A podcast about youth mentorship

Developing Players Between the Lines and Outside Them

Share this Episode

Back when Michael Worden was a kid, soccer wasn’t a mainstream sport. With no MLS and no FIFA, it wasn’t as commonplace for American youth as it is today.

Mike’s affinity for soccer started at an early age after befriending some neighbors from Central America, where soccer was engrained into culture. Playing pickup games in the front yard with his friends, he developed a love for soccer and competition that he’d carry with him for the rest of his life.

Mike’s club soccer coach was pivotal in shaping his development. At the club level, competition can get intense – especially for teenagers competing at a high level. Mike’s coach instilled a sense of balance and gave him techniques for managing his emotions.

In college, commitment to soccer rose exponentially. Training was much more regimented with early morning conditioning and hours on the field after practice. Though the commitment level was higher, the demands and pressure only elevated Mike to perform at his best.

After graduating from American University in 2011, Mike found himself struggling to find work amid a recession. He decided to take a year off to travel, coach, and prepare for law school the following year. To fund his gap year, Mike and his friends and former teammates offered private training sessions, ultimately pouring the foundation for Player Progression Academy.

“It snowballed serendipitously,” Mike recalls fondly of how the organization took off in popularity. What began as a group of recent college grads training youth soccer players has grown into a community dedicated to celebrating the camaraderie of sports and the transcendent lessons that only sports can teach.

Player Progression Academy continues to grow its footprint, partnering with other local youth activity programs like Open Door Sports (https://onthewhistle.com/coachingcompassion/) and expanding their services to more children through a growing array of programs. PPA’s mission is to be the most impactful and respected youth sports academy in their community and they’re well on their way!

Join the discussion