November was Health and Wellness Month at Toronto FC Academy
Since 2018, sessions have been organized for Academy athletes to discuss topics that touch upon health and wellness. The sessions are led by internal staff as well as guest speakers. In the past, this event has included sessions on financial literacy, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mental health. The purpose of hosting this event annually is to educate Academy athletes and equip them with the necessary tools they will need to succeed on the field by learning how to put in the work off the field.
A summary of this year’s event has been included below –
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH (U15, U14)
DEVELOPING PROFESSIONAL HABITS
Fabian Casal & Luke Garcia (Toronto FC Sports Science)
The focus of this session was around developing a competitive mentality. Areas of discussion with our younger Academy athletes included daily competition, humility, grit, motivation, as well as self care in the areas of sleep, nutrition and the proper preparation for training and competition.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH (U19, U17, U16)
LEARNING ABOUT CREDIT
Michael Capolongo (PennyDrops)
PennyDrops is a student-run non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of financial education in Canada. Their mission is to ensure that all Canadian students have the knowledge and confidence to make informed financial decisions post-graduation. With the financial backing of BMO, PennyDrops is paving the way to financial freedom for students coast-to-coast.
Our older Academy athletes participated in a session where they were asked to show understanding of the basics of credit: how credit cards work, what to keep in mind when choosing a credit card and how to choose the best card for them. Additionally, athletes gained a foundational understanding of mortgage types and components of a mortgage.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21ST (U19-U14)
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Justin Morrow (Black Players for Change & Toronto FC First Team)
Justin Morrow serves as the Executive Director of the Black Players for Change in Major League Soccer (MLS). In this role, he helps lead the group's efforts and ensure that its mission and values are maintained. The organization will partner with MLS and the Players Association facing racial issues and other similar initiatives as they endeavor to end racial inequality in the league, as well as combat racism in soccer.
During this session, Justin shared his personal experiences growing up, and spoke about his journey to becoming a professional soccer player. He encouraged Academy athletes to consider the things within their lives that shape them – from the input of others, what is consumed, and personal experiences. What they take out of these areas and how they are viewed, will assist in their personal growth.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH (U19-U14)
MENTAL HEALTH & RESILIENCY IN PANDEMIC TIMES
Janice Mulligan, MSW, RSW (Boomerang Health | SickKids)
Boomerang Health, powered by SickKids, hosts workshops with the aim of enhancing the understanding of common adolescent struggles such as sadness, self-esteem and identity exploration, along with friendship and social issues.
The objective of this session was to help youth and their caregivers gain a better understanding of mental health challenges during these unprecedented times. Strategies to cope and ways to foster resiliency were explored and resources for further resiliency building were provided.
Thank you to all of the guest speakers for taking part in the 2020 Toronto FC Academy Health & Wellness Month!