boys to stand tall and to contribute to their communities. Thank you for sharing your amazing vision and leadership!”
My team does its own fundraising. Yes, we hold bottle drives and raise money for custom jerseys, and to cover the expenses of players who can’t necessarily afford to pay to play. We teach kids the value of hard work, teamwork, camaraderie, and sportsmanship. My team works for each other, on and off the field. We encourage kids to develop their leadership skills.
We try to help players grow into responsible adults and to develop confidence and poise that will serve them well as adults in later life.
Volunteer + Leadership = Commitment
It always seems that in whatever I do, I deepen my volunteer commitment at every step, such that today I am the volunteer president of West Hills United, a medium-sized soccer club in Calgary. I believe that as a coach, I can directly have a very positive impact on kids’ lives. But if I can impart a similar philosophy across our club’s 77 teams, many, many more coaches will positively impact the lives of literally hundreds of children.
For me, this is a good use of my time. This is leverage.
I used to give hundreds of volunteer hours each year volunteering for the Canadian Cancer Society. At the inaugural Relay For Life in Calgary, I was asked by a friend to drive a golf cart around at the overnight event, carting cancer survivors to and fro, and helping with logistics.
At that time, “Relay” was the single biggest fundraiser for the CCS. We raised $142,000 in Calgary that year–a great result.
The next year I ran the logistics committee for the event, and we doubled our fundraising total! In the subsequent and following years, I ran the entire event, and we grew it to be Canada’s top Relay For Life event, raising $872,000 one year! Different Relay events from across the country came to Calgary’s event to see how we had accomplished what we did, and to take home to apply what they learned.
I understand that our fundraising methods and insights were shared across the United States as well. With over 300 Relays in Canada and over 3,000 in the U.S., Calgary’s Relay For Life success was replicated exponentially. That’s leverage!
So, running a soccer club allows me to leverage what I try to do for my own team across an entire club. I am supported in this mission by a dynamic and diverse Board of Directors who lead our club.
Soccer is an amazing sport, passionately enjoyed by billions worldwide, and it can be used as an incredible opportunity to teach our youth much more than how to dribble, trap and shoot a ball. Although I am crazy busy in many facets of life, this feels like an appropriate use of my time.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Let’s connect on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram; or my newsletter here.
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