Do you have toddlers or preschoolers looking for great soccer program? Bennett has been playing soccer since he was two, and during this time we’ve tried out a few different leagues, from the local rec center to national groups, and Soccer Shots is our favorite by a mile. It is such a sweet and fun group that focuses on teamwork, confidence, and respect as well as real soccer skills. Picture lots of high fives and kiddos cheering for each other. The spirit is not overly rigorous or competitive, but they are truly playing: they are running, dribbling, shooting, and getting good exercise.
Since Soccer Shots is franchise you can find a local group pretty much everywhere in the U.S. and Canada. They partner with preschools and local parks so there are many day/time options to choose from. We played in Berkeley at one of the most beautiful parks in the Bay Area, and were pumped to find the program at a park near our new home in Houston. Although I’ve noticed some small differences between the way the two cities are running soccer, the common element is child-centered fun.
My little guy, mid kick.
We just finished our first week of summer camp with Soccer Shots Houston – a one-hour class every morning for a week. They start each day in a team huddle where the coach introduces a different word of the day such as Respect or Confidence, and a few new skills like dribbling or changing direction. Then they break out into teams and play little games, like “airplane arms” or “kick over the volcanos (cones)” to drive the concepts home. Next each kiddo gets to take a turn to run across the field and shoot the ball into an open goal, all while the other kids excitedly chant their name. Ben-nett Ben-nett. Ben-nett. The first day Bennett stopped half way down the field and turned around to smile at all the kids. He just stood there soaking up the positive energy from his teammates. His coach had to coax him into finishing his run and shoot the ball. Oh, my sweet Bennett. Toward the end of each practice they play a short scrimmage with one ball and two goals. Although the idea is that they have two teams and are supposed to get the ball to the other’s goal, it’s mostly just entertaining to watch them all run around and wonder where the ball went. Over the course of the week though there was some real improvement in all the kids. I think the concept of the “game” is really starting to sink in for Bennett.
The icing on the cake is that the summer camp is full of goodies for the kiddos. They each get a Soccer Shots T-shirt, their very own Soccer Shots soccer ball, and a special prize each day ranging from a hand stamp to a Soccer Shots branded water bottle. The last day of camp they each receive a personalized completion certificate that was hand-written by the coach with notes about their individual performance and improvement. The price of this fun week is $90, not bad if you ask me. We enjoyed it so much that we just signed up for another week later this summer. (Thank goodness it’s early in the morning, Houston is not joking about the summer heat)!
But the best part, and the real reason why we believe in team sports in our family, is how happy Bennett is after playing the game. He protects his stamped-hand during bath time and can’t wait to tell his Daddy all about “Coach G” and the “word of the day”. He is so proud of his achievement certificate and loves to demonstrate the new moves he learned. Sweet Graham is just in awe of his big bro out on the field, and he even gets to play a little before practice starts. And my reward? Bennett has sacked out each night this week and slept a solid twelve hours. Exercise does a body good!
Doesn’t this sound fun? Check out Soccer Shots and see if there is a class or camp near you. Hope you all are enjoying some outdoor time this summer!
A bonafide Soccer Mama