By Shellie Miller
One of the most successful soccer programs in our area is the only officially recognized travel soccer program in the City of Coral Springs, the Springs Soccer Club. We have written about SSC multiple times in the past and they have done so much to promote the sport, encourage sportsmanship, and lead athletes in the most positive direction for their future goals.
A major coach and influencer of the club is Coral Springs resident and Executive Director, Laurie Thomas, wife of co-founder, Roger Thomas, and a soccer phenom in her own right. For more than 20 years, she has been coaching local athletes, including her own sons, who are both successful in professional soccer.
One of her most recent accomplishments is in her position as Assistant Head Coach for the Jamaica Football Federation Women’s National team, also known as the “Reggae Girlz”, was coaching in the Women’s World Cup which was held in Australia July 20 – August 20, 2023. Taking into account a much smaller population than most countries, Coach Laurie and the Reggae Girlz broke world records this August in their first winning Women’s World Cup performance, bumping Brazil off course in their historic performance which landed the girlz into the Round of 16.
In our discussion about the local club versus the international team, Coach Laurie sees many similarities, such as at all ages, she believes that women’s sports is an effective tool to build young ladies’ self-esteem and confidence, this is the same for boys as well. “There are a lot of parallels,“ she begins, “in terms of preparation, both on and off the field, as well as goals that we set.“ She intimates that, although the girls on the Jamaican National Team are professionals, the way the program at the Springs Soccer Club (SSC) is led are very similar, which is one of the reasons why SSC is so successful! Coach Laurie is the executive Director of SSC, whose roster includes six female coaches.
As we delve further into the future for women’s soccer, Laurie tells me that her intention in Coral Springs is to help every girl see that they could have a prolific future in soccer… Whether she is an outstanding athlete, has a talent for coaching, or wants to be a referee…She is excited to share her experience and knowledge of the game to all players in the SSC. Laurie sees that there are positive opportunities for women in soccer all over the world.
Laurie’s focus, whether she is talking about a team from Springs SC or her team from Jamaica has always been player development and the teaching process is on-going. For her, that is a primary necessity. She says that from entry level to pros, working on a player’s mentality (mind-set), tactical understanding, technical skills, social and emotional skills, as well as their physical game are always a priority. SSC prides itself in parent education. For the best development of the player, Coach Laurie says it’s important to educate the parents in order to keep goals realistic while supporting the player.
In the meanwhile, Laurie is currently working with the Reggae Girlz in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers, held in Kingston, Jamaica and Toronto, Canada in late September . They are very excited about that! Whether you are rooting for your favorite team in the Springs Soccer Club, or you feel passionate about Jamaica, we are blessed to have an amazing professional in our community who loves both.