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Girls and STEM

Have you heard that STEM will be powered by women?  If you are a young lady between the ages of 13-19 and science intrigues you – you may want to sign up for 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures.  Be partnered with a woman in science who will mentor you one-to-one with two virtual meetings per month and other engagement opportunities.

Nourish your science dreams with professionals and peers bonded in love of the sciences.  Create a space where you can safely explore and build blocks to achieve your dreams.  This program is free to you because the Global STEM Alliance of the New York Academy of Sciences believes in the potential of the expanded involvement of girls and women in STEM.

Please consider signing up to find out more about the 2017-2018 program year:
1000 Girls, 1000 Futures

Looking for a STEM activity this summer?  Consider Future Stars STEAM camp.

 

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Transitioning to Competitive Play: How to Help Your Child

Sports are supposed to be fun. Right? That’s how they started out. Back when your child was in preschool or kindergarten those pint-sized athletic teams were all about getting some physical activity and having a good time. No one kept score, from the sidelines no one was screaming, “How could you miss that shot?” and no one was competing to be the best in the state. As your child grew and began getting more serious about sports, they wanted to transition into truly competitive play. How can you help your child make the move from “just for fun” to a more competitive-based type of play?

Time Commitment and Being Selective

It’s common for young children to try out different sports. Your child may have played soccer, softball, tennis, and basketball. And, that was just in one year. When it comes to moving from recreational to competitive play, your child needs to narrow down their focus. Yes, some kids do excel at a few sports. It’s not unheard of for a teen to play for the high school football team in the fall and then hit the wrestling mats in the winter. But, narrowing down the selection certainly makes it easier to focus.

When it comes to selecting a sport, your child needs to be aware of the time commitment. If they narrow down their focus to soccer and track, they might not have the time to pull double-duty during the same sporting season. Discuss which sport your child really wants to focus on and why. After that, take a look at the time commitment and make sure that there are no major conflicts. If there are considerable conflicts, take a look at what your child can shift around or juggle. In the event that nothing budges, ask your child to consider picking just one sport to really, truly focus on.

Support School

Focusing on competitive play often leaves little time for school work. Of course your child is still going to school during the day. But, they may not have as much time for after-school homework and they may also need to miss some school days (or partial days) for games, matches, tournaments and meets.

Help your child to create a steady schedule that incorporates both school work and practice times. Put a pen to paper (or go on your computer and create a spreadsheet) and write out the details. This should include blocks of practice/training time, study times, and game times. The rigor and regimen of athletic training translates into study time for many student-athletes. That means sports and school can work hand in hand to help keep your child on track and on schedule.

It’s possible that your child will be so excited to start real competitive play that they put schoolwork on the back burner. It’s understandable that the new, more in-depth, athletic endeavor is exciting. For your child, it’s much more interesting than algebra and English literature. But, you need to explain that school can’t slide. Set rules, making it clear that if the sport negatively affects your child’s grades, they’ll need to take a break.

New Rules

Back when sports were purely recreational your child could miss a practice (or a game) and it wasn’t really a big deal. Now that they’re on the travel team, made the school JV/Varsity squad or are on some other competitive team, things are different.

Participating in competitive sports (whether it’s as an individual or as part of a team) requires dedication, time, and commitment. Skipping out on practice to hang out with friends is not okay. Sit your child down and discuss what the team’s, coach’s or league’s rules are. For example, your child’s basketball coach has a rule that any participant who misses three practices (unless they’re pre-excused) is automatically out. Your athlete needs to understand that the coach means business and that they will enforce this rule.

Taking the next step to competitive play is a big deal. It shows that your child is focused and committed to the sport. The transition from a recreational sport to something more serious isn’t always easy. Even though it takes work, with your help and a little time, your child will succeed!

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Attending Camp with Friends

One of the many reasons behind sending children to summer camp is the opportunity to reach out and create new friendships. Does it mean sending a child to a camp which is also being attended by one (or more) of the child’s current friends should be discouraged? Absolutely not!

Added Advantage

Social interaction definitely comes easier for some children. A child attending a camp with a friend will already start the new journey with less stress. There is no doubt children get past the initial stage fright of making new acquaintances, but having a friend at the same camp  can actually make it easier for social interaction with other children.

Make New Friends

When parents agree to send a child along with a friend to camp, they should approach it in a proactive manner. Let the child know it is great to have a buddy along for the camp experience, but also instill an additional mindset – one which lets the child know it is perfectly acceptable to reach out to new children socially and discover new friendships. The parents of all your child’s friends going to camp should get together and talk about this as well. This prevents an instance of one friend having thoughts of abandonment when the other child makes new friends during camp. It allows all parents to reinforce the idea of making the most out of new friendship opportunities.

Keep the Old

Even though parents may have addressed the issue of a friend making new friends at camp, take the opportunity to make your child be aware of what to do if the ‘old’ friend feels left out. Many children would already have the presence of mind to include an old friend in an unscheduled activity, but it is always best to have parents mention this to their children. Most camps are monitored in a way where exclusion is noticed by a counselor or coach, but not everything is always noticed.

Enjoy the Camp

Depending on the camp, friends may automatically be separated in activities for various reasons. For instance, two friends attending a baseball camp may be assigned different stations or drills due to playing different positions, or by skill level of each child. Explain to children that this is to be expected and how the friends can meet up again at lunch or at another time during the camp day.

With a bit of careful pre-planning by the parents, the children attending camps with one or more friends will have the satisfaction of knowing others from the start, and parents will see such desired goals as decision making, peer social interaction and a sense of fulfillment achieved through the camp experience.

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5 Skills Your Child Will Learn By Playing Tennis

Tennis is a sport of a lifetime, you and your child will enjoy for years to come. If you are wondering if tennis would be the right fit for your child, here are 5 reasons you should sign your young athlete up for Tennis Camp today!

If you can see your future self quite happily sitting amongst royalty sipping champagne under the mediocre London sun whilst grinning proudly as your child takes home the Wimbledon trophy, then perhaps you should be encouraging your child to play tennis. This fast-paced sport is growing in popularity across the world as stars such as Federer and Serena Williams are inspiring a new generation to lift up their rackets and head out onto the court.

Aside from the obvious benefits of rubbing shoulders with the sporting elite and getting to boast to your friends about how your child has had to put up a bigger shelf to host all those trophies, there are plenty of reasons why your child will benefit from attending a tennis day camp this year. Here are just five of them:

1.  It Teaches Self Discipline

Unlike team sports, the focus of tennis is on the self. You can’t blame your teammates for a missed goal or a bad pass, you’re the only person on the court and it’s up to you as to how the game goes. If your child wants to do well, they’ll have to commit to working hard and training hard. Perfecting that serve is the ultimate lesson in self discipline and, with it, pride.

2.  It’s All About the Coordination

Tennis is a great way to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination. In fact, it’s good for all their fine motor skills. Your child will learn how to judge distance, strength, timing, as well as, mastering the skill of hitting a small ball with a racket. It sounds easy, but you try getting out on that court and see how many times you can beat Djokovic at the serve.

3.  It Teaches Sportsmanship

It might sound like a made up word, but sportsmanship is one of the most important skills you can teach your kid. Your child needs to learn how to win graciously as well as how to lose. Your child needs to learn how to compete fairly, how to lose with dignity and how to win whilst being respectful of their opponent’s feelings. Tennis will teach your child how to play fair, win with grace and lose with manners.

4.  It’s All About Strategy

Tennis is not an easy sport. You have to make a lot of decisions – and quickly. Your child will learn to think on their feet, react with their gut instinct and be flexible and responsive. Your child will learn when to play safe and when to take those all important risks. Tennis might look to the untrained eye like a simple game of back and forth, but it’s way more complicated than that. Your child will learn key analytical and problem solving skills.

5.  It’s Fun

What should kids be doing during the school vacation? Err, having fun. Isn’t that obvious? Tennis is a great way to achieve that goal. Your child will be learning new skills but, most importantly, they’ll be having fun with their friends. They’ll meet new people, get some exercise and feel proud of their achievements. There are few things more enjoyable in life than feeling proud of yourself.

Plus, you might one day get to share a bottle of champagne with The Queen. Maybe.

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Who are the people behind Future Stars? Meet Jordan Snider: From Camper to Camp Site Director

Variety has been the rule, not the exception, throughout Jordan Snider’s Future Stars career – from camper to Site Director.  On a daily basis, Jordan manages a staff of international coaches teaching everything from the latest soccer drills from Chile to STEAM education, providing a joyous and enriching camp experience to children ranging from 6 to 16 years old.

In the Beginning, Jordan Was a Camper

Jordan started his relationship with Future Stars as a young camper and something about the experience and uniqueness of the Future Stars spirit stuck with him.  Over the years, as his role changed — from camper to bus counselor to nurse to tennis coach to soccer coach and now Camp Site Director at SUNY, Purchase – Jordan has learned to thrive with change.

Future Stars Camps has been a part of Jordan’s life since he was a child.  He has had a long standing relationship with co-founders of Future Stars Camps, Charlie VanDercook and Bill Griffin. Working together on their shared passion makes for a lot of hard but fun work.  “I have known Charlie since I was 9 years old. I have seen his children grow up and now he is watching my children grow up. I started working at Future Stars during the summers while I was in college. After I graduated, I started working year round with Future Stars and developed a new relationship with Charlie and Bill. I see them just about every day, and every day we brain storm and discuss ways to make the camp experience even better for the kids.”

A Special Love for Tennis

With all the change and diversity of life experiences, tennis has been a constant part of Jordan’s life and his life at Future Stars.    “I grew up loving all sports but was especially focused on tennis. I was lucky enough to play tennis at Rollins College where our team won the NCAA National Championship in 1991. Tennis has been an important part of my life and I fully reaped all the benefits sports have to offer. For many years after college I taught tennis during the winter months while directing the tennis camp in the summer.”

Today, Future Stars offers a variety of sports camps like basketball, volleyball, swim, and other interesting camps like circus arts, magic and S.T.E.A.M., but when Jordan was a child at Future Stars, there was only a tennis camp.  “I remember many of the coaches, the events both on the tennis courts and off the courts,” says Jordan as he fondly reminisces.  “As a kid, the camp helped me gain self confidence and to take chances. Of course, it also helped my tennis. As a camper it seemed that everyone that worked at the camp was loving what they were doing. They all participated in every activity and seemed to have as much fun as any of the kids. They also had a passion for tennis that was contagious.”

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Finding and Encouraging Passion in Others

“In hiring new coaches, a critical attribute is enthusiasm. They need to love their sport or specialty and enjoy helping others. It is summer camp and has to be fun while at the same time the specific sport or specialty is the common bond at each program. For example, the baseball campers and coaches are all wearing baseball jerseys and having friendly arguments about their favorite player or Yankees vs Mets debates while the basketball campers and coaches are all about LeBron and Steph Curry or the Knicks and the Spurs.”

This approach has had an impact on campers.  In our March 6th blog, Julia Duffy a former camper/counselor, says “Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp”.  Julia’s respect for Jordan is crystallized as he shares what he values in his chosen profession: “Most important to me,” says Jordan, “is the opportunity to interact directly with children and to watch them grow up.”  Summer Camp is a great opportunity for children to learn who they are. They make lifelong friends and develop skills that transfer to all aspects of their lives. I consider camps to be part of the education system where children get to have more choice and independence.  I love seeing the kids grow during the summer.”

“Watching the kids on Friday afternoons and seeing them off for the weekend with smiles, energy, and even the emotions of saying goodbye is rewarding,” Jordan continues.  “There is pride in knowing that we have helped kids grow up socially, emotionally, and physically during the course of the summer, as well as over many years. When the kids return each year, although they are bigger, it is like they never left. It is now at the point where so many of our counselors used to be campers.”

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Future Stars Camps has been around for 36 years and keeping it fresh while maintaining the values that have made this summer day camp a family tradition are why parents, who attended as kids, want their children to come here.

“Early in my career I knew this was more than a summer job for me when I realized the impact and influence that I was having on the kids as well as the effect they were having on me! It was much more than just helping them become better tennis players. Over the years, I have kept in touch with so many of the “kids” at camp that are now adults, and it is an incredibly rewarding part of the role. I have connections to many different generations of campers and seeing them each go through different stages of life. And what is remarkable to me is how many of the campers have stayed connected and are truly lifelong friends.”

Summer camp with multiethnic school kids drawing words on a pavement outdoor floor as a symbol of recreation and fun education with a group of children working as a team for learning success.

Preparing for the 1st Camp

A family preparing to send a child to a ‘first ever’ summer camp will likely experience a lot of emotional peaks and valleys. For parents and children alike, there will be rushes of excitement and maybe even a twinge of uncertainty. Something new naturally creates a mixed bag of emotions. Once those timid thoughts are conquered by all the ‘positives’ a child is about to be a part of  camp, it’s time to get everything in order to make it a pleasant success.

It’s About the Children

Parents may have fond memories about summer camps they attended and may naturally want their children to attend the same camp. It may seem like a great idea, but it’s best to include the child in the overall decision of which camp they would like to attend.

Focusing on the current main interest of a child is a great place to start. Is it athletics? Is it academics? Is it drama? There are several camp options available for today’s youth. Giving the child a feeling of ‘ownership’ is a fantastic start to making the camp experience very rewarding.

Prepare the Child for Success

Verify with camp counselors what the child needs to bring to camp, what forms need to be signed (including any Legal Disclaimer or Health Form) prior to camp attendance. As for what the child brings or wears, ask specifics. Taking a child shopping for new sneakers and T-shirts may accelerate the excitement level of a child, but doing so when the camp suggest slightly worn clothes due to the nature of the camp (football, field hockey, e.g.) may turn out to be wasting money.

If camp activities are mainly outdoors a must-bring list should include:

  1. Sunscreen/sunblock
  2. Loose-fit clothing
  3. Proper footwear
  4. Change of socks/T-shirts

Other possible questions to ask:

  1. How are the children grouped? Age? Skill level?
  2. What steps are taken by the camp counselors to address discipline concerns?
  3. How does the camp address a discouraged first-time camper?

Timeliness

Parents need to arrive at drop-off/pick-up sites ahead of time. If there is a traffic tie-up, etc. have the camp phone number available to relay such a reason for a delay. Also, make certain the camp can easily access parents in the event of a child accident or illness.

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Benefits of Attending a Day Camp

Getting into the sports camp scene may seem to be a daunting task upon first glance. A parent wants a child’s camp to be a positive experience for the child (as well as for the parents). No matter the age group, the day camp alternative can be an excellent choice.

Weighing the Advantages

Enjoying the Experience (with limits)

A great reason to choose the day camp option, is the fact the child returns home in the evening. The opportunity to have your children step out of their normal routine of familiar surroundings and friends is provided without the uneasiness of the children having to sleep in a room with others they have just met. The anxiety levels for young athletes will already increase, given the fact they are going to be competing among strangers (at least until the new acquaintances become new friends). Not having to continually impress their new companions in the off-hours of camp allows for a reduction of those anxiety levels by the time the day campers reach their homes.

For the older participants (ages 12+), the day camp experience has the added attraction of being home in time to make arrangements for evening gatherings with friends from school or the neighborhood. Parents with children in this age range should pay particular attention to make sure the camp chosen caters to a broad spectrum of age ranges and skill levels. Camps offering topnotch coaching and advanced training methods are an important criteria for teens to consider.

New Learning with New Friends

Everyone needs to see change as a positive! A main reason for attending an athletic-based camp is to learn new skills. The fundamentals in sports rarely change, but different coaches teach those fundamentals in their own ways. Campers are going to be in a new and different atmosphere, an atmosphere of learning. They will be next to other campers there for the same reason. It creates an opportunity to share the new experiences and creates a natural ‘bonding’ forming new friendships between campers

Throwing Away the Safety Net

Figuratively, of course. Introductions of new ideas, renewed fundamentals – all among new friends – invigorates the athletic senses. It creates the opportunity for a child to go the extra step, to become a bit more of a risk taker. This lends to accelerating the learning process while also bringing a newfound enjoyment for the camp athletes.

Advantages for Parents

Allowing Children to ‘Spread their Wings’– without entirely losing control.

Specialty day camps allow campers to discover themselves on and off the field, in a surrounding they are familiar with. Your camper will have the freedom to explore and end their days dreaming of the goals they scored, baskets made or aces served against other campers they may see during their regular season. Nothing beats seeing the smile on your campers face after a fun-filled day of camp!

Less Worries and Concerns

The hours of day camp may alleviate a lot of the hustle and clock-watching parents must endure. At least for a few days, parents do not have to be a summer fun guide, scheduling events to occupy a child’s day. A daily drop off and pick up may provide a bit of stress reduction for parents.

New Conversation at the Dinner Table

A new daily experience for a child creates additional questions for parents to ask. The interaction can be both verbal and physical. Let the child explain and demonstrate what was learned at camp. This will also allow parents to see the child’s level of interest for the camp and can assist in determining if additional camp attendance is welcomed by the child.

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Sports and Child Development

Your child is growing and building new skills every day. Even though sports seem mostly physical, they also include other areas of development. More specifically, all of the areas of development – cognitive, social, and emotional. Understanding the connection between what your child is doing right now, can do, will do, and might not do for a while, and athletic types of activities can help to make the most of your child’s sporting experience. Learning about the sequence of child development, major milestones, and what to expect (and when) in terms of team play gives you the power to pick a sport that suits your child’s needs and abilities. So, what’s going on with your awesome athlete’s development? Check out the milestone markers that may directly affect what and how your child plays!

Preschoolers

It seems like your cute little baby just learned how to walk. And now you want to put them onto the soccer field? What? That’s right, kids as young as the preschool years are ready to start a sport. This doesn’t mean that your 3-year-old is passing the ball and scoring goals ala David Beckham. But, your sporty toddler can begin with basic activities that teach teamwork, listening/paying attention, balance and coordination. Look for these sports-related developmental milestones during the 3- to 5-year period:

Motor development. Your child is developing the abilities to:

  • Run
  • Kick a ball
  • Hop
  • Stand on one foot (for a few seconds)
  • Throw a ball (overhand, at this point)
  • Swing a bat (hitting a ball off of a tee)

Cognitive development. Your preschooler is building skills to:

  • Understand the concept of time (before the game, during the game, after the game)
  • Count up to 10
  • Follow up to a three-part command
  • Recall stories or some information that the child is told verbally
  • Participate in pretend play
  • Understand and follow rules (this is still emerging)

Social/emotional development. The milestones during the preschool years include:

  • Cooperating with others
  • Sharing
  • Taking turns
  • Resolving conflicts (this skill is only starting to emerge – the child may need adult help with this one)
  • Act independently
  • Show empathy

Kindergarteners and Young Elementary School-Aged Children

During the next few years your child is refining those preschool-period milestones. While you shouldn’t expect your young athlete to have a full grasp of sharing and turn-taking during the preschool years, as an older grade schooler you can. These budding abilities, along with developing empathy and resolving conflicts, help your child to better understand teamwork and good sportsmanship concepts.

Your child is also now able to follow a longer list of directions (in other words, more than three steps) and understands that rules are rules. During this period, kids are able to start learning about the more sophisticated rules of game play and follow a coach’s instruction.

As your sporting child is learning more about how the game is played, they’re also developing complex physical skills. Instead of stumbling often or missing the ball most of the time, your child is better able to aim and coordinate movements. This may show up as your child goes from hitting a ball off of a tee to hitting one with a bat, finally getting the ball into the basket or when they are able to move up to a new level/league.

Older Children

By the time your child is nearing the end of elementary school or starting middle school, they’re completely able to follow the sport’s rules. Young athletes, at this age, also have the ability to listen attentively to a coach, follow directions and demonstrate good sportsmanship.

When it comes to physical development, older kids are tackling complex motor tasks, building strength and improving flexibility. At this point your child may be developmentally ready for a travel team or league that provides a more competitive environment. Keep in mind, your player is still a child. They may understand that no one wins all of the time, but they won’t like losing. Your child may still stomp off the field or break out in tears when they don’t get a win.

Teens

Physically your teen may be on par with an adult when it comes to game play. Teenage athletes often specialize in one specific sport and have an amazing ability to focus on training. But, that doesn’t mean all teens have chosen one standout athletic activity. The teen years are a time of experimentation and trying to sort identity out. This may mean that your child who once loved tennis now wants to try soccer or volleyball. It’s not that your teen is indecisive, lazy or being difficult. Instead, it’s more likely that they are trying out all of their options.

Keep in mind, developmental milestones aren’t set in stone. While the sequence is fairly predictable, some children meet milestones right on time and others may be early or late.

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Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Sports

Boys play football and girls ice skate. Right? Isn’t this how it goes when it comes to sports – there are boys’ sports and then the ones that girls participate in. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even though we’ve come a long way since the days when girls stood on the sidelines cheering for the ‘big, strong boys’, gender stereotypes still persist. What can you do as a parent or a coach to break down these biases that ring false?

Avoid Stereotyped Speech

“You throw like a girl!” How many times have you heard that one? It’s the middle of baseball practice and one of the boys gently tosses the ball. It totally misses its target. Suddenly someone (it could be another child, a parent, or even a coach) makes this gendered statement. It’s so common, that you might not even think twice about it. But, what does it even mean anyway? Are girls so weak that they can barely throw a ball? Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis would probably have something to say about that.

Along with watching what you say, stay on the lookout for other people’s gendered speech. If you overhear a child spouting off stereotypes, don’t immediately jump in and yell. Stop the child and ask them what they mean and why they said it. In some cases, the child might be repeating something they heard (and have no idea what it truly means). Discuss why it’s not okay to speak this way, why this type of talk is insulting and how both girls and boys can play sports – all sports.

Be a Role Model

Who says that only dads can coach baseball or that mom’s role is to hand out the after-game snacks? Acting as a role model is an easy way to show your child, or your team, what you mean when you say, “We don’t believe in gender stereotypes.”

Asking a few of the moms to coach or help coach (or volunteering yourself) shows the players that women can be just as knowledgeable and ‘into’ sports as men are. This type of traditional (in other words, stereotyped) role reversal helps girls to see that they can do anything a boy can do, while at the same time showing boys that females can be strong sports figures.

Look to the Pros

Professional sports figures have an almost superhero-like status, especially when it comes to how kids view them. Use this to teach your child (or your team) that gender stereotypes shouldn’t exist. Do some biographical work and take a look at some of the most powerful, famous and influential women in sports history. This includes super-star sisters Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Abbott, Rhonda Rousey, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Maria Sharapova, Mia Hamm, Billie Jean King and many, many others.

Yes, learning about these awesome athletes gives your little girl a boost when it comes to being confident in a woman’s ability. But, it’s equally as important that boys learn about these fabulous female figures too. They need to know that men aren’t the only ones who dominate in the athletic arena.

Try a Boys-and-Girls League

Some sports leagues/classes don’t differentiate between boys’ and girls’ teams. If you have the opportunity to try one of these out, take it. This shows both young boys and girls that they can play the same sports, in the same way, at the same time. It breaks the gender stereotypes and forces kids to realize that they’re all equal when it comes to game play.

So, the next time your son says, “That boy runs like a girl” or your daughter says, “Eww football! That’s for boys,” turn their ideas around. Let them know that men and women (or boys and girls) can all be athletes – no matter what the game is!

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Girls and Sports: Mallory Pugh

Girls and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly. Really! Even though sports such as football, baseball and even soccer seem like they’re dominated by men, take a look around at all of the awesome women winners out there. From tennis greats such as the Williams’ sisters to the embers of the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team, girls totally represent when it comes to sports. One of these fabulous women is Mallory Pugh. She might not be much older than you, but she is already a sports star on the rise. At only 18-years-old, Pugh was the youngest player ever in the U.S. Women’s National Team player pool. And, that’s not all.

Bright Beginnings

Even though Mallory Pugh is a well-known soccer sensation now, she once was a little girl who tagged along to her older sister’s club practices. It was there, at these practices, that her mad soccer skills started shining bright. Of course, that doesn’t mean Pugh hadn’t played before. She started at the young age of four, and then followed in her sister’s footsteps. It didn’t take long for Mallory to become a standout though. In 2010 and 2011, she helped her team (Real Colorado) win state titles. In 2013 and 2014, Pugh helped Real Colorado win runner-up at the national championships. She was also named MVP of her regional tournament.

During Pugh’s junior year in high school, the soccer player scored a whopping 24 goals and had 12 assists in 18 games, helping her (high school) team get to the state semifinals.

Olympic Goal

She might just be a girl from a town outside of Denver, Colorado, but when Pugh hit the Olympic soccer field in the 2016 games, she made a stir. That’s to say the least. The then-18-year-old player was the second youngest woman to compete in an Olympic soccer game since 1904. Not only did she make news for this, but she also became the youngest player to score a goal during an Olympic game – and that is ever!

Player of the Year

As a high school junior, Pugh won Gatorade’s National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Award. But, that’s not the only award this young player has won. In 2014, she also won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Youth National Player of the Year for club soccer.

Sports and Education

Don’t think that Pugh put off school entirely just because she has an amazing soccer ability. Yes, she had to take time off from her education to train and compete at an Olympic level. But, the sports standout also graduated from high school and made plans to attend college. Her post-high school educational career includes attending UCLA (starting in January of 2017), where she will also play for their soccer team.

What can you learn from Mallory Pugh? That with hard work, focus and practice, you can do anything you set your mind on! To score an Olympic goal at the age of 18 shows that anything is possible. If you come up against obstacles, or someone tells you that you just won’t succeed, think about Pugh. Remember that there was a time when she was just a little girl trying to follow her sister’s lead. Now she’s a leader – showing the world that women are exceptional athletes too!

Photo Credit:  Makaiyla Willis (CC by 2.0)