The Disabilities Allies Coaches Advocacy Group distributes a newsletter to keep its members up to date on news, deadlines and other association happenings. The newsletter also serves to let members know what the group is working on, highlighting group members and information on how you can get involved. Below is a letter from group chair Kate Ward. To read the full newsletter, click here.

To our Coaching Community,

We are clearly in one of the most challenging periods of our lifetimes, and the future in the face of COVID-19 remains uncertain. We hope that this newsletter finds you, your family, your friends, and your soccer community healthy and safe (and sane) during this social distancing period.

Before we begin discussing the implications of this ‘new normal’ and social distancing in our coaching world, I wanted to briefly touch on this on a personal and social level. I had a conversation recently with one of my mentors, Amy Griffin, and she’s convinced that this “social distancing” period may not be aptly named. Perhaps, in her opinion, the more appropriate term should be “physical distancing.” Now, more than ever, is the time for us to reach out to our loved ones and our community, and to check in on them and connect with them.

It’s weird to think that many of us are now more socially connected than we have been in a long time. As tired as I am of Zoom and Microsoft Team meetings, I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to have virtual ‘happy hours’ and catch up sessions with friends and family who I haven’t talked to or seen in months. I love walking my dog down the street and having conversations from the street with my neighbors who are sitting outside on their porches or lawns (physical distancing still in mind!). I relish the fact that I am fully tuned in during virtual meetings with co-workers and our players, maybe even more so than in person (when it seems like my phone is always buzzing), because I cherish those few minutes of the day that I get to spend with them. Maybe the silver lining in all of this is remembering the importance of your relationships and the joys they bring.

However, I also understand how scary this time is for all of us. The financial uncertainty in the light of COVID-19 weighs heavily on many of us, which is why United Soccer Coaches has been offering many resources and advice on this. Please see the next section of our newsletter and check out our “Resources Page.” Hopefully, it will be of help.

I also realize that many in our Community are now wondering how to connect with our players and keep them active without seeing them in person. We also highlighted some ideas in this newsletter for activities to do with limited equipment and space.

So, as you peruse this newsletter, I hope it brings comfort in the realization that we are all in this together. I hope it encourages you to reach out to your players, colleagues, and loved ones and offer support when needed. Understand that our job as coaches is to be a role model and voice of reason not just to our players, but also to their families and those we work with.

Wishing health and safety to each of you!

Kate Ward