US Youth Soccer Offer Sexual Abuse Awareness Training
US Youth Soccer has partnered with experts to combat youth sexual abuse as the organization announces its latest awareness training course provided across multiple states. For any organization serving children, the risk of child sexual abuse is real—including youth sport.
Youth Soccer News: Abuse Prevention Systems, US Youth Soccer (USYS) and Pullen Insurance Services have announced a partnership together to address the risk of child sexual abuse in youth soccer by offering Sexual Abuse Awareness Training to nearly 350,000 coaches, volunteers, referees and parents.
With the assistance of Pullen Insurance Services, located in Fort Worth, Texas, USYS is now providing training and resources for each of its state soccer associations in collaboration with Abuse Prevention Systems, a national leader in the development of safety systems devised to protect children in child-serving programs.
“US Youth Soccer is always looking for valuable resources to provide soccer families through our member State Associations,” says Chris Moore, CEO of USYS. “We are excited about this opportunity and the positive impact the Abuse Prevention Systems program can have in educating our members and increasing awareness about the risks of sexual abuse.”
To some degree, youth sport presents a target for the sexual abuser: access to children in a less organized environment, a position of trust commonly involving touch, overnight stays for competition and partial or complete undress in the locker room.
Additionally, abusers in a sport context have many opportunities to “groom the gatekeepers”—parents—expending significant effort to cause them to feel the abuser is helpful, trustworthy and responsible.
After decades of litigating sexual abuse cases, law partners and sexual abuse experts Gregory S. Love and Kimberlee D. Norris founded Abuse Prevention Systems to help organizations meet legal standards of care and reduce the risk of child sexual abuse in youth sport and other programs.
Love and Norris have a long history addressing sexual abuse risk across all sports. For nearly 20 years, Love trained youth sport organizations across the United States, and over the past 15 years, he and Norris, together, have provided consulting and training services to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Volleyball, USA Rowing, Major League Lacrosse and many other sport associations.
“The value of youth sport activities for children cannot be overstated, but youth sport can also present an environment of significant risk. It’s rewarding to help the nation’s largest youth sport organization raise its protective barriers,” Love said.
“We are living in an environment where no one can any longer choose to ignore this risk,” Norris said. “I’m very pleased that US Youth Soccer is taking this proactive step.”
Pat and Dan Pullen, founders of Pullen Insurance Services, have provided services to USYS for many years and value the importance of risk prevention.
“This is a first for a national youth sport organization,” said Pat Pullen. “We are excited to be a part of this effort to protect young athletes.”
Dan agreed, saying, “US Youth Soccer is pioneering this initiative, and we’re proud of our leadership. There’s more to do, but this is a great start.”
“I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I heard Gregory Love speak at the Convention,” said Hans Hobson, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Soccer Association, who attended a recent training at the US Soccer Youth Convention in Los Angeles. “I think it’s imperative in today’s changing environment, with so many opportunities for sexual predators to take advantage of our children, to arm your program with effective training. All of our clubs in Tennessee will receive this training. I honestly don’t see how any youth sport organization can’t make time for a program like this.”
To learn more about Abuse Prevention Systems, visit here.