Coming Summer 2022. To learn more, please read the press release below.
Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) and New England Futbol Club (NEFC) are pleased to announce they were selected for the US Soccer Federation’s Innovate to Grow Grant to fund a collaborative mental health program. NEFC and Mass Youth Soccer join a select group of soccer organizations, nationwide, to be recipients of the US Soccer’s Innovate to Grow Fund. NEFC and Mass Youth Soccer’s collaborative effort to support mental health in soccer was chosen as an innovative program showing promise in building the sport of soccer at the grassroots level. “NEFC is thrilled to partner with Mass Youth Soccer to receive this Innovate to Grow Grant. Currently, access is one of the biggest challenges facing the mental health crisis. We hope this program will provide the support and resources our families need to access mental health support”, said NEFC President Brian Mazar.
“We are proud to collaborate with NEFC and Doc Wayne to develop this innovative and
transformative programming. Mass Youth Soccer is excited to expand mental health support services for children in Massachusetts by empowering coaches across the Commonwealth with the training, tools and resources to more effectively support the communities they work in!” Tamie Endow, Member Services Manager – Mass Youth Soccer.
In response to the growing mental health crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, NEFC and Mass Youth Soccer will reach as many people as possible with sports-based therapy emphasizing soccer, both by increasing the size of the Massachusetts soccer community as well as providing mental health training for youth-facing adults. This new program will provide current and future soccer communities with sustainable mental health interventions that will survive far beyond the soccer field, and both organizations see this partnership as the perfect way of achieving this. Expected outcomes are twofold: 1) coaches will be better able to identify and refer youth for mental health support, and 2) soccer will be introduced in new forums to both raise awareness and offer assistance for the mental health needs of youth. NEFC and Mass Youth Soccer’s new mental health programming will ensure that coaches at all age levels are trained in mental health with a particular focus on ages 4-7 years old. NEFC’s 4–7-year-old program, The Junior Academy, is designed to provide entry-level experience into club soccer in a fun and safe environment with professional coaching. As players develop and go through NEFC’s system, this new program will ensure that mental health is a key component of the coaches’ skills.
The program will use soccer to provide mental health support using the evidence-based
approach of fusing sport with therapy. NEFC and Mass Youth Soccer have teamed up with Doc Wayne Youth Services, a mental health agency, to complete training and provide off-field support to soccer coaches. Doc Wayne is a mental health organization that fuses sport with therapy and offers both direct service and global training programs. Doc Wayne’s external training program partners with a range of organizations, clinicians, coaches, and other youth development professionals, sharing how to include trauma-informed, sport-based, mental health support in their work with young people. Doc Wayne created this initiative with the vision of making sport-based mental health services accessible to youth while empowering organizations, clinicians, sports coaches, teachers, and other youth development professionals to utilize sports like soccer in a therapeutic manner. They offer remote training as well as live sessions which aim to develop awareness around youth mental health, equip more professionals with the tools to support youth through sport-based initiatives, and reimagine mental health through the lens of sport.
The program will begin Summer 2022. To learn more about each organization, please visit www.NEFC.us, www.mayouthsoccer.org, www.docwayne.org and/or www.nefcgiving.org. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com.