Scott McDoniel | St. Louis Scott Gallagher Girls Director of Coaching | March 10, 2021

Last year, during a club-wide coaches’ meeting we were holding at St. Louis Scott Gallagher, I looked out at the coaches assembled and was struck at how few women were in the audience.  The small number of female coaches in our club reflected a similar reality across club soccer – and I asked myself what we could do to change that picture.

At that moment, I decided that it was time for a change and to offer our athletes the opportunity to be coached more frequently by people they could see as more similar role models. As coaches, we are all educators, who may participate in a young person’s life for just one year or many more. We share a strong bond over a shared passion that connects us for however long our time may be and even after. I knew I had to create something to give our female athletes much more relatable role models.

From that meeting to now, I am proud to have started to add to the faces in our coaching ranks, thanks to the launching of the SLSG Leadership Initiative. This program has moved into its second year and expanded to include leadership both on and off the field and became an asset for athletes while playing as well. We have added coaching clinics as well to give players a path and a place to practice leadership skills in an area of passion where so many are already experts of sorts.

Today, I am struck by our Zoom sessions, where we will have more than 200 athletes log on and engage with guests and even suggest topics and present questions they’d like addressed.

When we started this effort, less than 10 percent of our female athletes had female coaches as role models. I’m thrilled to say we are now more than 40 percent. As we head into Women’s History Month and hopefully continue to recover from the impacts of COVID and 2020 as a whole, I am excited to train more athletes in leadership and engage in learning about a path in soccer beyond the playing field.