Later this week, staff members from both 4ATX Foundation and the Austin FC Academy will travel to Washington D.C. to speak at Urban Soccer Symposium, a conference that brings together leaders in the field of sports-based youth development. It will mark the second consecutive year that the organizations have attended the conference.
Together, staff members will present about the unique and innovative collaboration between 4ATX Foundation and the Austin FC Academy which trains elite youth players and coaches in Restorative Practices and helps players manage the pressure of a high-performance environment while preparing them to become good members of their community.
“We are proud that our Academy and our Foundation have come together to create a new approach to player and youth development,” said 4ATX Foundation Executive Director Kaitlin Mauro. “The Urban Soccer Symposium is an exciting opportunity to share our model on a national platform, where we hope to inspire leaders in sports-based youth development from around the country.”
The presentation, which will take place on Friday, March 25 from 10:15-11:30 a.m. ET, will have attendees participate first-hand in Restorative Practices. 4ATX Foundation Program Coordinator Pepe Rangel, 4ATX Foundation Director of Youth Development Jordan Marden, and Austin FC Academy U12 Head Coach Memo Sifuentes will teach attendees how the organizations work together and use their philosophy to create spaces and foster an environment for adults and youth to feel understood.
"The Austin FC Academy has fully integrated Restorative Circles into our training curriculum and we believe in providing this holistic environment to our players," said Austin FC Academy General Manager Tyson Wahl. "Restorative Circles provide the opportunity for players learn how to express themselves and ensures that our players know we care about each player as a person, not only a soccer player."
Integration of ideas such as an Indigenous approach to community-building will demonstrate the organizations’ long-term vision of expanding these types of practices to afterschool programs throughout Austin and across the entirety of the Austin FC Academy.