STEP will utilize the social and environmental allure (magnetism) of soccer in the community to attract children into the program and positively impact the academic levels of those participants. Soccer is the sport of choice in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park. Through many years of local involvement and experience working with the youth of EPA and EMP, the directors of STEP are well positioned in the community to channel that cultural passion and create a synergistic alignment with an academic tutoring program. The ultimate goal of STEP is to provide a strong academic background for children to carry into middle and high school and not only a quality soccer program but also a sense of community through the sport. The idea is that both of these factors will help encourage the children to seek further academic development beyond high school and into college. Since 1991 the directors of STEP have been coaching youth soccer in the Peninsula. Our aim has consistently been to provide top level professional coaching, balanced adult role models and a supportive learning environment for youth soccer players, both boys and girls of all ages and levels. During this time, we have accepted many children into our program from EPA, EMP and other communities throughout the Peninsula by providing scholarships, pro-bono coaching and most importantly, creating lasting friendships with many who now have families of their own and are residents of the surrounding community. Through STEP we are seeking to combine our experience in the soccer community with a scholastic program that will positively impact the future of the children in EPA and EMP.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE
The STEP program objective is to provide academic tutoring and soccer Instruction to the young girls and boys of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park. The children would be aged between 5 and 9 years. Selection criteria and continued enrollment is based on, but not limited to, several factors.
These factors being, academic need and performance, financial need and consistent attendance. Specifically, STEP will provide an academic assistance program for children aged 5 to 9 years. Initially we will have a ratio of 1 to 3 tutor to participant. Once the program is established and our volunteer tutor base grows we will have a 1 to 1 tutor/participant ratio. Tutors will come from the local mid peninsula high schools, junior colleges and the vast local university student base, not to mention the adult community. The children will also participate in the Soccer Academy (directed by the Union Football Academy, UFA).
Participation at the Academy will require that children and the families thereof commit to disciplined scholastic improvement and maintain acceptable academic standards and consistent participation. We would seek to create a congenial relationship between STEP, the child's family and their elementary school in order to provide guidance and a system of accountability for the child from their immediate social environment.
One of the most important elements in the future success of the STEP program will be the vital role which parents will be asked to play. Parents will be called upon to ensure their child remains committed to the program and be prepared, should the occasion present itself, to deal with any discipline issues directly or indirectly affecting their child and attendance at the STEP program. We will encourage parental communication with the program staff and hope to build friendships in the community through this connection. Our best support is the fundamental support of and by the community itself.
Goals for Our First Year
Simon Ireland & Gary Ireland
Over the past thirteen years, the Ireland brothers are responsible for having brought the game of soccer, as both players and youth coaches, to new heights. Their passion for the sport has touched thousands of players, young and old, boys and girls, men and women. Their dedication to performance excellence has been unwavering in spite of the culture of results oriented' (must win) approach to youth sports. They have insisted on developing talent by insisting that repetitive skill based education is in the best interest of the young athlete. A formula that has been proven many times over by graduates from their coaching programs, who have gone on to have successful soccer experiences at many U.S. colleges, National Teams and some establishing professional careers in the men's and women's arena. The brothers have provided professional soccer services on four continents including a special marketing promotion partnership with Nestle in Indonesia, appearances on the famous Pele's own soccer television show, creating and managing international tours for National, Club and select teams and assisted the Prince of Brunei in establishing his own professional team. Also they have been instrumental in bringing the .world's game' to everyone by marketing some of the worlds most popular skills coaching video series by Wiel Coerver and most recently chosen by GSM media to consult & market their acclaimed interactive coaching CD.
Gary Ireland brings to the program a wealth of soccer and business experience. He possesses an MBA (Football Industries) from the prestigious University of Liverpool, England. As a coach, none can claim any higher achievement in the game, as he was also a member of the staff at the world famous Liverpool Football Club Youth Academy.
Simon Ireland is the older brother who founded World Soccer Inc. WS Inc. is the flagship coaching program which has been the coaching program by which all other programs in the San Francisco Bay Area are measured. An uncompromising commitment to providing the best quality youth soccer instruction has placed World Soccer and its carefully selected staff, as the unrivaled industry leader in the eyes of the soccer community.