LIFE with the Developmental Academy
One of the most exciting spaces for the chaplains and counselors with Soccer Chaplains United is something that has developed over the past couple of years — working with the athletes, coaches, and families with the Developmental Academy (DA).
In the picture above, the “preachers” as Larry the stadium security guard likes to call us, get ready to lead a life skills session for the Colorado Rapids DA. Rev Brad Kenney and Chaplains Rubèn Rodríguez and Gerardo Alvarez pose for a quick pic.
For those unfamiliar with the DA, these are essentially the cream of the crop in soccer. The young athletes in the DA are potential professional soccer players in the making. Professional clubs often pay all of the expenses for these athletes and have them under their tutelage and coaching direction with the express purpose of turning them into professional soccer players one day. At any moment, a professional club could offer a contract to one of the players within the academy system! Imagine, at the age of 12 or 13 feeling that you were only steps away from taking the field and earning a living as a soccer player?
To learn more about US Soccer’s Developmental Academies click here
Needless to say, this all comes with a tremendous amount of pressure — families have to commit to the time, players have to commit to soccer only (no other sports, can’t participate in many school type of activities) as the focus narrows to the sport of soccer alone. And then there are the pressures that come from not just making the team, but earning a starting spot! Many times, the best players from all parts of the state get put into one team – where someone might have been a star player with their club team, now they might be on the outside looking in.
In the midst of this, we’ve been given the tremendous privilege and opportunity to support the athletes and families, and coaches of the DA. And one of the areas that we have been able to provide support is in the Colorado Rapids DA life skills curriculum sessions that the club provides for the athletes every couple of months.
Topics like Prejudice, Privilege and Responsibility, Developing Supportive Relationships are amongst some of the topics that we’ve already spoken on and worked with the academy boys!
Your support of Soccer Chaplains United, allows us to continue to develop and offer life skills training and support — in group environments and in one-to-one family situations. Our chaplains and counselors are constantly developing new topics with engaging content to capture the attention and to work through with these 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18-year olds — topics like bullying, self-care, and others will soon feature at an upcoming life skills session.