Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Planting a Seed: How I Turned my Passion Into a Way to Give Back

Name: Isabel Germain Fangman
From: Marshville, North Carolina
Grade: Junior
School: Fangman School (Homeschool)
Votes: 10

My dad started coaching soccer
around 1997. He coached a team of eight year olds, called the
Wildcats, and continued to coach them until they were in middle
school. “Baby me” was able to come to their games with my
mom. In fact, my earliest memories took place at the soccer field.

When I asked him why he
started coaching, he said, “I thought I had something to give.”
I realized that I was given the privilege of being able to play
soccer; I lived and breathed it. Soccer has always been something I
am passionate about. Why not share this blessing with someone else?

I helped him out with my
sister’s teams between eighth grade and freshman year of high school.
Each had a three month long season with two practices and at least
one game on the weekends, and I coached two seasons over those two
years. Eventually, during the fall of my sophomore year, I was given
a team of rambunctious five year olds to coach with a teammate. My
first practice with them was challenging. These kids were neither as
coordinated nor as skilled as the seven and eight year olds I was
used to working with. However, this taught me patience and creative
thinking. With kids, you have to be capable of thinking on your feet;
keeping them engaged is a necessary challenge. I learned to speak
their language. Simon Says worked wonders, and
“Red-Light-Green-Light” was a favorite. In fact, they
wouldn’t listen to the referee’s whistle during a game and stop
playing, but they did when we said, “red light!”

Moving up to coach kids who
were a little more skilled and way older was a great experience. I
coached at a 3v3 summer program during the summer of my sophomore
year. It was about a month long, and I helped out two or three times
a week. During that summer, I learned that I should never show up
without a practice plan, because I wanted them to learn, and give
them all I had as a coach. I also learned how to motivate and engage
them. I would always tell them I believed they could master a new
skill, because I wanted them to believe in themselves.

The most satisfying moments in
coaching is what my dad calls, “planting the seed.” I loved
when I saw the seed of confidence, skill, or leadership I planted
grow. Seeing the girls come back, playing a great game of soccer
after a bad half after I had motivated them, was probably my most
satisfying moment. However, I always say this: when you look back,
you remember your bad coaches, but also your good ones. I want to at
least be someone who took the time to invest in a kid, because it
says to them, “Hey, I think you’re important.” Some kids
don’t have that, and I hope I can change the world so they do.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".