Play Like a Champion Today 

Virtual Sports Leadership Conference

"Dream Big. Take Action."

The Play Like a Champion Today Sports Leadership Conference will once again be virtual in 2021. While we will miss seeing everyone in-person, the virtual format provides an exciting opportunity for our entire national community to engage with fellow athletic leaders, learn from a fantastic group of speakers, and be inspired. Look for additional information on this year's conference to be released in the coming weeks!

The Play Like a Champion Today Sports Leadership Conference is the premiere annual gathering of youth and high school athletic administrators, coaches and leaders from across North America. The conference celebrates the three pillars of connection, education and inspiration, which are reflected in our conference theme. Attendees of 2020's virtual conference had a unique opportunity to interact in kinship, explore core elements of the Play Like a Champion approach, and be inspired by some amazing speakers. The conference addressed challenges in light of social injustice and the current COVID-19 crisis while encouraging participants to create opportunities for all children to participate in a developmentally-focused sports experience. 

"This conference was amazing! As a coach of multiple sports, both boys and girls, this conference fed me with helpful and useful information each day. I am inspired... Thank you for putting together such an awesome virtual event!"

2021 Featured Speakers

Mike Singletary - A member of both the Pro and College Football Hall of Fames, Singletary was a legend on the field who has turned his attention to a career in coaching and service to children. 

 

Dr. Lisa Merritt - The Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Institute has a unique perspective on the past year and the difficulties we continue to face in our communities to ensure everyone's safety and well-being.

Dr. Amanda Zelechoski - A psychologist and lawyer specializing in trauma, Zelechoski is an Associate Professor at Valparaiso University. In the past year, this wife and mother of 3 co-founded Pandemic Parenting to provide research-based support to families.

Additional speakers and information will be announced soon!

​As we work together to provide A Team for Every Child, it's important that we take time to mourn the losses of the past year, celebrate the care and resilience of our unsung heroes, and plan for a better future for all our children. The 2021 conference will once again feature an outstanding group of speakers who are experts in coaching, community sports development and moral and spiritual leadership. Attendees will have ample opportunity to interact in breakout sessions that inspire us in a renewed vision for youth sports and challenge us to take action in our communities.

Play Like a Champion is waiving this year's conference fee so that everyone interested can attend this year's virtual event. However, as an independent non-profit organization, we cannot sustain our work without your generosity. If you are able, please consider a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more when you register. This support will provide for the production of our annual conference and further our mission to allow for all children to experience the joy of sports, especially the most vulnerable.

"With the news of COVID-19 bombarding our news feeds on a daily basis, it was so refreshing to take a step back and focus on the big picture of sports, and where we want to go long term."  ~ 2020 Virtual Conference Attendee

2021 Virtual Conference Schedule

*All times for Retreat and Conference are Eastern Daylight Time. Subject to change.

Day 1: Inclusion
June 23rd from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Wednesday Sessions Will Include...

 

Speakers and interactive sessions to be announced will speak to the current state of American youth sports and the challenges we face getting more children involved, as well as concrete ways we can address racial and social justice through sports.

Day 2: Teamwork
June 24th from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Thursday Sessions Will Include...

 

Speakers and interactive sessions to be announced will highlight the importance of working collaboratively in kinship to improve the youth and high school sports experience because "together, we are stronger."

Pray with us at our Annual Pre-Conference Retreat:
Encountering God Through Sport: A Retreat in Ignatian Spirituality

Our 2021 Pre-Conference Retreat theme will be rooted in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Jesuit spirituality teaches that we encounter God in all things. The retreat will offer the opportunity to reflect upon the losses and graces of this past year and how to discover God's grace in and through specific athletic moments, while strengthening our resolve to become authentic sport ministers serving athletes. The 2021 Retreat is planned for Tuesday, June 22, 2021 beginning at Noon with a 1:30pm completion. 

Play Like a Champion is committed to assuring that all children have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of youth sports in a safe and fun environment. Through our annual conference, coach and parent education, and initiatives like A Team for Every Child, this work is improving the lives of children in communities across the country. COVID-19 has created an even greater need for our partner communities and we can't do this alone. If you are unable to make the conference this year, please still consider a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more to support Play Like a Champion's mission. Click the link below to donate today! 

What are people saying about the Play Like a Champion Today Conference?

98% of participants in the 2020 Virtual Conference said the conference met or exceeded expectations.

Here are a few of their comments:

“Your team did an exceptional job pivoting from an in-person conference to a virtual one. You ran a truly professional event. The speaker line-up you provided was impressive. You recruited people with admirable expertise, success, and bona fides in their respective fields who were also ready and able to present well. This entire experience exceeded my expectations. Tremendous job. I'm immensely grateful that I could be included.”

 

"Conference was outstanding! I was a first time participant and loved the content. I can use it both at a professional and personal level."

“I really appreciate having this virtual conference - I would not have been able to attend otherwise. I feel I have learned a lot and can't wait to see how to put some of these ideas to work on both my team and in our sport  program.”

"The virtual conference really exceeded my expectations. I have been to the Conference a few times & this year going virtual, I guess I did not know what to expect. I loved that after we heard all the speakers, we went into break out rooms & we were able to share our thoughts. You all did an amazing job putting this all together on Zoom! I was really excited each day to hear the next speakers."

"I loved the subject matter of this conference – it was both informative and inspirational. These are subjects most people are uncomfortable discussing and the conference presented it in a very positive and professional light."