Social Club looking to instill core values as part of revamp
Young Men's Social Club are harking back to their past to greater improve their future, both on and off the field.
In a move to help integrate the whole club through their various age levels, the Hamilton-based side are implementing a host of new programmes, while also attempting to restructure the club, with additional positions available to B-licensed coaches to take on responsibilities with the men's senior team and also within the youth levels.
The move will also involve Troy Lewis, who has coached the men's senior First Division team, focus his attention on the youngest members from the ages of 3 to 7 years old, to help instil the core values of the club with the aim of carrying them through with them into the senior ranks.
However, Lewis, who holds the role as vice-president, was quick to reiterate that Social Club represents far more than just sporting success.
“We want to ensure that we have proper persons that are qualified to mentor our players,” said Lewis, the father of Bermuda forward Zeiko. “Sport is not our main objective, but rather the development of people as individuals.
“Having good coaches is just one part of members development. From the youth leagues all the way to the seniors, we want them to have the same ideals whatever stage they join us.
“It's not so much how many games we win over the weekend; it's more about the people coming through our club going out and being a productive member of society within the community. Last year I was the coach, but I need to refocus back on the youth members and the club itself.
“We are looking for coaches with a similar mentality to us for the younger levels. If they're only worried about winning games, that's not what we're looking for, we want a focus on every individual.
“We would welcome anyone based in Bermuda to get involved if they have the right credentials. We have always been inclusive and so if you can play a role in the community we'd welcome you to be involved.
“Having different people involved from different backgrounds helps create a host of ideologies that everyone can learn and develop from.”
That focus back on the youth section of the club continues the process that restarted back in 2006, after there was no youth programme for 26 years prior to its reintroduction. It is the area that Lewis believes is the most vital to help preserve the future of the club.
“Not having a youth programme for so long meant we had a bridge between the generations where those who have children now weren't involved with the club in their youth,” he added.
“Having that focus back on the youth and the individuals means that we can create a real development of the club and create a generational community within the club. I am dedicating my time to the youngest age group because our objective is to have our most experienced coaches with the lowest age because it's the most important stage to teach the fundamentals and if we can do that early on, they'll progress through with the right attributes.”
However, the programmes are not solely based on ability on the pitch, with the club keen to encourage different aspects and skill sets. One such move, in co-operation with Colonial, one of their longstanding sponsors, the club are offering opportunities in learning into technology education such as electronics, Photoshop, circuit building, drone flying and video editing.
Although it may seem like an odd move for a sports club, Lewis reiterated the fact it strengthens the club's longstanding core value of inclusion.
“Sport only goes so far, so for us it's important to focus on the role you can play in the greater picture,” Lewis said.
“Some people might be great athletically, but we also want to encourage people to get involved in other aspects of the club at the youth section such as learning to fly drones to record games, video editing, and other aspects because for us it is about inclusion, whether you're great on the sports field or not.
“If we don't have a team for a certain age group, there our other areas that they can get involved in within the club, such as the video recording and editing, it's all about complete inclusion.
“We don't want to discourage people just because they are not the best football players. We need to create people to be the next treasurer of the club, the next president, and so on, so it is important to see what every person who comes to the club could develop to be.”
On the field, the club has also built strong relationships with outside specialist coaching networks such as the Iconz Experience, which have hosted football camps over the past two years, with links to professional clubs such as Watford and most recently Salford.
“For the players that do want to follow that elite path we also have avenues and relationships with companies like Iconz, who have come here to look for players to go on and have trials at clubs,” Lewis added.
“This year we had Salford here looking for academy players and Watford will be returning later this year looking for young players.
“That is one pathway we are helping to create for both recreational and elite players, not just for our club but Bermuda as a whole because we are just one small spoke in the bigger wheel of the community.”
That greater perspective of community is also a key for the club, with Lewis determined to use the sport as a vehicle to have a positive effect on Bermuda as a whole, another longstanding core value.
“Clubs have to find a way of bringing people back together, not so much from a sporting aspect, but reconnecting socially within a community,” Lewis added. “Even those who are so-called troublemakers we can reach out and help them within the community and build a better relationship with the individual.
“Social Club has always been a place of welcoming anyone in, regardless of where you've come from and trying to help people come together to be better.
“A lot of clubs have seen their focus move towards success on the field because that is where the spotlight is, but it has come at the detriment of the club's socially.
“Football can be used as a platform to change the community and when you have qualified coaches you can use aspects of the game to help change mentality off the field.”