Spring is here and Think Together students can’t wait to get back on the soccer field.

With longer days, better weather, and plenty of sunshine, now is the perfect time to get outside and get active. We had a chat with U.S. Soccer Foundation Coach and Think Together Quality Assurance Coach Coraima Lopez to learn more about how Think Together is keeping students healthy, fit, and safe. 

Q. Thanks for sitting down with us, tell us a little bit about yourself?

A. I have been working for Think Together for 4 years and have been a soccer coach for 2 years. I grew up watching sports with my parents and especially soccer. My favorite part about soccer is the matchups during the soccer games. It creates a great debate and great fun. We are always trying to find out who the superior team is, and we are destined to be right. 

Q. Do you have a favorite soccer team?

A. I would say that my favorite soccer team is Real Madrid. I like Real Madrid because some of my favorite players have played there, legends such as Beckham, Ronaldo, Casillas, and Zidane because they have won the most European champion leagues. 

Q. As one of our soccer coaches, what have been some of the challenges this last year has brought and what tools have you used to overcome them?

A. As a soccer coach, I think of a challenge as a new learning opportunity to support students and their needs and see them succeed. My ability to condition the students’ athletic minds and to train them to think as a team, while at the same time, making sure each athlete approaches his skills with total concentration, intensity, and skill. There should never be a moment that a player doesn’t feel challenged both physically and intellectually. Being united as a team and maintaining that unity overcomes any challenges that we come across with. 

Q. Can you tell us about how Think Together is keeping students healthy and active in-person and online?

A. Think Together is keeping students healthy and active in person and virtually. Think Together staff offer students many opportunities like exercising, staying fit, building strength, improve coordination, and cardiovascular health. Virtually, the staff has made soccer a physical activity club in our programs where they use soccer for success curriculum to teach our students about nutrition, mental wellness, and physical wellness. Students join our soccer club, and they are excited to learn different drills to better support their skills. 

Q. How do students like Soccer for Success

A. Students love soccer for success. This curriculum supports our staff to break down steps to learn a drill, maneuver the soccer ball, kick the ball and so much more. Students enjoy seeing their friends and share their success in accomplishing a new soccer move. They enjoy learning about healthy lifestyles and prefer to be active outside than being at home. Students recognize the wealth and dedication our program advocates to change the odds for kids. 

All of us at Think Together are looking forward to the day when we can return to our traditional Soccer for Success programming in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Like us, the U.S. Soccer Foundation had to pivot its curriculum to work in a COVID-environment. 

In Think Together’s in-person hubs, students can still practice their skills using the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s adapted curriculum, which was launched ahead of the fall 2020 season. This adapted curriculum allows Soccer for Success program operators across the country to run the program across a variety of settings – from pre-recorded sessions to live virtual sessions to in-person socially-distanced sessions. Throughout the 12-week season, coach-mentors use these sessions to help participants practice their talents, with lessons on ball control, passing, defending, and more.