March 2022 Newsletter
Dear WMUSA Family,
Happy New Year! We hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
Here at HillTop, heading into 2022, we’re all very excited and optimistic about our future. Although the winter months are less busy for our players, we’ve been putting a lot of work into planning for the 2022-23 season.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in our Feedback Fridays, Travel/Premier Town Hall, General Meetings, and other feedback channels. Your input is essential to our planning process, as we continue to focus on improving the experience you and your child(ren) have in each of our various programs.
In our second quarterly newsletter, you’ll find
the most up-to-date information on our Land Development Plan,
an interview with Stef May, our first female Director of Coaching, and
upcoming dates to put on your calendar.
Before diving into those topics, here are a couple updates:
Fundraising, Partnerships & Sponsorships
At WMUSA, we’re all passionate about removing barriers to participation for young players and offering more for less. To make our programs more affordable, we’ve increased our focus on fundraising, partnerships, and sponsorships.
To assist us in our efforts to raise money, we’re forming a fundraising committee. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Asim Mujahid. If you have any feedback on our current partners or any recommendations on future partnerships we should pursue, please let me know. Lastly, if you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities or know someone who might be, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Soccer Coaches Convention
Recently, Jesse Martinez (U7-U9 Director of Coaching), Stef May (U10-U14 Girls Director of Coaching), and I traveled to Kansas City for the United Soccer Coaches Convention, dubbed as the largest gathering of soccer professionals in the world. We took part in lectures, on-field sessions, and networking opportunities that inspired and educated us on ways to continue improving WMUSA. We’ve been excited to share what we learned with our Board of Directors, Staff, and Members.
Looking ahead at next year, the Convention will be here in Philadelphia. We’re already in discussions with United Soccer Coaches and planning on ways everyone can take advantage of the opportunity.
Thanks for taking the time to check out our Quarterly Newsletter, and thanks for your ongoing involvement in the WMUSA Family!
West-Mont United S.A. has had the absolute pleasure of bringing on a new Director of Coaching to the club this season. The experience for all players and staff to have Stephanie May on board has been nothing less than impressive. Stef's vast background in coaching, and coaching education has proven to have a huge impact on all of us as the Club. In this issue of the WMUSA Quarterly Newsletter, we sat down with Stef to learn about who she is, where she came from, and what advice she has for our players and coaches.
Tell us a little about yourself – your coaching and playing experience, where you grew up, previous clubs.
I grew up in NY and MD. My soccer journey began right around 6 years old when my parents signed me up for a local team. From there, I moved into travel/select soccer. I was fortunate to have playing opportunities with the Olympic Development Program, and playing overseas with my team. During my high school soccer days, I was a member of the Varsity team that captured two regional titles and made two state tournament appearances. I went on to play college soccer at Waynesburg College where I was a four-year starter, captain, and was selected to the PAC All Conference teams.
I have been fortunate to coach at different levels of the game. My coaching experience extends from the college level, high school, club, and Olympic Development Programs- state, regional, national levels.
College- My coaching career began right after college when I became the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Stevenson University (formally- Villa Julie College) in MD. I spent three seasons helping to build the program and we made the school’s first trips to the ECAC Tournament and the Division III NCAA Tournament. Next, I went on to join the coaching staff at McDaniel College (MD) as an Assistant Coach. Later, I went on to become a Head Coach at Widener University (PA) and The Head Women’s Soccer Coach at SUNY Maritime College (NY).
High School- Girls Varsity Soccer Coach:Maryvale Preparatory School (MD)- IAAM B Conference Championship title in the fall and an IAAM B Conference Championship in Indoor Soccer. Rye Country Day School (NY)- NYSIS runner up, Fairchester League runner up, and NEPSAC tournament participants. The Latin School of Chicago (IL)- ISL league, sectional, regional titles, along with being the ILHSA State Final Class 1A Runner Up.
Olympic Development Program (ODP)- I have worked with ODP at numerous levels from state, regional, and national. My roles were with Eastern PA ODP- U14, U15 Coach, Eastern New York-North ODP- U17 Coach, Region I ODP Staff Coach.
Club- At the club level prior to joining WMUSA, I have coached with the Baltimore Bays, Soccer Club of Baltimore, Quickstrike FC, Chris Lynn Soccer Academy.
In your opinion how as the landscape of youth soccer changed (for good or for bad) in the last 10 years or so…?
The landscape of youth soccer has grown tremendously over the last 10 years with the opportunities that are available for players. It’s exciting in a way if you think about it. What excites me is the speed of play, creativity, and competitiveness. The good that I see from the growth is that it provides various platforms for each player to compete from recreation programs, travel, select, premier, ODP, etc. The game is evolving which is awesome.
How does youth soccer here in PA/WMU compare to New York?
This is a great question! I know PA soccer pretty well from my time at Widener University and working with Eastern PA ODP. There is amazing talent here in PA, this area has produced top level players that have went on to compete at power house college programs, won national titles at the youth levels, Eastern PA ODP has won multiple titles at the regional/national levels, and to top it off we have had National Team players come from this state- past/present.
New York has its own identity, style of play, grit, competitiveness, and skill. When you play NY teams sometimes you will notice them taking control of the game right away or coming right at you pressing. Teams will back off at times. The landscape of soccer in NY is huge due to the numbers of kids playing, the number of clubs, and the talent coming out of the state.
What West-Mont United Brings to youth soccer -
West-Mont United has a top-notch facility to train and the coaching staff. We have very coachable players that are wanting to improve and grow. The programs we offer from our grassroots to college prep, set us apart. Our teams do well at the local, regional, and nation levels. The location we are in is very good because we have good competition from surrounding clubs. We have had players come through WMUSA that have gone on to have stellar college playing experiences at various colleges at all levels (DI, DII, DIII).
You are certainly one of the most accomplished coaches on our staff, especially since you hold the Master of Coaching diploma, a very prestigious recognition. What was your development path as you got into coaching, and what advice do you have for some of the other coaches in our program who want to continue developing their careers in coaching?
My pathway in coaching was never handed to me, I went out there and sought opportunities from the very start. I was hired right out of college as the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Stevenson University (Villa Julie College) by the Head Coach-Matt Biederman. He was the one that suggested that I take my first coaching license course with NSCAA now USC which was the National. A few years later, I went on to earn my NSCAA Advanced National. I got to meet a lot of influential coaches/instructors during that course that gave me some of the best pieces of advice.
From there- I went on to earn numerous coaching licenses and work with a lot of great coaches.
Three of the most influential people that I have met early in my coaching journey were Nancy Feldman (Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Boston University/United Soccer Coaches Senior Staff), Anthony James (Region I ODP/SVA), and the late Charlotte Moran (EPYSA/Region I ODP). All three of them were instrumental in bringing me into Region I ODP as a young coach that wanted to get better/grow. I was invited to camps, regional competitions, and national events that would end up providing me with the greatest learning environments that provided me with the tools needed as a coach.
My advice to our coaches:
Find a coach that could be a mentor. Look for growth opportunities that stretch you, be willing to learn, and take feedback. Look for coaching education opportunities that are available. Read materials that are soccer, non-soccer, and ask questions, look to observe coaches in the club during sessions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, for help or suggestions. It will make you better.
Being almost 6 months into your position here at WMUSA, what have been your impressions of the club, the players, the staff, and the WMUSAFAMILY as a whole? What stands out to you?
From the first time I stepped on the fields here at the Hilltop, I knew WMUSA was special and this is where I wanted to be. I am enjoying being the Girls DOC U10-U14 and working with all our players at the club. We have great people here and that is what separates WMUSA from other clubs. It’s authentic what you see! I see a lot of opportunities here and I am very excited about where we are going. The coaches and DOC’s that I work with are great. They are putting in timeless efforts to help the players develop and provide environments that are competitive.
The WMUSAFAMILY is special and it’s a true sense of community. Everyone is welcoming, comes together to help others, supports them, and overall friendly.
One of the things I love to do at WMUSA is walk around the complex during games and see our players in action at all levels of the game. I feel it is important to support them and celebrate those moments no matter how big or small.
In your opinion, what are some of the character traits that you look for when you are evaluating players – it likely varies across different ages, but generally, what strikes you when watching young players today?
The most important character traits that I look for in players is coachability, attitude, work-ethic, and willingness to learn/grow as a player. These are all important because coaches are always watching what you are doing. Being coachable is key- what that means is that you take the information you are given and then use it. This only helps you get better and learn from the experience. Having a good attitude is important because it affects all you do in life. Lastly, always work hard on the field and do your best.
You’re a great role model for all of our young athletes, especially the young girls in our program. As they continue through their journeys as female athletes, what advice do you have for them if they want to continue in this sport, either as a player, or maybe one day as a coach?
As a player, believe in yourself and your abilities. Be confident that you have the tools to compete with anyone. Surround yourself with positive people that have your best interest at heart and want you to succeed. Take a moment to enjoy the journey.
If you want to be a coach, find a mentor or reach out to a coach that has been an influence to you for advice. Be willing to start somewhere. You can’t get to the top without experience and learning key lessons needed. Some options for someone starting out, volunteer or shadow a coach to see what they do. Look into coaching education which is very helpful and will provide great information about coaching at different levels of the game. Listen and absorb information!
And one final, fun question – who is your favorite player on the USWNT, and why?
Mia Hamm is my all-time favor USWNT player. I was fortunate to see Mia play over her playing career. She is one of the most talented attacking players that was so confident with the ball at her feet, beating players 1v1, relentless, and unselfish player that put the team before herself. Many people don’t know- Mia played in goal for the USWNT in the 1995 World Cup match against Norway when our keeper was red carded…. we were out of subs so Mia stepped up.
Carli Lloyd is one of the current generation of USWNT players that I like because of her unstoppable drive to be the best and always get better. She has been fun to watch and the goals that she has scored were amazing. The goals at the 2015 World Cup final were lights out!
Dear West-Mont United Families,
Thank you for your continued support of the Club. This past year has been challenging with COVID-19, and one of transition in some areas of our operations. The Board of Directors and Staff continue to focus on improving our communication, customer service/value delivered, and consistency within our programs.
A major area of emphasis has been our Land Development Plan. This project will allow us to add important amenities for our Membership. Some preliminary work on the project is either complete or underway. Since we completed our fall season at HillTop, the first phase of electrical improvements have been completed. Parking lot lights and security cameras have been installed and are now operational. Additional electrical infrastructure work will resume in coming weeks. We are currently working through some tweaks to the Plan with our engineer and Limerick Township.
· 2 regulation Turf Fields with Stadium Lighting
· Multi-use building (public restrooms, pavilion/turf field viewing area, office space, storage, flex space)
· Parking lot lights
· Parking lot expansion and upgrades (some of these adjustments/ improvements are required by the township)
· Grass field expansion (upper parking lot grass field Improvement)
· Electrical upgrades for the stadium lights, multi-use building, shed over the bridge, well to irrigate the back fields, and extra capacity for potential future needs (lights for Fields 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) over the bridge.
These upgrades will not only provide the amenities that our Membership is looking for but allow us to reduce our dependence on the rising offsite turf rental costs. Doing so will create more financial control to reduce the rising costs of Travel and Intramural fees for Membership, more scheduling flexibility, sponsorship & fundraising opportunities, and rental revenue from external sources.
It is our intention to break ground in the Fall/Winter of 2022, with a completion date prior to our 2023 spring season. Most of the front of the facility will be unplayable for a period. Working around the busy windows of our program seasons is a major driver as to when we start the project to reduce the inconvenience to our Members and not lose revenue from key programs and tournaments.
We will be looking to engage all of our Member Families in some fundraising initiatives in coming months to support this initiative. If you would like to participate in a larger capacity in our Land Development/Fundraising Committee, please contact me (email@example.com) or Steve Sawyer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wishing the Players and our Member Families a healthy and successful spring season. See you on the fields!
West-Mont United S.A.
For the last few months, the staff at WMU has been working very hard to remain actively involved in our community, and also in promoting the club and the various programs we have to offer. Many of you should already be aware, that the Club has built relationships with two very important resources for our players - our partnership with Mental Performance Coach Dr. Rachel Hoeft, and our partnership with Health & Wellness experts at Body Metrix Nutrition. Both of these relationships allow us to provide valuable resources to each of our players across all of our programs. In addition to these partnerships, West-Mont has also continued to be involved in work to support our local community.
Below are a list of community actiivites that West-Mont has committed to for 2022:
- Sponsoring the Memorial Fun Run event hosted by Limerick Township Parks & Recreation on May 21, 2022
- Sponsoring the Trunk or Treat event hosted by Limerick Township Parks & Recreation on October 22, 2022
- Diamond Sponsor for the Macaroni Kid 2022 Summer Camp
- Partner for US Youth Soccer's TOPSoccer Spring program to provide buddy volunteers to support community-based training and team placement for young athletes with disabilities Click here to learn more.
In addition to sponsoring many community events, WMUSA is also soliciting local businesses and individuals who may be interested in sponorship opportunities with the Club. We have several levels of sponsorship to allow for flexibility for you to get involved. To learn more about our sponsorship tiers, please visit our sponsorship page or contact email@example.com.
For those interested in providing monetary donations, feel free to do so here:
- Spring Intramural Registration: Register Here
- TOPSoccer begins March 20: Learn More
- 2022 Spring Break Camp Dates:
- April 14 & 15 (Register Here)
- 2022 Travel Team Tryout Dates: Week of April 25
- Real Madrid Summer Camp Dates:
- June 27-July 1 (Register Here)
- FC Barca Summer Camp Dates:
- July 11-July 15 (Register Here)
- July 11-July 15 (Register Here)
- 2022 Travel Team Camp Dates:
- Girls: Sunday 7/31 - Tuesday 8/2, 5:00-8:00pm
- Boys: Wednesday 8/3 - Friday 8/5, 5:00-8:00pm
- 2022 U13-U15 Premier Residential Team Camp:
- July 24-27 @ Kutztown University
- 2022 BAH Dates:
- Girls: Aug 20 & 21
- Boys: Aug 27 & 28