Coach Yolonda Smith
If you are a part of the soccer program on Team Thunder, there is a good chance that you are having a great time thanks to the coaching style of Coach Yolonda Smith. Yolonda has been coaching for Detroit PAL for three years, but has been a PAL parent for more than eleven years. She believes that Detroit PAL is an amazing program for the community of children, including her own. This belief is what brings her back year after year to coach the kids!
Team Thunder works very hard, but also makes sure that everyone is having a good time. “The most important lesson I try to teach my athletes is to have as much fun as they can and respect each other’s space,” said Yolonda. Her hope is that if the kids are having fun, they will continue to come back year after year.
Team Thunder is a great team to play on because the players, parents, and coaches are like a big family! Yolonda thinks that is very important because it shows the players the importance of teamwork. “I teach teamwork by emphasizing how important it is to work together as they try to score goals and complete other’s plays during practice and games,” she said.
“Coach Yolonda Smith has been an amazing coach for our soccer program. She is always willing to help out however needed and constantly goes above and beyond to help out with the kids in the program and in our community,” said Shay Lewis, Associate Athletic Director of Soccer for Detroit PAL, “Yolonda is the kind of person every Athletic Director at Detroit PAL would want coaching a team in their league. She’s enthusiastic, caring and has such positive energy. Coach Yolonda is a wonderful spirit and I am so grateful to have her as a coach in our soccer program.”
While it is evident that Coach Yolonda has had a very positive impact on her athletes, they have been able to influence her as well. “My athletes have been able to team me to not take myself too seriously and to just simply enjoy life!” she stated. Her favorite part about being a coach and a mentor is seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they have fun learning how to play soccer.
We can only hope that Coach Yolonda continues to teach Detroit’s youth the amazing joy and life-lessons they can get from the game of soccer!