WARDING OFF SOCCER COACH ABUSE

Love affairs between a mentor and a student have always been a fertile source of contentious issues and scandals that any responsible parent should be wary of. Such forbidden relationships can develop not only in classroom situations. Interaction in school sports activities is just as full of opportunities for illicit romance between coach and student.

And maybe even more so, since engaging in soccer coaching, for instance, makes physical contact a norm between a male coach and a female student player. The coach will certainly find himself often up close and personal with his female wards in some figure-hugging soccer jerseys. A coach with a truly malicious intent can even ask his female players to change their team uniforms in front of him, at one pretext or another.

This was exactly the case brought up against the coach of Atlanta Fire United Soccer Club, Patrick Ahern. The 27-year-old coach was accused of statutory rape or engaging in sex with a minor–one of his female student players, a sixteen-year-old. However, he evaded conviction from the charge on technicality. In Georgia, where the incident happened, sixteen is the age is consent. Ahern was instead charged later with felony robbery in connection with the incident which allegedly happened in the girl’s bedroom.

One immediate take here is that parents must be vigilant about the team goings-on of their daughters involved in one sport or another. The incident about coach Ahern asking his female players to change soccer uniforms in front of him should have already rang alarm bells. At the very least, such practice should have been immediately called to the attention of the Atlanta Fire United soccer team management.

Kids in general also have to be taught how to recognize child predatory behavior, not only of coaches but other menacing adults. Besides the subtle soccer jersey changing which Ahern was fond of asking his girl players, there are many other indications by which to recognize that some form of child abuse may be brewing. Some predatory approaches may even be innocent, such as lavishing gifts and attention to a target girl player.

Hence, child safety experts suggest that a parent will have to be on the lookout if a coach is paying too much attention on their kids. Offers of special outings or private training sessions to a child player must be scrutinized and double-checked. Frequent communication such as SMS or texting or interaction via Facebook or other online social media network from a coach may also signal an impending threat of coach abuse.

 

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Crew’s Taking Financial Strides to Match the Rest of MLS

A brimming 23,881 were in attendance at the Crew Stadium and helped cheer the U.S. team towards a 1-0 win over Jamaica in a World Cup qualifying game. The Crew owner Clark Hunt, whose dad helped create MLS and founded the team, says that this is a dream come true.

While attendance, revenue and TV ratings are up, the Crew is yet to catch up with other soccer teams, financially. Some steps to bridge this gap are selling of soccer jersey naming rights to Barbasol, increase season-ticket sales count, increase revenue via corporate sponsorship and finding prospective companies to empty millions from their pocket for the naming rights to the Crew Stadium.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber says, “Following the World Cup success, the US has embraced soccer. We intend to capture people’s hearts & minds as they put their weight behind their local teams”. Home attendance at Crew has been slowly but steadily on the rise & this is encouraging. Season tickets showed an upswing of about 30%. The Crew’s zoomed in on the millennial generation, the youngsters who’ve grown on a steady diet of soccer on television. The 60% rise in corporate sponsorship this year is also encouraging, although the numbers still are below the league average.

Roping in a corporation to pay for stadium naming rights has been a tough nut to crack in spite of the fact that plans are in place to erect a $2m 100-foot tall sign board with two bright LED displays outside the stadium that would feature the name of the sponsor. McCullers hopes that the team can pocket $15m over a 10 year period for the stadium naming rights. Soccer jerseys’ rights surely want a piece of cake.

An economic-impact study highlighted that the Crew has elicited $383m in direct spending since 1996 and directly supported 490 jobs in 2011. Coleman highlights, “We opine there’s vested interest for local companies to support the Crew. A thriving city would ensure that businesses thrive too”.

The team’s vision is for a 12 to 20-field facility on 60 to 120 acres that would cost $20 million to $30 million and host local youth soccer teams as well as regional and national tournaments. Plans are in place for a public-private partnership to setup a 12-20 field facility on 60-120 acres that would cost anywhere between $20m to $30m.

Need for Speed in Soccer

Soccer is all about strength, strategy, and speed. It’s common knowledge that it’s not a game designed for everyone. Also, not everyone who sports a soccer jersey will instantly become an asset to a team. The success of soccer team is a reflection of how effective the soccer coaching strategy is. Actually much has been said about this already but it’s true. The way a soccer coach handles his team can make or break a match.

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