WHAT DOES WOMEN'S SOCCER HAVE TO DO WITH BUILDING GOOD CHARACTER?
When you stare at the cost of Private Christian Education and then shift your gaze upon the value instead, you lose sight of the “it’s too expensive” conversation and what gets put into focus instead is, “we can’t afford not to invest in this.” Sometimes it is easy to be distracted by the ease of public or charter school education and often times the value of Private Christian Education is lost in translation, not clear and not expressed or shared about. I am a new mom to ICS and eventually became employed by the school as well and if I’m honest, I knew I wanted a Private Christian school for my children, but I wasn’t clear about how far I was willing to go financially or otherwise to keep them there.
I was privileged to witness the training session of our 2nd in State Women’s Soccer team a week ago, and I initially went to just get the lo down on the success of the program and didn’t expect to be convinced further into the mindset of, “we can’t afford not to invest in this.” Now, you must know, initially this blog post was going to report what made the ICS Women’s Soccer Team so successful: what drills they ran, how many sprints they ran, what their line-up offered, and a synopsis of the coaching philosophy. But as I stood there watching the training, listening in on the conversations being had, and even jumping in on a few of the drills, the story of success had little to do with the talent on the pitch (although there was plenty of that)! The story of success had to do almost entirely with the team’s “why.”
The program has three coaches: Trent Hawes, Matt Brown, and Robert Buckley and as I interviewed two of the three coaches, Matt Brown and Robert Buckley, I learned (as I furiously jotted notes down) about the vision they have for the team and I was left thinking, “man alive, I wish my former soccer coaches had vision like these guys!” But the fact is, they didn’t. Well, they did, but the vision had little to do with me as a whole and only to do with my position as the center midfielder on the field. I played soccer year round from age 5 through College in Oregon, and I can tell you for certain that my days playing were full of wins and losses, injuries and surgeries, but I never had coaches like Trent Hawes, Matt Brown, or Robert Buckley, speak truth and life and character-building ideals like these:
Why: We exist to build women of good character. The definition of good is Jesus.
What: We win soccer games. We train to win. We expect to win games.
The “Why” always precedes the “What.” That is it. That is the secret to the Intermountain Christian School Women’s Soccer Program. The coaching staff cares about the what, but “without the why, what is the point?” This is what the coaching staff and players alike hold tight to:
Below are the TOP 4 life and character-building ideals I believe set the program apart from most (if not all) others:
Be on time: If you don’t train, you don’t game. It’s a matter of honor and respect to care enough about the other (fellow players and coaches) to value their time.
The team once started 9 players for a game to hold true to the standard as 9 players were the only players who were on time.
2. Personal responsibility.
Independence: training and games (equipment, drills, set up, clean up)
Leadership: captains lead (with referees and teammates)
Respect: no yelling at refs or other fans
High expectations: on the field, in the classroom, and with relationships
“Are you keeping the bar high?”
2019 is 9th year in a row that either the valedictorian or salutatorian are also soccer players.
3. Feedback is a gift.
Speaking up and having hard conversations
Speaking what is true in a trusted environment
Raises the bar of excellence
Performance is expected to be high in training
4. Investing in relationships.
Coaches: straight shooters
Friendships: clarity in relationships, non-toxic
As we stood there after all the women had left training, the two coaches went on to say, “Every one stops playing ball. And what is left? Honor and character. And that is why we build women of good character. People cannot win in life without good character and soccer is a vehicle to achieve the vision articulated in our “why.” What they do is win soccer games, but the why is where the bigger vision for life lies.
I wasn’t clear about how far I was willing to go financially or otherwise to keep my children at Intermountain Christian School, but now I am. The value far out-weighs the cost, and I am committed and honored to have the choice to partner with the Intermountain Christian School community in whom places the highest value on my children and building their character!
Congratulations to our second in state Intermountain Christian School Women’s Soccer team!!
Written by Rachel Larson, ICS Mom