Indoor Soccer Programs for Kids: What Made Me a Believer

{Disclosure: We have partnered together with Lil’ Kickers Twin Cities to bring you this sponsored review of their program. While this post is sponsored, the opinions expressed below are entirely our own.
Lil’ Kickers Twin Cities is a year-round, child development program that helps children build physical, intellectual and emotional skills that apply both on and off the soccer field. Coaches work with their classes for 50 minutes of high energy, age-appropriate activities to introduce them to the game of soccer.
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When I thought about my daughter participating in a soccer program for 5-6 year olds, I envisioned a herd of kids chasing after a soccer ball while a few free-spirited children hung back picking dandelions for their moms. However, what my daughter experienced through Lil’ Kickers soccer was so much more!

Soccer Programs for Kids: What Made Me a Believer | Twin Cities Moms Blog

From the minute we started our first class, this program impressed me with its positive and intentional coaching, and unique approach to teaching soccer skills. I haven’t seen anything like it before. As a parent and educator, I have the utmost respect for how it’s designed.

The program, especially for the younger kids or those without previous soccer experience, is game-based. Not soccer game based, as in scrimmages, but creative, imaginative game-based. I listened as the coaches gave instructions to a game where there were various volcanic islands around the gym and the kids had to use their fire rescue boats (soccer balls) to put out the fire on a particular island. I watched as the kids maneuvered the ball carefully to whatever island the coach shouted out, then stopped the ball and tapped it with alternating feet to “pump the water” and cool down the hot, hot lava. My jaw dropped as I realized that without using the soccer terms, the coaches were teaching dribbling and trapping! To the kids, however, they were just busy putting out fires. Each game is designed with different objectives, and moves the kids a little closer to having all the skills needed to participate in a soccer match.

Soccer Programs for Kids: What Made Me a Believer | Twin Cities Moms Blog

The tone of the class is very positive. The coaches are always ready with praise and encouragement. Every effort is met with a high five, and the kids simply beam under their leadership. I can tell that the kids are proud of what they have done and want to work harder at practice because of the encouragement they receive.

If the class is struggling with a particular skill or game, the coaches seamlessly modify what they are doing right in the middle of play. They have this keen knowledge of the class’s abilities, and work thoughtfully to keep the activities challenging enough to push the kids, but not so out of reach that the students get frustrated or discouraged.

One benefit I didn’t realize would be so important to our family is the emphasis on teamwork. I have a very independent daughter, and participating in dance and gymnastics thus far hasn’t instilled in her an appreciation or need for teamwork. At her Lil’ Kickers practice recently, they played a skills game where the kids were paired up and each partner group had to hold onto opposite ends of a pool noodle. They worked together as a zamboni unit to sweep the gym of loose soccer balls, corralling them into the nets. This required a huge amount of teamwork, and I watched my daughter struggle to go from her independent, “I can do this myself” mindset to working with her partner. She doesn’t have many opportunities like this to hone her teamwork skills, and I’m grateful soccer will be a growth opportunity for her in this area.

 

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

I’m glad we decided to sign my daughter up for soccer, not just for the character development and soccer skills she’s gaining, but also to equip her for wherever life may take her. A friend of mine described soccer as a universal language – you can go anywhere in the world, pick up a soccer ball, and connect with the people around you. My daughter is originally from Ethiopia, and she has three cousins there who are her age. When we go back and visit, she may not have many words to use with them due to the language barrier, but my hope is that the four of them can make memories by playing together. And maybe, just maybe, that begins with soccer.


Lil’ Kickers Twin Cities is offering classes at two indoor locations this fall:

Twin Cities Indoor Sports (900 6th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414)
Sabes JCC (4330 Cedar Lake Rd S, Minneapolis, MN 55416)

Call 855-366-3866 to schedule your FREE TRIAL CLASS

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