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Future of Fitness

Apr 22, 2020

Today I have Erica Suter as my guest. We’re getting into the world of youth sports, and how competitive and business-minded it has become. 

Erica is a strength and conditioning coach, whose passion lies in youth sports and training young players to become strong, resilient and creative, while still enjoying the game. 

Give us your background; how did you get here, and what do you do? (01:15)

  • Erica says she has been a strength and conditioning coach for eight years; her main focus is on elementary, middle and high school kids. She does have college athletes training with her, who has been with her since a young age.
  • Soccer has always been a joyous part of her life. She played soccer while in college, and when she graduated she became a volunteer and coach for young kids in Brazil. 
  • She was unsure of her future, so she started looking for ways to make a career out of coaching. When she returned from Brazil, she started training athletes in her free time.
  • She noticed that her training was taking off, so she left her job six months later and started coaching full time. 

What advice would you give someone who's new in the industry, and not getting a lot of traction? (09:12)

  • Erica says consistency is the key factor in becoming successful. 
  • The most important thing to keep in mind is that people need to do something they’re passionate about and can post about every day; something that doesn’t feel like an obligation. 
  • This can be a video compilation of their training or services, it can be podcasting or having an active Twitter account. 
  • Gaining traction shouldn’t be your only goal; make this a journey in finding yourself and what you’re good at. 

How has soccer changed over the last 10 years in North America? (11:40)

  • The first thing Erica mentions is that soccer has become faster and more physical, and of course, more competitive. 
  • More and more youngsters are becoming involved in soccer, especially female athletes. 
  • She adds that because it’s become so competitive, kids are finding less joy in soccer, as they seem to be experiencing a lot of pressure. 
  • People are forgetting the purpose of youth sports. The pressure has led kids to compare themselves on social media; they aren’t playing for fun anymore, they are playing to become professional, or get a college scholarship. 

Early specialization isn’t necessarily a good thing. Where do you think the most pressure is coming from, parents, or coaches? (13:07)

  • Erica says it’s a combination of both. However, she tries to be forgiving with parents, as they are receiving all sorts of information, and in most cases, they don’t know any better.
  • Parents are most likely forced into early specialization. The world of sports is rapidly becoming a world of business. It may be that parents don’t realize this is the direction they’re heading in, but the system is forcing them to go there.
  • With sports becoming a business, parents are forced to keep up with tournaments, club fees, and leagues. 
  • As a way of approaching this problem, she always advises parents to let their children take part in additional activities outside of their primary sport; something that is more for relaxation.
  • She adds that seeing a strength and conditioning coach will allow kids to learn a variety of skills and movement, which will enhance their primary sport. 

Expand on how soccer changed your life and put you in a safe place (14:32)

  • Erica says she has always been thankful for soccer, and how much she loves it. She had good role models and coaches growing up. 
  • She was in a very abusive relationship in high school, which almost cost her her happiness. She was willing to quit soccer and follow her boyfriend at the time to college. 
  • The day before early admissions were due to John Hopkins University, she realized soccer had always been her safe place and she wasn’t ready to give it up. 
  • Erica remembers the moment she told her parents that she was ending the relationship and playing soccer at John Hopkins, as one of the most memorable moments of her life.


Connect with Erica on LinkedIn

Visit Total Youth Soccer Fitness Website