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

Watch the Promo

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. Let’s Switch the Pitch.

Switch the Pitch presented by Oakland Roots is a professional development opportunity for youth soccer clubs, coaches and players. Led by soccer and social justice experts Soccer Without Borders, Switch the Pitch will bring together 50 coaches who want to learn how to build stronger, more inclusive environments for their clubs, players and families.

This opportunity includes:

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.

2. 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.

3. Virtual League: Teams earn points and prizes for completing Team Challenges in a ‘virtual league’ showcasing the collective power of youth soccer to address important social justice issues in the Bay Area.

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.

Full participation = 18 hours of training over 3 months plus 16 hours of experiential learning integrated right into your team’s activities.

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:

  • A $200 stipend for each participating coach
  • A Switch the Pitch jacket and select adidas gear
  • A Common Goal “Inclusive Coach” certificate
  • Exclusive access to virtual workshops led by current and former professional soccer players

StP Hub Components

Kick-off In-Person Training

March 2023

This 3 hour training, which can be attended on either Saturday, March 18th or Monday, March 20th, will leave coaches with:

  • An understanding of the need for Switch the Pitch in the US soccer landscape
  • Stronger connectivity to other coaches seeking to make US soccer more inclusive for all youth
  • A basic understanding of essential Inclusive Coaching principles
  • A personalized roadmap for their team’s Switch the Pitch participation

Discussion Cohorts

April-June 2023

Coaches will join a discussion group, meeting every other week for 1 hour.

Discussion topics will center around inclusive coaching and anti-racism, including:

  • Your coaching style and philosophy
  • Incorporating inclusive coaching skills into your practice
  • Having difficult conversations: a self-reflection
  • Understanding individual and interpersonal racism
  • Facilitation and debriefing strategies

Expert Presentations & Workshops

April-June 2023

Presenters and workshop hosts include:

  • The Center for Healing and Justice through Sport
  • John O’Brien, PsyD. Licensed Psychologist and former USMNT and Ajax Amsterdam star
  • Kaiya McCullough, former NWSL player and co-founder of the Anti-Racist Soccer Club
  • Brandon Miller, former USL player, co-founder of the Anti-Racist Soccer Club
  • Nana Attakora, Oakland Roots Assistant Coach, Director of Player Personnel, and former team captain

Virtual League & Leaderboard

April-June 2023

Coaches compete for the top slot on the leaderboard by earning points for completing any of the 36 Team Challenges with their teams across six anti-racist themes:

  • Identity & Perspectives
  • Activism & Leadership
  • Power & Policies
  • Preventing & Responding to Racism
  • Access & Resources
  • Allyship & Collective Action

Team Challenges

April-June 2023

Three types of Team Challenges each include a coaching card with facilitation tips to support implementation:

  • Educate challenges, focused on ‘me’ and individual learning
  • Exchange challenges, focused on ‘we’ and shared learning
  • Activate challenges, focused on ‘us’ and collective action as a team
  • The Switch the Pitch team will host information sessions open to parents and guardians to learn more about the program and ask questions

Celebration

May 2023

The most engaged teams will be invited to a Switch the Pitch Festival at the Oakland Roots home game on Saturday, May 27th. Teams will receive tickets to the game, special access to the stadium, and will be featured at halftime.

 

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