This is the first year that Kidz Love Soccer has come to Patterson, and the program is only in its fourth session servicing the city. The 30-year-old organization couldn’t be happier about the prospect of widening its curriculum to the Central Valley.
In total, the Kidz Love Soccer organization sees 40,000 plus boys and girls play during their sessions located in California, Oregon and Washington.
Erin Treat, the regional coaching administrator for the Central Valley, has been playing soccer since her early childhood, and has an immense passion for the sport and the soccer program. She has been with Kidz Love Soccer for eight years and is excited about its growth.
“Getting out to Patterson is a huge step for us,” said Treat. She also commended the city for offering a quality facility for them to operate in. “Patterson is a nice location and it is always maintained.”
Each session typically runs from 30 to 45 minutes and emphasizes the SELF policy, which stands for sportsmanship, effort, learning and fun. The goal of each session is to create a nurturing atmosphere where children feel free to learn soccer techniques, but most importantly have fun.
“We try to encourage the child, but never push them out of their comfort zone,” said Treat. “We want them to come on their own terms. We positively reinforce the kids to help them to come into their own.”
The organization often deals with novice soccer players and young children, but its flexibility in teaching extends even to children with physical and learning disabilities. Kidz Love Soccer works to make everyone feel welcomed, Treat explained. “Our purpose is to have a place where kids won’t feel judged or pressured,” she said.
Children who sign up for the program receive a free Kidz Love Soccer jersey. The only requirements for children to play are shin guards and water.
The Patterson program is broken down into four classes. The Mommy/Daddy and Me, Tot/Pre-soccer, Soccer 1, and Soccer Skillz and Scrimmages sessions all offer progressive training that changes each week.
To create a fun atmosphere, the program often has the players involved in games that allow children to role-play and use their imagination. Games like shark tank and sleeping buffalo get the children to engage in activities that seem unrelated to soccer, but train them in basic skills that will help them grow in the sport.
Some coaches, like Parker Shipe, are just happy to be involved and engage children in the sport. “I played soccer most of my life,” said Shipe. “Just getting kids to learn the game is great. It’s the fastest growing sport in America. I am just glad to be a part of the movement.”
Each coach is scrutinized in an interview process that focuses on how well they can handle kids in a positive manner. They are subjected to background checks, tuberculosis tests, but are also screened to see if they are people-friendly and approachable, which is tantamount for the Kidz Love Soccer organization.
Kidz Love Soccer can be found at the Sports Park Complex every Wednesday evening for any of those wanting to see the program in person. You can also find more details at the Hammon Senior Center, or visit their website at kidzlovesoccer.com to learn more about the organization or sign up.
Contact Erick Torres at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.