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April Heinrichs / Nike Coaching Education Scholarships

As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday the U.S. Soccer Communications Center will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will post an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field. On the third Thursday of each month, we will look into the world of coaching.

This month, we look at the April Heinrichs / Nike Coaching Education Scholarships.

April Heinrichs / Nike Coaching Education Scholarships

Almost two years ago, April Heinrichs and Nike combined to create a scholarship program for coaches of female players in the United States.  Two years later, this combined commitment to the development of coaches is still one of the only opportunities of its kind in this country.

In April and September of each year, the April Heinrichs scholarships are awarded to some of the top up-and-coming girls/women coaches in the U.S.  Ten scholarships are awarded each year, with five awarded in April and five in September.  Scholarship winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship to help cover the cost of participation in a USSF National Coaching Course, including the National A, B and C Licenses.

“These scholarships are for coaches who have already had an impact on the game, and through the educational scholarship can increase their impact on women’s soccer,” said Janet Rayfield, head of the April Heinrichs / Nike Coaching Education Scholarship Committee.

Last year, the award selection committee received over 200 applications for the scholarships awarded on Sept. 15, 2001.  The growth and development of young female athletes is dependent on proper coaching at all levels, and this award is indicative of Nike and U.S. Soccer's commitment to that process.

The committee makes award determinations based on (in no particular order): contribution and involvement in the girl’s and women’s game, evidence of previous dedication to pursuing coaching education, financial considerations, impact that the education of this coach might have on the soccer community.

The following are the criteria one must meet to be eligible as a candidate for this special scholarship:

  • S/He must be a coach of a women’s and/or girl’s team.
  • S/he must coach at the recreational, club, high school, Olympic Development Program (district, state or regions), or college levels, excluding NCAA Division I Head Coaches.
  • All NAIA, NCAA Division II, and NCAA Division III Head and Assistant Coaches are eligible.
  • Division I Assistant Coaches are eligible.

The first five scholarships of 2002 will be awarded on April 15, and applications need to be submitted by April 1 to be eligible for the April 15 awards. (To download an application, please visit /articles/viewArticle.jsp_2436.html.) Applications received after April 1 will automatically be entered into the pool of applicants for the five scholarships awarded on Sept. 15. Applications are accepted year-round, and those not selected will be held and reviewed for subsequent selection.

Five Winners Chosen From Over 200 Applications In 2001

Last September five women’s coaches were named as winners of the April Heinrichs/Nike Coaching Education Scholarship Awards.  The following were chosen from the outstanding field of candidates from all areas of the country and all levels of the game:

2001 Scholarship Award Winners:

  • Tad Bobak (Santa Monica, Calif.)
  • Andrew Grist (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Chris Neal (Wilmington, N.C.)
  • Sean Richardson (Ewa Beach, Haw.)
  • Shannon Stiles (Spokane, Wash.)

To download an application, please visit the following link: /articles/viewArticle.jsp_2436.html

For more information, please contact Kati Hope in the U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Department.  Kati can be reached at or 312-528-1231.