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Lessons from a Passionate Coach: Belief, Hard Work, and Resilience

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In this episode of the podcast, hosts Matt and Joy sit down with Amber Matthews, the Director of Operations and Staff Coach for FC United.

Amber delves into her role at FC United, which entails the day-to-day operations of the club, such as player registration, communication with parents and coaches, scheduling, and organizing accommodations for away games. While she expresses her passion for coaching and being on the field with the kids, she also acknowledges the challenging aspect of the job, namely the time commitment that often separates her from her family on evenings and weekends.

The conversation takes an interesting turn when a junior achievement student, Chase Buckheister, joins the discussion and asks Amber about her advice for girls aspiring to become coaches, considering it's a predominantly male-dominated profession. Amber sheds light on the efforts being made to encourage more female coaches, including specialized courses and discounts. She highlights the importance of confidence and a strong voice for female coaches, as well as the value of representation in the sport. Amber's journey into coaching began as a means to earn extra money, but she soon discovered her passion and the opportunity to give back to the sport that has shaped her life.

Amber goes on to share her pivotal moment, which was more of a gradual realization during her time as a graduate assistant on a women's soccer team that coaching was truly her calling. She emphasizes the significance of being open to different paths and not feeling pressured to have everything figured out immediately.

The hosts inquire about the educational and skill set requirements for success in Amber's role. She highlights the value of her psychology degree, master's in business management, and experience as a graduate assistant. Amber also stresses the importance of continuous learning and adaptability, as her responsibilities vary depending on the time of year and the club's activities.

Earning potential in the coaching and club management field is also discussed. Amber explains that it can greatly differ based on the size and resources of the club, as well as the specific role within the organization. She notes that collegiate coaching may present more challenges in terms of earning potential and advancement, while the club side offers more immediate opportunities for financial growth.

To wrap up the episode, the hosts ask Amber what advice she would give her 16-year-old self. She emphasizes the importance of not stressing too much, trusting the process, and putting in the hard work to give oneself the best chance of success, even when the path may not always be clear.

Throughout the conversation, Amber's passion for coaching shines through, as does her dedication to developing relationships with the players and instilling values such as belief, hard work, and resilience.

Joy Dodson, Vice President of Community Relations at JA of the Heartland, is a Quad Cities native who graduated from United Township High School and Western Illinois University QC campus. Her career journey allowed her to expand her wings in North Carolina and Kansas before moving back to Bettendorf, IA where she has called home for the past 10 years. Joy embraced 10 years of growth and experiences in various roles under the Human Resources and Leadership Development umbrellas spanning multiple industries. She will forever be passionate about elevating and inspiring leaders through a people first proactive mindset!
As a Vice President with Russell, a construction and development firm based in Davenport, IA, Matt Rebro brings 20+ years of industry experience and relationships to the team. He is a key contributing member to Russell’s Business Development outreach efforts. Matt’s focus is to help grow the Russell brand with targeted individuals and firms and to support his Russell team members to ensure existing client relationships are maximized to their fullest potential. As a native eastern-Iowan, Matt has demonstrated a commitment to supporting communities over the last two decades via personal and firm support of organizations such as Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Iowa Association of Business & Industry and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Workforce Coalition.