Student’s Research Helps Improve Youth Soccer in Her Hometown

HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 22, 2013 – A sophomore at High Point University is using research to make a difference in her community. Nicole Bayeur spent her freshman year at HPU researching and reviewing scholarly literature on long term athletic development in youth soccer.

Bayeur started her research after taking a First Year Seminar class, “Elite Athletes Born or Bred.” The topic of long term athletic development sparked her interest, and she started her research in the spring semester. She then presented the research to public and youth soccer coaches in her hometown of Chicopee, Mass.

“The coaches responded with great enthusiasm after my first presentation,” says Bayeur. “They hope to reach out to the youth coaches to build programs across the city. A soccer club that I have worked at for about 5 years now has already taken strides towards bettering their program for the youth soccer players, and I have personally been able to aid in a training program that they have implemented this year.”

That training program, based off of Bayeur’s research, allows youth soccer players to focus on basic skills. They’re also working to increase awareness of the importance of equal playing time of youth players, to ensure that all the athletes receive equal training.

“We hope that this will cause fewer players to drop out, and that our program will continue to grow and help develop all players, not just those who are talented at seven years old,” says Bayeur. “I really hope to make a difference in my community with this, and I am definitely headed in the right direction.”

“This is a great example of how First Year Seminar allows students to dive deeply into topic areas that can awaken their ‘inner scholar’ by going beyond textbooks,” says Dr. Kimberly Reich, assistant professor of exercise and sport science. “HPU students look for opportunities to give back to their community. This presentation in her hometown was Nicole’s idea, and she took the initiative to make the necessary contacts that led to this presentation.”

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