Academy Affiliate Director’s Summit Recap

On August 7th, Academy Affiliate directors, administrators and key club personnel attended Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer’s annual Directors Summit hosted in the Ivy Investments Lounge at Children’s Mercy Park. The event followed proper health and safety guidelines for those that were able to attend in-person as well as accommodating those to attend the Summit virtually. This year, the Directors Summit was made up of presentations, workshops, and meetings on a wide variety of topics from key personnel within the Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer organization. The overall objective for everyone involved is to share best practices and to be empowered in taking them back to their environments in order to help strengthen as well as grow the Sporting affiliation, brand and club in every market. See a recap of each topic below.

Early Childhood & Recreational Programming
Presented by Tyler McManus (Assistant Director of Coaching, Academy Affiliates) & Dan Popik (Vice President of Youth Business Development)

The Summit began with two presentations that gave an overview of Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer’s internal operations of early childhood and recreational programming. Attendees were able to learn best practices in how to possibly create new opportunities and improve current programming for children 2-8 years old, which included a behind-the-scenes look at the history and evolution of Sporting Stripes 2-5y as well as the inception of Sporting Rec League.

Creating a Club / Academy Affiliate Identity
Presented by Nathan Hunt (Director of Coaching, Academy Affiliates)

Attendees were given an opportunity to reflect on their club’s identity, player development philosophy, and style of play. Given the challenges of a wide age-range and abilities of players as well as diverse coaching staffs with different experiences and credentials within each club, having common on-field objectives that clubs can work towards within their training and game environments are of great value to player development. This area of discussion gave Club leaders ideas of how to establish their identity through analyzation of surroundings, club history, competition within their markets, quality of players as well as resources and educational opportunities made available by having affiliation with Sporting Kansas City.

Soccer Project Details, Q&A
Presented by Megan Dodd (Director, Retail) & Thomas Earle (Buyer, Retail)

In key partnership with adidas, Sporting Kansas City associates both of whom work with Sporting Style and the Soccer Project, shared the latest campaign efforts of “Football Creative Direction 2021.” The approach outlined the on-field/off-field strategies of forming a club narrative rooted in community, diversity, and social justice on local and global scales. The mission is to create environments that promote culture and acceptance through sport and branding.

Sports Engine
Presented by Jessie Doig (Enterprise Business Executive) & Randy Wise (Account Manager, Affiliate Accounts)

Representatives from Sports Engine, Sporting Kansas City’s partner in sports recreational software services that are also widely used by many Academy Affiliates for various aspects of their Club’s administration, gave a brief presentation on new updates and important areas of interest regarding the technology. Our attendees were able to learn more about new video web page features, all-in-one mobile app functionalities, and how to utilize the software in setting up various leagues, tournaments, and programs that Clubs offer to players and their families.

Using Our Style of Play to Create Long Term Development Principles in 7v7 and 9v9 Game Formats
Presented by Nathan Hunt (Director of Coaching, Academy Affiliates)

Bridging from previously discussed topics, this presentation went back to an on-field focus narrowing in on developmental considerations of players (mainly 7-12 years-old) from an educational psychological approach. When considering different areas of cognitive development, such as physical, psycho-social, and emotional, club leaders learned how coaches can identify the appropriate developmental needs of their players. Attendees were also able to work through different exercises that sampled philosophy and style of play in order to relate information back to their own environments.

Using Social Media, Website and Communications to Tell/Sell Your Club Story
Presented by Courtney Claassen (Marketing Coordinator, Youth Soccer)

To close out a day of learning, Club leaders were given In-depth breakdown of best marketing practices. Material included the variances in social media platforms, benefits of strategic paid social media, website and email communication analytics. Attendees were given a walk-thru of how Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer strategizes to create a marketing plan timeline and proper frequency for each method. Key takeaways included auditing digital platforms, creating a calendar of critical dates, and proper procedures for executing a marketing plan.

Initial Committee Meetings

For the first time, Club leaders from different affiliates came together to form committees, each with a different objective, such as club management, player pathways, and coach education. Each committee aims to share their club’s perspective and situation when it comes to exploring innovative ideas that help work towards improving their committee’s objective. These meetings will occur several times throughout the year and are driven entirely by the leaders in each group with Sporting Kansas City Youth Soccer consulting and advising the direction of each committee.


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