Often times in youth sports, we find ourselves alone in a sea of men. We are fighting an uphill battle of the good ole boy network, cultural stereotypes, and sexism. How do we make an impact in the youth games like we are beginning to do at the college and professional levels? Women in Youth Sports Coalition is a world-wide resource to women who want to pursue a career in youth sports and also for those who are not sure if this is the career choice for them.
We will provide an avenue to discuss issues that may be affecting your progress. We will also help you develop the necessary skills to compete and succeed in this male dominated industry. We will assist in any area of sports like administration, managerial, coaching, and athletic training. We also are open to any youth sport that the world is participating in.
Navigating the youth sports world is not easy for anyone, especially a female. We formed our community to help you set a plan, put it into action to accomplish your goals, and become the leader in youth sports that you envision.
The inspiration for this organization came from the constant frustration from the lack of numbers of female participants in the higher level coaching courses and also not seeing female coaches on the sidelines of coaching older and elite level players around the country. We began looking at the make-up of youth soccer organizations and determined that women coaches did not have a support system to help them progress within youth soccer ranks. We recognized that there are several other committees and groups that are trying to help with inequalities of women in coaching, but most of them are geared toward the collegiate and professional ranks. No one is concentrating their efforts on the youth side of the game and the challenges that women face in this part of the game. That is why Women in Youth Sports Coalition (WiYSC) is vitally important for the growth of the game.
WiYSC is a platform for female coaches and administrators within the youth game to find the support, advice, and resources to progress and succeed in this highly competitive environment. Youth coaches need a place to discuss, learn, and expand the issues that they face everyday.
Who We Are
Our founding team consists of women who have been around sport their entire lives as players, coaches, administrators, and/or parents. We love what sport does for kids of all ages and recognize its value on and off the field.
Karla Thompson, Founder & President
A coach for over 25 years Karla has coached at all levels and age groups, including NCAA Division I collegiate soccer. For the last sixteen years Karla has spent the majority of her time in the youth game. More specifically she has held the positions of Technical Director and Assistant Technical Director of Player Development in Maryland and Arizona, respectively. Now and for the last seven years, Karla spends her time enhancing the level of coaching across the United States as a National Instructor for USYSA and US Soccer. Currently, Karla is on the coaching staff for the Region IV and Region I ODP girls teams.
Karla holds both the USSF "A" and National Youth Licenses. She sits on several NSCAA committees to advance soccer in the United States.
Jene' Baclawski, Vice President of Development
Currently the Assistant Director of Coaching for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association Jene’ Baclawski has tremendous experience as a youth club coach, instructor, Academy Director, board member, and Olympic Development Program coach. Additionally, she spends her time advancing the beautiful game as an instructor for the South Texas Coaching Education program, a coordinator with the Soccer Across America, and a member of the NSCAA Youth Advocacy Group. Jene' spent many years coaching at the NCAA Division III collegiate level as the Head Women’s Coach at Southwestern University and Assistant Women’s Coach at Emory University.
Jene' holds both the USSF “A” and National Youth Licenses. She earned a Master's Degree in Women's Studies from Georgia State University focusing on issues of gender and sports and is completing her Ph.D. in Sports Studies from the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on parental involvement in youth sports and analyzes how gender, race, and socio-economic class connect to the roles parents play in the process of sport socialization.
Jennifer Pfeiffer, Vice President of Membership
Jennifer is the Director of Coaching for Arkansas State Soccer Association where she leads coach and player development throughout all levels of youth programs. Prior to her appointment, she served as the Associate Director of Coaching for Illinois State Youth Soccer Association. Her involvement in coaching education courses, Olympic Development Program, recreational program development, referee reviews, and membership for US Youth and US Soccer has given her exposure to every facet of youth soccer and enables her to provide expertise and insight to enhance the game and youth sport experience throughout the nation.
Being a student of the game goes along with her passion for the game. Jennifer has an "A" license as well as National Goalkeeper, National Youth, and Referee licenses from the USSF. She also holds Premier, Advanced Goalkeeper, and Youth National diplomas from the NSCAA.
Carla DeSantis, Vice President of Alliances
As the former Assistant Technical Director for Massachusetts Youth Soccer Carla relies on her vast experience as a player and coach to develop coaches and players and help them reach their goals. She has coached at all levels of the game from high school to DI NCAA. Her coaching opportunities took her around the United States providing her with a unique perspective and appreciation for how youth coaching is and can be. Carla is a member of the Senior Coaching Staff of Region 1 Olympic Development Program.
She holds both a USSF "A" license and a Premier Diploma from the NSCAA. Additionally, Carla earned the US Youth Soccer National "Youth" License (currently known as US Soccer Coaching Certification) and is a member of the US Youth Soccer instructional staff.
Jennifer Hoglin, Vice President of Marketing
A specialist in Marketing for over twenty-five years, Jennifer has been fortunate to travel the world capturing voice of customer, voice of market, and internal perspectives to build strategies and tactics in new product development, support existing products, and grow brands. The size of the companies where she has worked vary from multi-nationals to start-ups. Her career has taken her across diverse industries like medical device, professional software, consumer products, education systems, and molecular diagnostics.
Jennifer passed her strong passion for sport, especially soccer, and experience as a NCAA Division I soccer player onto her four children. Each is actively involved in soccer and appreciating the power of sport and its learning on and off the field.