Club soccer, Challenger soccer and Special Olympics soccer. It should come as no surprise that Bill Scully knows soccer.
Getting involved with Special Olympics was a natural progression as the parent of a bright, young soccer player with Down syndrome, Erin. After coaching her Challenger team and being asked to take on coaching a Special Olympics team by fellow parents, Bill couldn’t say no.
Now having been with the BUDS (Bringing Up Down Syndrome) Blue Thunder for the last four years, to say Scully is proud of his team is an understatement. Having earned medals, including advancing from bronze to silver at competition, his athletes continue to build confidence and motivate one another to compete at a high level. While the team looks forward to the opportunity to compete for a medal, ultimately the end goal is to demonstrate the values and techniques emphasized through Bill’s coaching style.
This season, Bill set out to improve the confidence in his team. Drawing from his connection with his son’s team, the Deptford Fusion volunteered at practices this season to encourage and mentally strengthen the BUDS. As a team of younger athletes, the BUDS were typically more reserved facing larger opponents. Through one-on-one drills and training with the Fusion, BUDS players developed more assurance in their skills. The interactions between the teams on a competitive and social level not only improved athletic ability, but reinforced the importance of sportsmanship and the understanding that all players are true competitors.
Bill finds repetition and consistency works well when training his athletes, and has shown commitment to all areas of the team before, during and after games. After a competition, Bill and the other BUDS coaches review the areas the team needs to improve. Then, through a constant reinforcement of skills and values, along with some new drills, they are able to design practices that focus on needed skill sets. Bill also enriches practices by exposing athletes to terminology related to the sport. Hearing terminology during practice, Bill believes, “helps it stick when they hear it during a game,” and allows his team to better execute plays.
While Bill, his fellow coaches and team take practices seriously, Bill ensures the BUDS program follows his coaching mentality and motto: HAVE FUN! Spectators and fellow competitors expect to hear a roar of cheering, like thunder, as they call it, before each game, as the BUDS players motivate one another and prepare to compete. Through the close-knit community Bill helps create, BUDS teammates can also be found training in other sports together, taking the skills and values learned throughout the soccer season with them.
In true BUDS fashion, Special Olympics New Jersey is proud to give a thunderous applause to Bill Scully as the Fall 2017 Coach of the Season.