As a Special Victims Unit detective with Arlington County police, and as a graduate student and a mom, Tiffanie McGuire does not have a lot of free time.
But she makes time for coaching the Dorothy Hamm Middle School girls and boys soccer teams, something she has been doing since 2019 when she was a School Resource Officer. Over the last three years, she has watched her players become leaders who understand personal responsibility and sportsmanship.
“I have seen many players come through and have watched them grow in both the game and in their personality,” she tells ARLnow. “My sixth graders often come in quiet, recently transitioning from elementary school, and are chosen because there is usually something in them that we see that can be developed with time. By 8th grade, they are the leaders of the team.”
As an SRO, she says consistency was key for forming relationships with middle schoolers, who can be a challenging bunch.
“Pre-teens are beginning to find themselves and push boundaries with adults,” she said. “Finding a way to connect with them took consistency and showing them that I was there to be an adult they can trust, not get them in trouble.”
She stuck it out as a coach event after the School Board voted to remove School Resource Officers from school grounds in 2021. The move responded to calls from some community organizations, including the Arlington branch of the NAACP, citing higher arrest rates for Black and Latino kids.
Throughout all that change, she says she has earned the respect of her players, which she considers her proudest accomplishment.
“Many of these players have been under the same coaches for many years and to them, I have to prove that my style will work,” she said. “Kids question and compare their other teams to this one, and we are bringing together players that have all played on separate teams.”
McGuire played travel soccer from middle school through her senior year of high school. She decided to become a police officer in college, when she realized her sports-related injuries would prevent her previous plans to join the Army. Having her daughter directed her toward working with kids as an officer.
“I realized I wanted to be a positive influence in the lives of other children the way I would want someone to be for my daughter,” she said.
After SROs were removed from schools, McGuire moved to the Youth Outreach Unit that ACPD formed to maintain those student connections outside of the school environment.
“Having great relationships with community organizations and the schools meant that we were not starting from scratch, and everyone loved having us come participate in activities,” she said.
Since becoming a detective and taking on a second master’s degree and undergraduate teaching, McGuire has looked forward to the much-needed break from work even more.
“There are times it feels very overwhelming, but everything I do brings me joy and has a purpose,” she said. “I considered giving up coaching, but in my heart, I knew I would hate the decision and miss the kids.”‘
But McGuire has a team of her own: at home, it is her supportive husband, and on the field, it is Master Police Officer Harley Guenther.
The two say their biggest job is to teach responsibility and sportsmanship.
“We tell the players their soccer bags are their responsibility and packing their uniforms and equipment is part of that,” Guenther said. “It does not fall on their parents or guardians to make sure they have all their things for practice or games. Sportsmanship is also important to us. We aspire to show the importance of being a good person on and off the field.”
Guenther — whose parents have spent a combined 66 years on Arlington’s police force — started playing soccer around five years old and played through high school, making the varsity team her freshman year and often playing goalkeeper. While in high school, she coached a recreational team of younger girls.
For her, coaching requires her to exercise some different muscles.
“I have to breakdown what I expect from them and explain things based on their level of experience, not mine,” she said. “There are times that all I want to do is join them on the field and play alongside them.”
The girls team went 5-0-1 this season and the boys team is currently 2-2 this season. McGuire says losses have taught her more than wins.
“As good as winning feels… there are lessons to be found in losing that you may never learn always winning,” McGuire said.
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Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
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Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve