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Hey Future Soccer Stars of the Philadelphia Union!  Guess what? The Philadelphia Union Foundation and PCOM have teamed up to kick off something super cool just for you—our HeadFirst Toolkit for Young Soccer Players!

Why Should you Care? Just like you wouldn't hit the soccer field without your cleats or jersey, you shouldn't navigate the game of life without taking care of your mental game. Let's face it, being a teen isn't easy, and being a teen athlete? That's like playing in extra time with the game on the line. No pressure, right?

We've zeroed in on five big-time topics that might be messing with your game, both on and off the field. We're talking:

  1. Bullying: Like when you’re not invited to the post game party because you lost the game for your team.

  2. Anxiety: That feeling before a penalty kick.

  3. Social Media: The good, the bad, and the trolls.

  4. Grief: When life throws you a red card.

  5. Depression: When you just can’t find the energy, even for soccer.

For each topic, we'll break down what it means, how you can spot it, and some top-tier plays to tackle it head-on.


Defeating the Bully: Don't Let Them Score on You

Soccer is all about teamwork, skill, and having a great time on the field. But what happens when someone tries to ruin the game by being a bully? Don't worry, we've got some strategies to help you handle bullies, just like you handle a soccer ball- with control and skill. 

Navigating Anxiety: Don't Let It Sideline You!

Ever had that shaky feeling right before a penalty kick or during a big match? That’s a little taste of anxiety. A bit of nerves can keep you on your toes, but too much can really mess up your game. Let's chat about how to keep anxiety from benching you!


Social Media: Tips for Using Social Media the Healthy Way 

Social media is super cool, right? You can check out awesome soccer tricks, keep up with your favorite teams, and even post your own highlights. But sometimes, scrolling through Instagram, TikTok, or whatever you're into can mess with your head a bit. So, here's the playbook for keeping your social media game strong without messing up your mental game. 

Experiencing Loss: How to Handle Grief Like a Pro

You know how sometimes soccer isn't all goals and glory? Sometimes, life is like that too. Everyone goes through tough times, and one of the toughest is dealing with grief. Whether you've lost a loved one, faced a big change, or even had a soccer injury that took you off the field, grief can feel like getting a red card in a crucial match. So, let's talk about how to handle it, shall we?


Facing Depression: How to Get Your Head Back in the Game

Let's talk about something serious for a moment: depression. You know those days when soccer just isn't fun, and you don't even feel like getting off the bench? Imagine feeling that way about almost everything, nearly all the time. That's a bit like what depression can feel like. But don't worry, we're here to help you navigate it like a champ.


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