Patterson spreads his soccer passion through coaching academy
John Patterson is spreading his passion for soccer through his Golden Years Coaching Academy.
The academy, a Greater Marco Family YMCA program, began in January, with a goal of having year-round coaching. Going hand-and-hand is Patterson’s efforts to have parents realize what a great sport soccer is, not just for fitness. It is to build sound character, along with learning to share leadership and decision-making in a team sport, he said.
Patterson, YMCA soccer coordinator, is a former English professional soccer player, registered Florida State Youth Coach and former Marco Island Charter Middle School soccer coach.
Patterson considers the golden years to be 6 to 14. He said it is more difficult to correct poor technique at a later age. His academy is designed to cover progressive coaching.
Patterson also has his incubator bunch, with the YMCA Little Tykes Soccer program for 4 to 6-year-olds. He said the key at this age is to design fun games that also provide the basic fundamentals.
Sesame Street gets tossed into the mix when the kids play Cookie Monster. The Cookie Monster moves down field, dribbling the soccer ball as he approaches his “delectables,” but then gets chased himself.
“This has been a great success and an experience that all coaches should go through,” Patterson said.
He runs his programs, including camps, at the Marco YMCA and Manatee and Parkside schools in Naples. Patterson said 30 to 40 kids took part in building skills each camp, with this phase concluding this week.
The YMCA continues to host British Soccer Challenge, an important learning method. Enjoying its largest classes, it continues to develop skills and team play through professional coaches. Its last summer camp is Aug. 5-9 at the YMCA.
A goal for Patterson also is to improve the coaching facilities at the YMCA. Much smaller than a regular soccer field, Patterson would like to see funds donated to advance a proper surface.
“We would welcome a sponsor to cover the cost of upgrading our field to give an improved teaching and playing surface,” he said.
Patterson also is getting soccer into adult thinking with an indoor adult soccer program for players 18 and older, in the YMCA gym on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on the academy, or indoor soccer, contact Patterson at 239-248-2715, or the YMCA at 394-3144.