Soccer is a sport that transcends race, gender, and age, and finds a way to bring people together. This is why soccer is regarded as “The Beautiful Game”. It brings people from different walks of life together under the same roof.
Soccer doesn’t just stop at fans. Players feel a sense of empowerment. At early youth levels, clubs emphasize to their players that they’re in an inclusive environment. By prioritizing diversity and inclusivity, players become equipped with confidence and skills to excel.
DIVERSITY IS A BLESSING
Today, more than ever, youth camps have incorporated “diversity and inclusivity” in their vision and mission. One of these clubs is the Colorado Rapids, who embrace and support diversity within their club and their community.
Diversity is defined as how people differ from one another. This includes race, gender, age, class, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. These are important to note because looking at someone is not enough to assume that one is the same as another. In fact, diversity is not a characteristic of a person but more of a relational concept. When two diverse people look past each other’s differences, it helps create a more positive environment. This is the groundwork that soccer clubs like Colorado Rapids want to apply in their academy and youth development programs to teach young children about diversity, tolerance, acceptance, and to learn and support each other.
GIVING EVERYONE THE CHANCE
While diversity is a crucial aspect that needs to be applied, inclusivity is the key to a more positive youth development environment.
An inclusive environment is one where everyone is treated fairly and respectfully. An inclusive environment also allows all individuals to feel that they can contribute to the team, and are given equal opportunities to do so. Inclusivity becomes the way to leverage the differences brought about by diverse groups of individuals.
These two concepts have become a priority in creating a more effective team and in developing better players. Teams work well, play better, and excel when there is harmony. These essential traits develop easier at an early age. We all know that players have talent and skills, but confidence with their team members is an even bigger factor in a player’s success. A player cannot succeed if the environment is stressful, unsafe, and not enjoyable. Each player brings their own unique experiences, personality, and talent to the team. Together, unified, diverse, and inclusive, they can exceed in soccer and in life.