Preparing for the Next Goal: SLSG Paves the Way for Women’s Advancement in Soccer

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St. Louis Scott Gallagher’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Boosts Opportunities for Careers in Coaching and Advanced Play for Girls at All Levels

St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club

With the Women’s Leadership Initiative, we are building the whole person. We are helping these girls gain skills and confidence that will help them in school, in their professional pursuits, and throughout their lives.

St. Louis Scott Gallagher (SLSG) is celebrating the close of its first full season of the successful female centered leadership program, the Women’s Leadership Initiative, that has resulted in increases in female club participation and leadership. After a full year of the program, more than 40 percent of the girls in the Club have at least one female coach, up from just 10 percent in prior years.

In 2021, as the number of girls registered in the club increased by over 5 percent to just under 1600, so did the number of females seeking coaching, leadership, and role model positions. Now with sixteen female staff members, guest speakers, and participants, it is estimated that on a weekly basis the initiative is impacting over 500 girls in SLSG’s soccer community.

The coming 2021-22 season will mark the second full year of SLSG’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, and the club is just warming up. Its mission is to help girls and women advance into leadership positions on and off the field, both in the traditional world of soccer coaching and at all levels of play. The commitment is natural for SLSG, a founding member of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), known as a pioneer in promoting standards for female advancement in the sport.

“We began this initiative because we wanted our girls to be coached more often by relatable role models who represented them and what they could achieve,” said Girls Director of Coaching, Scott McDoniel. “With the Women’s Leadership Initiative, we are building the whole person. We are helping these girls gain skills and confidence that will help them in school, in their professional pursuits, and throughout their lives.”

The Women’s Leadership Initiative provides scholarships for women to pursue coaching certification, offers coaching clinics to give players a path to explore opportunities beyond the field, and brings in a regular slate of speakers to share advice and experiences with younger players.

These sessions have grown to more than 200 athletes engaging with speakers virtually, asking questions and getting advice. The program serves all girls - from those that are determined to pursue soccer careers, to those that are interested in tips for playing on their high school teams.

“It is evolving all of the time,” said McDoniel. “The more we interact with the kids around these topics, the more we are inspired to cover more and offer more opportunities. We are currently meeting once per month, but we would love to offer multiple activities per month.”

One popular program featured SLSG alumnus Syd Stephens who participated in the pilot Leadership Initiative as a captain for her U18/19 team. As a player for University of Georgia, Stephens came back to share life lessons as a college player. The theme for the meeting was “If you’re not a leader on the bench, you can’t be a leader on the field.”

Another program success story is current SLSG player and Women’s Leadership Initiative participant Alyssa Bockius, a member of the ECNL U16 team. Bockius is poised to become the first player in club history to obtain her level D coaching license (the first step towards professional coaching) and serve as a head coach for an SLSG team, while also playing for the club.

If you’d like to learn more about the SLSG Leadership Initiative and opportunities to play and coach the game of soccer, visit

About St. Louis Scott Gallagher
St. Louis Scott Gallagher (SLSG) is on a mission to positively impact players on and off the field. The “Five Shield Values” of unity, humility, passion, respect, and tradition form the foundation on which the organization develops excellent, well-rounded soccer players that become leaders in their communities. Today’s SLSG organization is the result of merging the talents and resources of three of St. Louis’s premier soccer clubs in 2008 - St. Louis Soccer Club, Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, and Metro United Soccer Club. The organization serves players from entry level all the way through to the professional ranks with over 250 teams from recreational to highly competitive levels, including a relationship with the Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA) Power Soccer team, the City Program, USL League, and a Women’s League. SLSG has emerged as a national leader in youth soccer, building on a proud history of field success and a culture of excellence. For more information, visit

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Melissa Barreca
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