#BMORE20: United Soccer Coaches Convention Recap

From January 15th to 19th, Baltimore was witness to one of world soccer’s largest and most exciting off the field events. The United Soccer Coaches Convention brings together over 6,300 coaches and more than 13,000 attendees for five days of education, innovation, connection and to pay honor to excellence. From award ceremonies and coaching sessions, to featured speakers and soccer tech exhibits, the convention is like a Candyland for all in the soccer world.

United Soccer Coaches Convention
Sam Mewis, Carly Lloyd and Brandi Chastain discuss the future of the women’s game at the Volkswagon Booth in the exhibit hall.

Convention attendance is growing and for good reason. This year, dozens and dozens of sessions were focused on the critical issues facing the game. Expert speakers gave presentations on mental health, sports performance, and the best coaching practices for settings ranging from youth urban environments to the pro level. And of course, there were no shortage of field sessions. With some of the most popular events being led by world-class coaches such as Laura Harvey and Anson Dorrance.

You think that would be enough reason for a trip to Baltimore, but the awesomeness of it all doesn’t end with the sessions. Rather, it’s just the beginning. The Exhibit Hall was packed with booths of famous and up-and-coming soccer brands. Travel tours (feat. our favorite WorldStrides Sports, training equipment, apparel, injury management items. The list of state-of the-art, need-to-have stuff on display on the floor was endless.

United Soccer Coaches Convention
WorldStrides Sports at United Sooccer Coaches Convention in Baltimore

As an attendee for GSN, it’s hard to pick what moments of the convention were my favorite. The theme of Thursday? Childhood dreams becoming a reality. Watching the release of emotion from young women (and their families) who heard their names called on NWSL draft day is something I could relive 17 times, and it would never fail to give me goosebumps.

United Soccer Coaches Convention
The NWSL Draft at the United Soccer Coaches Convention

It was truly awesome that GSN was lucky enough to have a booth on Podcast Row. This year in Baltimore was just the second time a podcast area was incorporated, with it expanding from three to four booths in Chicago 2019 to now 14. As a fill-in “host” of Give n’ Go, I was able to talk to amazing guests such as the #2 NWSL draft pick in Morgan Weaver, Haley Carter, the former Afghanistan WNT coach, legendary coach Anson Dorrance, and even a 14-year-old soccerista who has her own podcast. Be sure to check out our Give n’ Go episodes in the next few weeks to hear some funny, inspiring, and educational snippets from some great conversations.

Our final day at the convention opened up with an event that will go down as one of my highlights.

It’s difficult to find a room where Anson Dorrance, Jill Ellis, Brandi Chastain, April Heinrich, and many other legends in the game all sit within a few feet from each other. But that’s what the “Coaches of Women’s Soccer Breakfast” provided. Kely Nascimento-De Luca, an ambassador, storyteller, and director, who is currently filming a movie about women’s soccer moved attendees with her potent and passionate words about the game. And who better than to continue the wave of inspiration and reflection on what this game means than Jill Ellis. The former USWNT coach was emotional while accepting her Award of Excellence and detailing her evolution into who she is today.

Leaving the convention, I am overcome with an intense mix of feelings. I’m grateful. I’m tired. And I’m contemplative. The one thought that can’t be ignored as I get in the Uber to the Baltimore airport?

I can’t wait till next year. See you in Anaheim!



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