On Thursday, June 8th, FC Wisconsin players from U8 to U19, and from Madison to Milwaukee to Green Bay to Racine, came together for the annual Sand Soccer and BBQ event at Bradford Beach.
Coaches Andy Lee and Monica Gonyo led the activities on the beach, with skill contests and competitions of all varieties. Even former coach Vito Parente made an appearance to say hi to the players and jump into some matches. Meanwhile, coaches Christian Lavers, Hayley Lavers, and Joana Bielefeld were hard at work preparing the food - grilling dozens and dozens of burgers and hot dogs, and laying out the chips, cookies, Gatorade and more. When the players were finally done with the games, the food was barely finished and ready to fuel them up. After eating and socializing, an impromptu talent show broke out with singing, dancing, karate, and more as players shared their fun and goofy side with everyone.
"This event gets bigger and better every year," said Andy Lee. "It is always great to see the older girls interact so positively with the younger players, and everyone loves being down at the beach on a beautiful day."
"Part of the culture of our club is for the older players to mentor and give back to the younger players," said Hayley Lavers. "On this day you really see how important, and how much fun that process is, when you see players of all ages laughing, playing together, and helping each other. It is the true definition of the club."
Peer mentoring and role modeling happens every day at the club in training, with senior players working with the Youth Academy Players in nearly every session, and players from all age groups giving each other feedback on decisions and technique on a regular basis.
"A learning environment becomes infinitely more powerful and effective when the players take on the role of teacher as well, whether in helping a teammate read the game better, helping another master a technique, or just investing their time in someone else," said Christian Lavers. "Our players have embraced that belief, and it is making them all better. Today it was great to see them having fun in a different way, and to see the way the fond way the Youth Academy players react to the senior players off the field."
For more photos of the event, click here.
Thank you to everyone for coming out!