H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship Spotlight | Diandra Aliaga

RICHMOND, VA (August 3, 2017) – As part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign, the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) developed the H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship Program to encourage top female players to enter the coaching profession, and to help the next generation of coaches and leaders continue to raise the bar in youth soccer. The ECNL selected the first scholarship recipients in 2015, and has continued the successful program for three years.

The 2017 scholarship recipients included twelve women from across the country that were chosen from a deep pool of talented applicants to continue their coaching development and receive a scholarship to pursue a USSF “D” or “E” coaching license. The ECNL launched this program specifically for ECNL Alumni and aspiring female coaches.

Photo Credit: UTRGV Athletics

Diandra Aliaga is currently a student-athlete at the University of Texas Rio Grande, and an ECNL Alum out of Challenge SC in Houston, TX. She recently completed the USSF “E” coaching course, and looks forward to pursuing additional coaching education opportunities, as coaching is a passion she hopes to pursue after her playing days conclude.

“I hope to one day become an ECNL coach and/or a Division I coach. I want to empower young girls to become confident and to lead others,” Aliaga said about her aspirations in coaching. “I had wonderful coaches throughout my youth career, but it was hard to find a role model that I could relate to in regards to being a female. I want to give today’s youth the tools for a successful future, and more specifically I want to instill confidence in young girls in an environment where being a leader means being strong.”

The ECNL caught up with Aliaga to learn more about her coaching objectives.

Why do you want to become a coach?

I want to encourage a chain reaction and inspire players, and instill them to pay it forward. I want to be a part of something that is bigger than me, and encourage others to be proud of their abilities. Most importantly, I want others to know that no matter the result, teammates will be next to you, and that alone makes the journey worth it.

Who inspires you from a coaching perspective?

One of my favorite coaches is Anson Dorrance. After reading his book, The Man Watching, I aspire to have a similar coaching philosophy as him. I know I will have my own twist, but he gives great insight through his experiences. I want to put value in the individual and the team as whole, and not put so much emphasis on results. Wins are a bonus, but the real work is when no one is watching.

Describe the Coaching Course you recently attended: 

I took the E Coaching License course this past summer, and it was definitely an eye opening moment. During the course, every candidate was required to run a drill in front of our peers, which was something very new to me. I was nervous, as this was something very new, and I could feel the eyes on me. Planning the drill was more difficult than I imagined, but once I gained the confidence to lead, the drill began to run smoothly. This was the true turning point.

What did you like most about the course?

I liked that the course took me out of my comfort zone. I was able to experience the reality of coaching throughout the weekend, which was new and exciting. It gave me a new perspective on the game I love. Also, we got to play soccer for two whole days, and I don’t know who wouldn’t enjoy that.

How has the ECNL impacted you?

The ECNL encouraged me to work hard to reach my goals. My path was unconventional, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My past experiences helped mold me into the person I am today, and I want to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Diandra, thank you for sharing your story and pursuing your dreams. You are an Amazing Young Woman, and we look forward to following you as you continue along your unique path. You are helping pave the way for future H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship recipients.


About Amazing Young WomenTM:  Launched by the ECNL, the Amazing Young Women is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders.  The ECNL is calling on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.

Women of all ages can share their personal moments of inspiration through social media and at www.AmazingYoungWomen.com.  Every share and submission helps drive a movement that celebrates the power of what it is to be a girl today.

Amazing Young Women of the ECNL will be showcased at AmazingYoungWomen.com. Through testimonials, tips and tools, the website is providing all girls to view, share, and celebrate what it is to be motivated, strong, and successful.

About Elite Clubs National League:  The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.

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