Bay Area Switch the Pitch

presented by Oakland Roots

“Building safe soccer spaces begins with the grassroots. It’s essential that we start education early, and that means training our youth soccer coaches with the skills they need. We’re proud to join Common Goal in leading the way in the fight against racism and discrimination in soccer in the United States.

– Mike Geddes, Chief Purpose Officer

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STP x Oakland Roots SC: Making Soccer a Safe Space for All

Every child deserves the right to play and feel welcome in the game. Youth soccer coaches need the skills and confidence to create safe spaces for diverse groups. In 2023, Oakland Roots SC partnered with Switch the Pitch (STP) to bring inclusive coach training to the Bay Area—in effort to advance the cause of racial justice on and off the pitch. 

STP is a professional development opportunity for youth soccer clubs, coaches and players. Led by Soccer Without Borders experts, STP brings together coaches in the Bay Area who want to learn how to build stronger, more inclusive environments for their clubs, players and families.

Last year in Oakland,  we led 30 coaches through our Switch the Pitch training program. The post-program survey found that 100% of coaches said their awareness of racial justice increased through participating in STP, 93% of coaches said they are more equipped to facilitate difficult conversations, and 93% of coaches said STP helped establish more trust between them and players.

This August 2024, in partnership with Oakland Roots SC and Soul SC, Switch the Pitch is headed back to the Bay Area to host an in-person inclusive coaching training series. Check out the details below—

  1. Inclusive Coaching Training Series: Through a combination of in-person learning and virtual workshops, coaches are equipped with the tools, skills and information needed to build an inclusive team culture and facilitate team conversations about social justice issues. Coaches will also gain facilitation and debriefing skills that will support them to implement Switch the Pitch Team Challenges, while exploring their own understanding of racial justice and inclusion. This package includes 12 total hours—two four hour in-person training sessions, and 4 hours of virtual sessions (one-on-one meetings, guest speaker series, and access to PCA courses).
  1. Team Challenges: At the heart of Switch the Pitch are 36 “Team Challenges” across themes of Inclusive Coaching, designed for coaches to implement with their players on the field, sparking discussion and building positive, inclusive team culture. Through Team Challenges, coaches will put training concepts into practice on the field, with the opportunity to debrief and share their experience with Soccer Without Borders experts for ongoing support.
  2. Guest Speaker Panel Series: As a part of the virtual training, Switch the Pitch hosts a panel series. Join us as we delve into the intersection of racial justice and soccer, featuring thought-provoking discussions with a diverse array of experts. From seasoned coaches to accomplished players and dedicated organizational staff, our panels promise insightful conversations on pressing issues within the sport and society at large.
  3. One-On-One Tailored Support: We acknowledge that the pursuit of racial justice is an ongoing journey and are offering individualized support sessions. These meetings are tailored to discuss the progress and challenges faced by both you and your organization in this lifelong commitment to fostering equity and inclusion on and off the pitch. 

Interested in signing yourself and your organization up for Switch the Pitch? Email today. 

Why Take Part?

Switch the Pitch will help you build and maintain a safe inclusive environment for youth clubs through integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) professional development into soccer coaching in a unique, active and fun way. And it is completely FREE to Oakland Roots club partners.

In return, you’ll gain:

  • A better understanding of the intersection of social justice and soccer
  • A new set of transferable skills to help you confidently identify and navigate issues around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Access to a community of coaches, current and former professional professional players, and club partners all working to make the game more inclusive

Plus, you’ll get:

  • Switch the Pitch merch 
  • A Common Goal “Inclusive Coach” certificate
  • Exclusive access to virtual workshops led by professionals in the industry

What They're Saying:

“I started using the Switch the Pitch curriculum with my team in the fall of 2021, and, in just a few months, noticed a change in how my players interacted with each other, dealt with adversity, and expressed their feelings. What was most exciting to me though was watching my players’ curiosity grow. They wanted to know more about the world around them
and their place in it.”

-Matt Fondy, Oakland Genesis Co-Founder