TMOYP to Provide Coaching Education Scholarships for AFCAA Women


The Mighty Oak Youth Project is proud to announce a new program aimed at increasing the number of female coaches in our community. Any player for AFC Ann Arbor women’s team will be eligible to receive a coaching scholarship, whether they’re just getting started in their coaching education or pursuing a higher level license.

TMOYP Board Member, Mike Lorenc explained why the non-profit arm of AFC Ann Arbor feels this initiative is important, saying, “One of the reasons we established the club, and later TMOYP, was to positively contribute to growth of soccer in Washtenaw County. In addition to providing scholarships for players to join travel teams and donating equipment to local schools and organizations, we also wanted to help increase the number and quality of soccer coaches in the area. By providing scholarships to our players to obtain necessary training and certificates, we hope to give them the tools to be successful coaches, and as result, to increase overall quality of training and level of soccer in our area. It will also make it easier for our female players to stay with the sport and pass on their wisdom, passion and love of the game to the next generation of players.”

TMOYP has allocated up to $5,000 towards this initiative with hopes to grow the program and interest in developing female coaches each year. The need for this program is apparent when you look at the data. Almost half (47%) of youth soccer players are girls but only about 15% of coaches are female.  “Young girls can relate to female coaches, look up to and be inspired by them- both on, and off the pitch. Having female role models that the young girls can cheer on during AFCAA games, and then learn from during practice can significantly and positively impact the sport.”

Head Coach of AFC Ann Arbor’s women’s team, Andy Pritchard added, “I believe that some of the younger female players prefer a female coach when starting the game especially. I also believe it’s important for these players to have a strong female role models.”

About The Mighty Oak Youth Project

The Mighty Oak Youth Project was founded in 2018 with the aim at increasing accessibility to the game. TMOYP partnered with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and 2x USWNT Gold Medalist, Lindsay Tarpley to launch Community Kicks, while also providing over $5,000 in youth soccer scholarships. To support TMOYP and their efforts, click here.

About AFC Ann Arbor

Founded in 2014, Association Football Club Ann Arbor launched it’s men’s semi-pro team in 2015 and has competed in the NPSL since 2016. Led by Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland, the team has found great success winning back to back Great Lakes Championships (‘17 & ‘18) and earning US Open Cup bids three straight years (2017-2019). In October 2018, the club announced the launch of the women’s side, who will be skippered by Andy “Pritch” Pritchard in their inaugural season of the United Women’s Soccer national league. Owned and operated by a group of local soccer fans and entrepreneurs, AFC Ann Arbor has become a fixture in the greater Ann Arbor community.

Bilal Saeed