Girls club soccer and the advantages learnt in and throughout the game


SALT LAKE CITY-  There are those people in life that are special, something about them is intriguing and admirable, and you can tell that whatever their craft, they pour their heart and soul into it. One of these people is Bruce Cuppett, originally from Pipestone, Minnesota, Cuppett is a retired military veteran, soccer coach, and an important person in the development of Utah Youth Soccer Association.

“My dad worked for American Oil Company so about every two years we would move,” says Cuppett.  “I went to three elementaries, two junior highs, and three high schools.” It wasn’t always easy. “I was a trouble maker when I was in school,” Cuppett says, adding that he “walking the thin line, on the good side and the bad side,” always trying to balance the fun. Occasionally, he’d “get slapped, and then get back in line,” he says.

Cuppett finished high school in Detroit in 1964, where he began junior college and building muscle cars. He then enlisted in the army in 1966, and was on active duty until 1972. Cuppett finished college, with a degree in business management, and rejoined the military until 1999 where he retired after thirty years.

“I never played soccer when I was growing up, when I went into the service is when I learned to play soccer,” Cuppett says. After moving to Utah in 1991, Cuppett’s son Andrew tried every sport but fell in love with soccer and started playing for the American Youth Soccer Organization. Andrew had a great first year coach said Cuppett, but his second-year coach was a “flake.” Concerned, the team parents nominated Cuppett as the new coach because he was the parent who knew the most about soccer. He was unlicensed for a short time, but he soon began moving through his first licensure on his way to becoming a better coach and to understanding the youth game.

So how is it he began coaching girls? Cuppett got a call from Sparta founder Ben Vandenhazel asking him to come and coach a girls’ team. “I don’t know anything about girls” Cuppett said, but he decided to take on the challenge. Years later, Cuppett is still coaching girls soccer, “It’s a much different game, to me it’s a game that I appreciate more than the boys game. I think the girls game is about working, about possessing the ball, looking for a seem in the defense and attacking the goal. Where boys typically are win the ball, and go to the goal all the time.” He described it as a prettier game, but harder to coach. “What I tell the older girls when I work with them was ‘you wanna get into college using your brains, because if you get hurt and you’re on academic scholarship your scholarship its still there’. It doesn’t matter if you’re on crutches or whatever, if you get there going the other way, and something happens you’re usually going to lose your scholarship.”

It can be hard to persevere in the sport. “Because you’re going to lose at some point,” says Anthony Frost, Marketer at UYSA. “You’re going to have the hard days at some point, you’re going to have hard times and ya gotta keep going.”

The key is that “ya gotta love it and ya gotta work it,” says Cuppett. “I believe athletes, when they train properly become very good in society because they are good at hitting bench marks along the way, which helps develop their skills to have in life.” An athlete needs to dedicate their own time to the game, he says.

Cuppett tries to teach his players to problem-solve and to be resilient. “If you’re in the real world and ya got a great job, and ya get a new boss, and the new boss is an absolute idiot, are ya gonna throw everything away? Or are ya gonna try figure out how to work with this person and how to continue. Because you’re on a good path right now and you don’t want to go back out and start all over again.”

Friend and Administrative Director of Coaching at UYSA, Holly Gundred, commented “as a team learning how to deal with heartbreak, you learn to take that and what do you do? You apply it and move on.”

Sports, much like life, is like a roller coaster, says Cuppett. “I think sports teaches you that every day it’s a win lose situation. How well you did in practice? How well you did in a match, ya know? how well did ya feel going into it?” If he can teach his players to be introspective, that’s when Cuppett will feel like he’s done his job.


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If your interested in reading the reflections on my story click here .


Reflection blog on girls club soccer and the advantages learnt in and throughout the game

In the beginning of pitching ideas for my enterprise story, I knew I wanted my story to be centered around athletics because that is where much of my knowledge and passion are found. I knew it would be easier to invest myself in a topic that I knew a lot about or had the motivation to learn more about. I decided to write about UYSA because growing up in Utah Youth Soccer was extremely beneficial in teaching me life skills and in teaching me how to deal with adversity.

Upon gathering information for my story from previous coaches and the Utah Youth Soccer website, I was able to get in touch with individuals from the admin side of UYSA, and eventually able to go to the new UYSA headquarters and interview a few different people. Upon meeting different people, I reconnected with a previous soccer trainer from my youth days who had both coached girls and worked on the admin side of UYSA.

I started my interviews asking each person what their specific job title was and how they had got the position they now obtained. I then asked about previous jobs and positions, and about their families. Then I went further into depth on the benefits of sports for adolescence. After the interviews I reviewed all my notes and was able to create a story. The best source for my story ended up being the man who had trained my team and other girls teams, and who also worked admin for UYSA.

The struggles I faced were mostly within getting to interview the people I was hoping to interview and within keeping my story within the word limit required. I had to find a way to both include the details I wanted and the details I needed, while also having to distinguish between what I could keep in my story and what I needed to take out. All while trying to tell a story well, intrigue readers, and fit within the word limit.

I was able to choose the focus of my story when I listened over my interviews and had to decide what would be interesting to readers of all types, and what wouldn’t be interesting. I also really wanted to tell a good story, so I had to find a point of view where I could story tell, while still being able to keep inline with my story topic. The writing process was lengthy, and the story ended up extensively exceeding the word limit. I then had to delete any parts that were not necessary, or that did not point back to the story pitch. It was a process of writing a story that would be both interesting and informative to readers, while at the same time telling a story well. I learned that I am much more of a story writer than a news writer but that it is beneficial to add brevity to whatever I’m writing.

Looking back, I am very surprised with where my story ended up going. It ended up being a feature story about a specific person and an organization. I learned much about UYSA through my interview with Bruce but also about Bruce as a person. I was able to attain life wisdom as well as coaching wisdom for young athletes and the parents of athletes.

Link to my story here and my bio here.