If you haven't been, then it is really important that you understand what the environment is like. Imagine, a location with thousands of Soccer people in a purpose built environment that thrives on your participation.
After a seminar ends (fields or classroom) there is a 30 minute window until the next one begins. Good luck getting around and to your destination in time.
Why? Because people want to talk - you might see people you know from your environment, an opposing coach from somewhere along the way, you might see someone 'famous'.
Because you might see something you like - There is podcast row, an exhibition hall full of 'toys' (per Todd Beane)
Because you might change your mind and wander into a new room or explore something else.
General consensus was that the overall presenter quality was lower than previous years - some big names were missing.
- The counter was that there was much less overlap of sessions and it was easy to see all of your preferred speakers / topics.
The exhibition hall continues to support Soccer 'gold rush'. Be careful when entering here!
Every big name throws some sort of social. Don't get yourself into a mess on the free booze!
The diplomas on offer through the United Soccer Coaches are so valuable for you to have a structure to your convention experience, but also to guide you through some excellent speakers / sessions that are relevant to you - several years ago I followed an Urban Soccer track and this year I followed the Director of Coaching track. There is so much quality on offer!
It is expensive.
$? for convention pass, travel, hotel, and socials...
Justify your cost - follow a diploma track, add value to your organization.
Maximize your experience.
Write about it. Create content. Network with open-minded people who you wouldn't be able to connect with otherwise. Ask questions. Take pictures. Share and love.
I produced two podcasts in summary of my experience and you can listen to them here:
I was also incredibly privileged to interview two amazing people.
#1 - Erik Oman. Director of the Puget Sound Soccer League and an MLS match assessor, but more importantly, Erik was my instructor through the 'NSCAA National Diploma' 10 years ago.
We have remained connected through events like the convention and this time I was prepared to get some of his knowledge recorded and the podcast from that is coming shortly.
#2 - Dan Abrahams. Dan is a sports psychologist and regarded by many as one of the leaders in applied sport psychology - he works with professional athletes and is currently (January 2020) working with a very special Liverpool player, though he wouldn't say who!
We connected via Twitter as he has been working on his own material and wants to spread the word - what better way than knocking your socks off with some incredible insight for how to encourage your athletes to dominate the mental side of the game. He also has an outstanding podcast called the 'Sports Psych Show'
These are examples of two experienced individuals who I might not have been able to interview otherwise - Gotta love the convention!
You should go next year - I'll see you there.