From local soccer player to beloved team trainer for Voorhees Soccer Association, this month’s AAA Share Your Journey Contest Winner Dori Bryson has become known as the VSA’s “Club Mom” and is a true role model for the Voorhees, NJ soccer community.
“The first time that it [the title of ‘Club Mom’] was mentioned to me, it was kind of emotional because it sounds like a silly thing, but being a Mom is the most awesome thing you can do or can be,” Bryson said proudly. “An organization like ours that has 2,000 kids and we know most of them personally, you really do feel like a sense of family and that you have a relationship with all of them, and that’s awesome and it’s incredibly humbling.”
Now that she has transitioned from a player’s perspective to a member of the VSA board of directors, Bryson has managed to apply what she learned on the field to creating an even more supportive role as the team’s trainer off the field.
“When soccer came into my world it was an activity that I fell in love with; now it almost feels like a job sometimes for these kids and it’s really important to me to remind them that it’s for them, it’s about them, and we are just there to help, we’re assistants. It’s not for us, they have to feel supported and enjoy what they are doing; it’s a game. The whole point of this is to enjoy it and to love it, so I think that they know that we really do believe in that, and that makes them feel cared for,” Bryson said.
Bryson’s playing career began at an early age with VSA, and thanks to her involvement with the club during her childhood, Bryson was given the opportunity to travel up and down the East Coast to compete against numerous clubs in many different states.
“It really just feels like my entire childhood was one big fun event on the soccer field. It’s hard to pick just one, but just every game, every inspirational speech before big tournaments, every trophy, those little things have all built up to just the passion for the sport that I can’t really put to words,” Bryson said.
For Bryson, the opportunity to travel with her team created an unparalleled sense of trust through unique emotional bonds crafted between herself and her teammates.
“When you’re sweating, and hurting, and dirty playing these games, you’ve got 10 sisters or 10 brothers right next to you doing the same thing and their encouragement and their dedication fuels your own. Even as coaches, the kids do that for us too, we often times forget, we get preoccupied with what we’re doing. The volunteer hours, the field lining, the board meetings, and when you get out there on the field, you’re reminded of why we do it,” Bryson added. “…it has definitely fed into my goals as a coach. Just to provide that encouragement and support for the kids who are going through it now.”
While her playing days may have come and end, the friendships she made along the way as a player for Voorhees Soccer Association have long outlived her time on the field. Bryson now works closely with one of her close friends and teammates from her competitive career at VSA who is now the head coach of the team Bryson trains.
“We get to pass on that love together to these young women and it’s just incredible,” Bryson exclaimed with a smile stretching from ear to ear.
This story is part of AAA’s “Start Your Journey” campaign, an effort – in partnership with the Union – to help celebrate families’ journeys in support of their young athletes…the long road trips, all-weekend tournaments, and the special bonds that are formed from the extensive time on the road. Each month, the Philadelphia Union and AAA will select an individual within its soccer network to develop a feature story on their path to success in association with the game of soccer. Additionally, fans are encouraged to share their own stories via social media using #ShareYourJourney.