How publishing custom curriculum on the MOJO app helps one passionate club director grow the game
| 4 min read
Executive director Nick Garcia coaches the Rainbow Unicorn Cheetahs.
Nick Garcia knows soccer. The three-time All-American player at Indiana University, with two back-to-back NCAA titles under his belt, went on to play 300+ games in 11 years with the MLS and to represent the United States on the men’s national team.
Today, as the executive director of Sporting Brookside, the largest youth soccer club in Kansas City, Missouri, you’ll find Garcia on the turf at Swope Soccer Village most weekends, in particular when he’s coaching the Rainbow Unicorn Cheetahs, his daughter’s pre-K soccer team. Coaching is just one way Garcia is trying to foster the love of the game in as many young soccer players in Kansas City as possible.
And he is using the MOJO app to do it.
In spring of 2022, Garcia used MOJO to build a custom, grassroots soccer curriculum for the more than 400 volunteer coaches that power rec soccer at Sporting Brookside. It had to embody the club’s core values — with its spirit of inclusivity, and rooted in positive coaching and good sportsmanship. And it had to be fun.
Sporting Brookside’s rec soccer program, 3200 kids strong, follows a loose play-practice-play methodology, with age brackets that adhere to grades rather than U6 or U12 age cut-offs. That’s because, as Garcia explains, most kids participate because of friends — and his goal is to create community as much as it is to teach kids soccer skills.
There were plenty of soccer drills and curriculum from the club’s 50-plus year history — on paper. But, using one of MOJO’s custom portals, Garcia was able to easily translate what was on hand into MOJO.
“We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he explains. “We knew what we wanted and MOJO already had it. We just pulled the games into the curriculum.”
Each 8-week curriculum in the app, for players from pre-K through 8th grade, lays out the intention for the week, including key skills and coaching points, and keeps things lively and developmentally-appropriate with MOJO’s activities.
“We just tweaked them for our own needs, based on our player pool,” he says.
And every plan ends with another Sporting Brookside value: Let the fun begin!
To date, more than 83% of the rec coaches at Sporting Brookside have adopted the custom methodology on the MOJO app. And Garcia himself has seen the fun in action.
“I’ve used MOJO ever since we’ve been doing pre-K and K,” he says. “Their favorite game is The Octopus.”
For Garcia, creating custom content helps him, as the executive director, level-set for the volunteer coaches he oversees — to make it easy for coaches to run a practice and raise the quality of practice for all kids. And he’s not alone: according to a December 2022 MOJO survey, 88% of organizational leaders said that publishing curriculum via MOJO has raised the caliber of coaching.
And in the end, the true value of the custom curriculum is that it is the club’s very own.
“MOJO gives us the template, and provides the resources,” Garcia says. “Then it’s up to us to use it how we see fit.”
“COVID was a tipping point for us,” says Garcia. Under his watch, Sporting Brookside had always strived to be innovative, but that’s when technology really came to the forefront for the club. “MOJO does it especially well — the technology and the engagement when it comes to parents and kids.”
Since adopting MOJO, Garcia has used the app to run rec soccer practices at all ages, as well as camps and clinics, including a Thanksgiving week camp that happened to coincide with the World Cup in Qatar. Now, he has his eyes on 2026, when the World Cup competition comes to Kansas City.
MOJO helps Garcia achieve higher goals as well — keeping high quality grassroots soccer affordable and accessible in a diverse, urban locale. It’s right there in Sporting Brookside’s tagline: Soccer for the City.™
“That’s the biggest thing for me,” says Garcia. “As a not-for-profit, we are here for the people. It’s not my club. And for this country to grow and develop, we must pay attention to the grassroots piece.”