WVSA Players Summit



Saturday, March 12, 2022


DoubleTree By Hilton - Downtown Huntington


The West Virginia Soccer Association is excited to present the Inaugural WVSA Players Summit...an event designed for soccer players (15 years old and older) that focuses on taking their game to the next level (high school, club, ODP and/or college).

WVSA will bring in experts in the following areas like strength & conditioning, nutrition, sleep, mental health and college recruiting to speak to our youth players and give practical advice on how to perform better in these areas.

This will be an all-day event for players (and their parents). Tickets for this event will be $10.00 per person and all proceeds will benefit the WVSA Plus One Program....an initiative to encourage more licensed female soccer coaches in our state.

Tickets are now on sale. Click the link below to purchase tickets. We will only have 100 spaces available for this event.


2022 WVSA Players Summit Panelists


Nutrition & Hydration

Tim Bender RDN, LD - Assistant Professor, Dept. of Dietetics at Marshall University/ Sports Dietitian Consultant

TOPIC: "Kickin' It Forward with Performance Nutrition"


Tim Bender, MS, RDN, received his masters of science in dietetics from Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., and is currently working on his doctorate degree. Tim started his career in the field of dietetics working as a clinical dietitian in the area of surgical weight loss and medical weight management services. From 2008-2016, he served as director of the $750,000 USDA grant funded Marshall University Nutrition Education Program as well as an adjunct professor in the Dietetics program. In 2016, he took on the role of assistant professor and the distance dietetic internship coordinator for the Marshall University Dietetics Department, and in 2017, became the sports dietitian for Marshall University Athletics. Tim serves as fellowship faculty for sports medicine at the Marshall University School of Medicine. Tim also has a private practice focusing on sports performance nutrition and works with athletes all over the world. 


Strength & Conditioning

Tom Belmaggio - MS, ATC, CSCS - Sports Medicine Program Coordinator - Marshall Sports Medicine Institute 

TOPIC: Performance Injury Prevention: Tom will discuss warm-up and cool down, biomechanical deficiencies (strength, flexibility, mechanics) in soccer players and how to train those deficiencies, discuss the PEP program and go through a dynamic workout and proper exercises to prevent injuries.



Tom Belmaggio, MS, ATC, CSCS, is the coordinator of sports medicine at the Marshall Sports Medicine Institute. Career highlights include serving as head athletic trainer for Marshall University, an intern for the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, a game day EMS crew for the Tennessee Titans and an athletic trainer for the New England Patriots.


Mental Wellness

Laurel O'Neal Thornton - MA, LPC, ALPS, EMDR Certified - Whole Brain Solutions, LLC



Laurel O'Neal Thornton, MA, LPC, ALPS, EMDR Certified. Laurel's academic background is in neuropsychology and counseling. She attended Basic Training for EMDR in 2011 while she was finishing her master’s and have been using EMDR and the AIP Model as my primary orientation ever since. After graduation while getting licensed, she worked at a private practice that specialized in EMDR and treating complex trauma and stress-based disorders. Laurel started her own practice in Morgantown WV in 2015 that focuses on holistic wellness through the use of EMDR and other complimenting modalities. Her focus has expanded to include supervision and consultation.


College Recruiting

Kate Franks-Carr - Head Women's Soccer Coach - WVU Tech

TOPIC: The Truth Of College Recruiting & Scholarships


Kate Franks-Carr is a former Indiana University East assistant women's soccer coach where she helped develop a team into contenders within the River States Conference including a 12-4-4 showing during the 2018 season.

She earned her bachelor of arts degrees in sociology, anthropology and studio art (photography) at Earlham College, where she later served as the women's soccer assistant coach, the goalkeeper coach and trainer for the men's and women's soccer programs (2012-15). Carr guided the women's team to their first outright Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) championship. During this time she also completed her master's degree in kinesiology & health focused on sport psychology, from Miami University.

Athletically Carr has been on the soccer field since she was four years old and competed in soccer and basketball during her college career. She was an all-conference honoree and defensive team MVP on the soccer field while also being named team captain and "Unsung Hero" for the basketball program.