York, Maine—If you listen closely on Tuesdays at the Bog Road soccer fields you’ll hear the cadence of a British accent telling kids “nice try Ava, good job Liam or keep your head up Mateo.” Terence Carter from Seacoast United (SU) has been running about 140 eight to twelve year olds though weekly training sessions this fall for the York Soccer Club (YSC).
“We have teams do pretty well during the season while others struggle, whether it’s scoring goals or figuring out how to gel and work together,” says YSC board member Evelyn Jones. “There’s a wide range of skills and experience levels out there. We want to find new ways, like working with SU, to support our players and coaches across the organization.”
The YSC enlisted SU to run weekly training sessions helping challenge players to finesse and fine tune their fundamental skills, as well as learn how to play smarter together.
“To play soccer it’s not just about who runs the fastest and hits the ball the hardest,” says Carter. “It’s understanding fundamentals of when to pass, when to dribble and to know that understanding the game makes them a better player. I like to make sure the kids are learning how to get open and playing to space. If these kids can learn how to play the game better, then they can use their brains as much as their legs.”
And Carter should know, born and raised in England he started playing soccer when he was eight and then competitively starting at age eleven for clubs and academy feeder teams like Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers. His professional soccer goals shifted gears, however, after an injury at age eighteen. After this, he came to the U.S. on a college scholarship and now plays for the semi-professional team Seacoast United Phantoms.
“It’s pretty cool because I lived in York Maine during the summers while I was in college and have gotten to know many of these kids I’m now coaching at SU and working with here in the YSC training sessions. I like to see kids grow and develop and teach them. I would have liked to have been a professional soccer player, but the next best thing for me is to be able to coach kids and use what I’ve been taught to try and help them get their own scholarships opportunities. Or to have more confidence and learn things they can take into their adult lives and apply to careers,” says Carter.
Practice sessions with Coach Carter offer an opportunity for kids of similar age groups who are separated by teams to play together.
“Working with Terence adds another layer of quality player development and consistency across all the U9-U12 age groups, as well as some nice scrimmaging opportunities. By combining teams weekly, or every other week, we are trying to build camaraderie and offer these kids a chance to all play together. Hopefully, it’s also useful for the coaches who are out there assisting Carter with drills,” says U12 Girls coach and YSC board member LJ Combe.
Even with over thirty plus kids in each practice session, Carter makes it a point to try and learn every kids name; encouraging them to slow down, pass to teammates, and get quality touches on the ball.
“I actually really like the skills we do on Tuesdays more than the scrimmaging,” remarked U11 player Chloe Deluca. Another spritely player, Scarlett Ring, when asked about practice with Coach Terence, declared, “I like learning new stuff and new moves like the Cruyff (see video),” as she cut the ball back behind her.
Coach Carter’s training sessions aren’t easy, but for the players who work hard to improve their skills and want to learn, they will no doubt find encouragement and more opportunities to grow.
YSC is a volunteer non-profit organization that has been offering quality soccer programs and training to York families for more than 20 years. The Mission of the YSC is to provide a fun, safe, youth soccer program for our community, dedicated to: Developing soccer skills for children ages 4-14; Encouraging respect and appreciation for all; Teaching and demonstrating life skills such a as perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship and a positive attitude.
Figure 1: Terence Carter, Seacoast United, leads thirty-seven York Soccer Club U12 and U11 girls through a training session at Bog Road fields in York.
Figure 2: U12 Girls Coach Alli Gellar (right) with York Soccer Club U11 players Scarlett Ring (left) and Ella Clark (middle) practice fast footwork.
Figure 3: York Soccer Club U11 teammates Anna Westover (left) and Samantha Jones at Bog Road fields.