The PCA Blog - Portland

MLS MVP Diego Valeri Helps PCA-Portland Spearhead Change Through Soccer


The leadership for Positive Coaching Alliance-Portland determined earlier this year that one of the strategic initiatives for changing the culture in youth sports statewide is impacting the sport of soccer, as more children play soccer than any other sport in the state.

That means there are more volunteers, more parents and more coaches involved in soccer than in any other sport. We believe if we focus on the sport of soccer and try and address some of the issues plaguing the culture, we could see a ripple effect throughout all sports.

With this in mind, PCA-Portland recently partnered with adidas America to host an event called “Where is Soccer Headed?”

On Nov. 29, over 100 people gathered at the adidas North American headquarters for a conversation regarding the state of youth soccer in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Most notably, MLS MVP and Portland Timbers FC star Diego Valeri joined to give his take on where soccer is headed in Portland and beyond.

Beyond Valeri's support, we were also joined by an all-star panel composed of:

  • Dr. Richard Edelson – Team Doctor for the Portland Timbers from Sports Medicine Oregon
  • Sue Levin –PCA-Portland Chapter Board member and soccer coach/parent
  • Jose Campos – Oregon Youth Soccer Association
  • Aaron Maines – adidas America Soccer Marketing
  • Dr. Breanne Brown – Portland Thorns Team Doctor from Providence Sports Medicine.

Among the key takeaways from the panel discussion on Where Soccer is Headed, the panel discussed:

  • The need for more equitable clinics and training for coaches.

  • There is a major need for more programming opportunities for underserved and low-income communities in Oregon and SW Washington.

  • Year-round soccer is not the villain. Year-round soccer athletes simply need access to better cross-training opportunities to help them avoid injuries. This is an opportunity for education to clubs and coaches on what those Cross-training opportunities could be and how to integrate them into the club training schedule.

  • Youth sports has seen a shift from educators (teachers) running the programs to stakeholders (clubs, companies, leagues, tournaments, etc.). One has a vested interest in the child and the other, while still having an interest in the child, also has an interest in the product or the bottom line. This shift towards a more capitalistic approach to soccer is the systemic issue that is the foundation for the other issues that seem to be piling on.

Our hope is to hold another panel discussion on 'Where Soccer is Headed' in the coming months. We will focus our next conversation on issues including: the Soccer Parent and their role in helping provide a Development Zone® Culture, Sports Psychology and many others.

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Thanks again to everyone who attended and a huge thank you to our sponsors. None of this would be possible without the generous support of:

Adidas America, The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC, Sports Medicine Oregon, Providence Sports Medicine, Rose City Futsal, KIND snacks, Crown Trophy, Chipotle, Oregon Youth Soccer Association, and Full Sail Brewing Co.

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