Profile: Garrick Dawson
Hometown: Norfolk, VA
College Experience: NCAA Division III – Roanoke College
Position: School Program Manager
Just over a year ago, while sitting at home in Richmond, VA, Garrick Dawson was browsing the web when an article caught his attention. The article was titled, “World’s First Transit Station Soccer Field”. He then shared the story on Facebook, not knowing anything about the non-profit organization, Soccer in the Streets. That was until six months ago when he called the Director of Programs, Lauren Glancy, to get a better understanding of what Soccer in the Streets was all about.
A week later, he was packing a U-haul in Richmond to move to Atlanta and start his new position with Soccer in the Streets as the School Program Manager. Coincidence? Maybe. Some would call it fate.
Soccer was a part of Dawson’s life the minute he was born. Not by choice, but because his father, Alan Dawson, was the head coach of Men’s Soccer for Methodist College at the time. For him, Friday night lights did not involve watching football, but instead cheering on his dad coaching Old Dominion University Men’s Soccer team.
During away weeks, while other kids faked being sick and stayed home to play video games, Dawson faked sick to travel with his dad’s college team. As he got older, he started to play competitively and eventually decided to play at the collegiate level for Roanoke College. After college, he pursued a Master’s Degree at the VCU Center for Sport Leadership, while also working with the VCU Men’s Soccer program as a graduate assistant.
After school, he knew he wanted to incorporate soccer into his profession. Having previously coached for an elementary school soccer program, he said it was a “no brainer” when accepting the School Program Manager position with Soccer in the Streets. “For me, it was the best of both worlds,” Dawson said. “I had the opportunity to work with kids and oversee soccer programs.”
He currently manages 14 schools around the area, including 10 in Atlanta Public Schools, three in Dekalb County Schools and one in Marietta City Schools. One of his main objectives is to introduce the sport of soccer at a young age, so kids can be familiar with the sport.
“If it was not for Soccer in the Streets, a lot of these kids would never have the opportunity to learn about the game of soccer. This sport isn’t familiar within the communities and schools we primarily work with,” Dawson said. “With our work, who knows, maybe we will find the next national superstar.”