Ellisa Podemski believes when you put the time and effort into teaching a young athlete, they learn much more than how to kick a ball or handle a stick.

Podemski has been coaching boys’ soccer in Airdrie for six years and she says she sees players develop many skills over the course of a season including teamwork, perseverance, compassion, grace, kindness and supportiveness.

“They develop time management skills as they have to balance both practices and school, and organizational skills to ensure they are prepared for both practices and games,” she says.

“They practice goal setting and focus exercises that will hopefully help them become successful in setting and achieving their long-term dreams.”

She says what is most rewarding about coaching is watching the players develop as athletes and as young human beings and seeing them form strong bonds with their teammates.

“Ellisa is teaching our young athletes how to work as a team, how to set goals, how to challenge themselves, and how to be aware and accountable, not only to themselves but also to the team, parents and coaches as a whole,” says Erin Leggett, whose son plays on the U12 club soccer team that Podemski coaches.

“These are all transferable qualities and skills that will no doubt help them in becoming successful young adults and contributing members of our community in the future.”