July 21, 2020
This week we're highlighting Potomac Soccer Association, a long-time affiliate with great historical success. We caught up with Potomac’s Executive Director, Laurie Lane, and discussed what it means to be a part of the Potomac Soccer family.
What makes your club unique?
Potomac has a culture of collaboration, especially within our coaching staff. We work hard to ensure that all our staff commits to communication, transparency, and accepting diversity. We have adopted a holistic approach to our club culture, and soccer is a key part of our players’ development as human beings.
Why should players play for Potomac?
Potomac is committed to developing characters by supporting our players with their school and mental preparedness to be an athlete. We also incorporate nutrition into our curriculum as we care about the overall developmental aspects of a child athlete.
We have incorporated strength, maintenance, and injury prevention into our training. We have given players elastic training bands that are used to help correct weak glutes, essential in preventing ACL injuries.
Interesting bits of history?
Our Potomac Memorial Tournament is in its 41st year of operation, however, because of the virus we canceled it. A local Potomac resident founded the tournament with only a handful of teams. It has grown to become one of the top boys showcase tournaments in the nation, with over 400 teams competing.
Over the spring at the peak of the pandemic, we did a fundraiser with Manna Food Center where we raised $3500.
We’ve had several coaches that grew up playing for us, come back to coach, which is a testament to the “family” aspect of our club. Amanda Kuhn, one of our board members, grew up playing for the club.
We’ve had Freddy Adu, Oguchi Onyewu, and Kyle Beckerman play for us at one point or another.
How have you supported your players and families during the pandemic?
We could fully support the coaching staff; we didn’t furlough any coaches. We switched to an online training protocol where the coaches could connect with their team multiple times a week. They conducted ball mastery and some social sessions.
As the time wore on, the kids were missing out on the social connection that the game provides, so we hosted trivia nights, funny hat parties, video analysis, and virtual training to keep them engaged.
We also did a mini-series with long-time coach Ryan Defibaugh, who is a licensed counselor. He did a series of videos that addressed the therapy and mental aspects of dealing with a pandemic and gave guidance for parents to help their children get through this time.
What opportunities do you provide for the development of your coaches and players?
We invest in coaching education for our coaches; our technical staff runs coaching education internally. We conduct seminars before the start of every season. Our Technical Director developed a full coaching education curriculum broken up into 6-week segments. We also offer all of our coaches’ free membership to United Soccer Coaches.
What does the future look like for Potomac?
We want to focus on the youngest players and develop the game for the younger programs specifically U8. We increased the number of U8 players in our program to 80 in March. We focus on developing the players’ love for the game.
We try to tailor our leagues and experience to each of the teams. We want to ensure that we meet our players’ needs and expectations by not using a one size fit all approach. We want a customized experience, so teams can either try to compete at the highest level or just play for a sense of community.
Overall, we offer families a diverse soccer experience. It isn’t always just about soccer; we value friendship, leadership, character building, physical ability, and training.