Soccer, the “Beautiful Game”

July 4th, Independence Day, is almost upon us evoking images of red, white and blue banners, parades down Main Street, apple pie and baseball, our national pastime. But what about soccer? People outside the USA can’t believe we don’t eat, sleep and breathe it like they do! It’s not just a sport to them, it’s a culture!

Those of us who love soccer and want to introduce our children to the “Beautiful Game” often are hard pressed to do so.

Mark Zeigler of The San Diego Union Tribune observes Soccer Culture here and around the world as such,

“Kids everywhere else grow up living, breathing, dreaming soccer. Here, kids in the suburbs go to regimented practice twice a week, play a game in front of screaming parents on the weekend and that’s it. No soccer on TV. No pickup games on the neighborhood vacant lot, honing their skills on a bumpy dirt field while dribbling around cinder blocks and tree roots.”

It’s up to us to get them excited about the game!

Beautiful Soccer, the “Beautiful Game”

This is one of our goals at Soccer Shots!

We create a fun, non-competitive atmosphere to introduce your children, ages 3-8 to the wonderful world of soccer!

We incorporate games they already know such as freeze tag, duck-duck-goose, red light green light, keep away and incorporate them with soccer skills such as dribbling, passing and scoring goals. We encourage them to use their imagination and dribble as fast as rabbits or as slow as turtles or be spacemen exploring new planets, collecting space rocks.
Here are some sources and events that will introduce our youth to Soccer Culture in the United States:

Watch the games on TV (Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, GOLTV, etc). America has Major League Soccer (MLS), England has Barclays Premier League, Italy, South America, etc.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is now playing from June 26 – July 17 in Germany. Team USA already won their first match against North Korea 2-0!

JULY – Several Club Friendly Games are being played all over the United States in Seattle, Washington DC, Chicago and right here in Los Angeles. Our own LA Galaxy is hosting Real Madrid on July 16th and Manchester City on July 24th! Here’s a great chance to catch Soccer Fever! For a full soccer schedule online or tv, click here.

Check out our Soccer Shots’ Fall School and Park Programs (park schedule will be announced on Facebook)! It’s a great skills program that compliments AYSO and other City and Club Programs!

See ya on the field!

Meet Our New Soccer Shots Team Member

We would like to welcome McKenzie Creamer to the Soccer Shots Los Angeles team! She will be helping us in the office as our Administrative Assistant as well as coaching in the South Bay.

“I am excited to help kids gain the same rewards that soccer has given to me.”

McKenzie 300x200 Meet Our New Soccer Shots Team Member

Soccer Shots is a rewarding position for McKenzie as she gets to work with the two things she enjoys most, kids and soccer!

McKenzie was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. Her love for soccer has taken her all over the nation. McKenzie started playing soccer at the age of four years old as she grew up watching her nine older siblings play ball. McKenzie was involved with soccer year-round through travel teams, clubs, and ODP.

She was a four-year varsity high school player where she played for her hometown school, West Salem High School. McKenzie was chosen captain by her coaches and teammates both her sophomore and junior year. McKenzie’s senior year she moved out East to be with her sister in Farmington, Connecticut. That year her team took home a State Championship.

After high school McKenzie returned home to Oregon where she received a scholarship to Clackamas Community College for soccer. In her freshmen year her team won the NWAACC Championship. There she was captain her sophomore year as well as took home the MVP and All-Star Student Athlete Award. Her success and love for soccer awarded her with another scholarship to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. McKenzie ended her soccer career and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration.

Every summer during college McKenzie ran her own All-Star soccer, basketball, and arts and crafts camp for ages 2-15 years. It was there that she had fun passing down the family tradition of soccer and sports to her 15 nieces and nephews. The camps grew from just the family to the community and friends. Her excitement and love for the game and kids will carry over to the Soccer Shots team.

Please join us in welcoming McKenzie to the team!

Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

(Guest post from Coach Jenn at Soccer Shots Los Angeles)

DSC01638 300x200 Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

I had an “Aha!” moment last week in regards to how to get the kids engaged and enthusiastic about what we’re doing at Soccer Shots. At the school where I’m teaching, I had a short meeting with the principal to talk about the children’s progress and behavior. We identified some of the kids that were getting out of hand and those that were not engaged in the games we were playing. She gave me some tips on how to handle them. Coaches, don’t be afraid to ask for advice!

We separated the children into 2 classes by age and ability. The next week the results were amazing!

The students were more engaged and paid better attention as well as behaved better as a group. I was also able to give them more attention instead of chasing them to keep them present.

DSC01576 300x200 Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

Also there was one boy in the class who was always quiet, reserved, tended to wander off. This week he happened to be the only boy in the class. All of a sudden he was excited, coming to me to make sure I saw him score a goal. He took it on himself to help set up the cones for the games we were playing. The dynamic was very interesting. He took on a more alpha role since there were no other boys in the group.

I suggest that coaches mix up the classes if you can. Parents, experiment during your play dates with different mixes of ages and gender. Observe how your child reacts. If you can manage it, watch when he thinks you’re not there vs. when he knows you’re watching. You’ll be surprised by the results!

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Improving Childhood Fitness Through Soccer

(Guest post from Carly at Soccer Shots Harrisburg)

All too often, I’m shocked when reminded of the current need to get kids off the couch. Whether it’s reading a news story about the government’s “Let’s Move!” campaign or hearing a “Play 60 a Day” ad, it’s hard to believe that we have to beg children to play. When I was young (and I’m not that old!), it was as if my parents had to pull teeth to get my sisters and I to STOP playing and come inside for dinner. In fact, finding us outside was such a chore, that Mom and Dad attached a rope to the large iron bell in the cupola on top of the garage and rang it when and it was time to come in. We spent hours in the woods building forts, in the creek catching crayfish, or even just in a neighbor’s yard, making up dances to the latest Madonna song.

Carly1 Improving Childhood Fitness Through Soccer

Most of these memories took place a little more than two decades ago, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says in just the past 20 years the prevalence of children who are obese has doubled, while the number of adolescents who are obese has tripled. So how does that translate into actual numbers? The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found nearly one in three children and teens are overweight and one in six are obese. Some may argue that BMI, or Body-Mass-Index, isn’t the “best” way to determine whether or not someone is overweight, but consider this: Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours each day using entertainment media. According to the Let’s Move campaign website, this includes TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies. Although some may blame modern technology for making these activities more prevalent and more accessible, we can all agree being sedentary is a huge health risk.

Carly2 Improving Childhood Fitness Through Soccer

On a daily basis, when I get to leave the office and head out to a Soccer Shots site to coach, I feel the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and the mud beneath my shoes and I feel like the luckiest person alive. I get to revert back to the times when I ran around the neighborhood laughing and burning energy. I get to be a kid again. I get to play! Better yet, I experience the feeling that our organization is making a difference. If the little ones we work with associate a positive feeling or a sense of joy with physical activity, we are on our way to reducing health risks associated with childhood obesity. I’m proud that my job allows me to teach kids to play a game that doesn’t involve a controller.

Carly3 Improving Childhood Fitness Through Soccer

My hope is that the activity doesn’t stop when kids leave our preschool soccer classes. It is my hope that kids share the games we play and parents see the activities we demonstrate in our webisodes. Just a few minutes each day being Cookie Monster or a Rabbit or Turtle could really get parents laughing…. and kids playing!

Kids Should Avoid Energy and Sports Drinks

Drinks Kids Should Avoid Energy and Sports Drinks

We wanted share this article from Parenting Magazine which says that parents may want to re-think their approach to re-hydrating this children.

Throughout the year and especially with the hot summer months approaching it is so important to stay hydrated. Please encourage your kids to drink a lot of water!

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Rigorous review and analysis of the literature reveal that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents. Furthermore, frequent or ex- cessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents.”

Here is the link to the full report.

Tip For Getting Kids to Eat Veggies: The “Sam-burger”

(Guest post from Miranda at Soccer Shots Franchising)

If you’ve got little ones in your life, you are familiar with this scene: A beautiful dinner that has been prepared for your family with both love and pride is plated up and presented to your child, only to hear the dreaded, “I don’t like that,” spoken with a nose scrunched and mouth turned down. As the mom of a 4-year-old who is such a picky eater that we’ve visited a food specialist, the version I’ve heard over and over is, “I don’t ‘yike’ it!” Determined to be smarter than the preschooler, I’ve developed and fine-tuned a recipe to both hide and entice my little stinker, oh, I mean, my son (and husband) to eat all kinds of vegetable, and even “yike” them.

Sam burger Tip For Getting Kids to Eat Veggies: The Sam burger

The “Sam-burger”: There’s lots of pureeing recipe books out there, but I’m a working mom and that extra step rarely happens, so here’s my basic recipe for my “Sam-burgers” which can be followed and adjusted anytime you use ground meat in your cooking.

1) You need a food processor, mine is a “mini” version that takes up little count space and is easy to clean (they cost around $15).

2) Pick at least 3 veggies that can be cooked. Really, you can’t mess this up. My go-to combo is onion, red pepper, garlic and carrot. Other suggestions are squash, pumpkin, tomato, kale, spinach, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.

3) The ratio that you want to shoot for is to have your mound of ground-up veggies to be about ¾ the size of your mound of meat. Worried that you over did it? No worries, just add more breadcrumbs.

4) Ah, yes, the bread crumbs! While you’re at it with the processor, throw in slices of some good quality whole grain bread, and some stale crackers (or those health-food ones that you bought thinking you’d get your kid to eat flax). Go for a mound of breadcrumbs that is about half the size of my lump of ground meat and then adjust as you start to mix.

5) Spice it up! Throw in a big hand full of ground up fresh parsley, and then any other fresh herbs that you have on hand or growing in the garden are fair game to mix in. Have fresh cilantro? Cool, make mixture Mexican inspired with green peppers, onions, squash, cumin, paprika… you get the idea. Make the spices match up with the herbs that you add to the mix.

6) Now you just simply bake them up. Switch it up from personal sized meatloaves (they cook way faster than one big loaf) to hamburgers, to meatballs to using it to stuff manicotti or cabbage. Serve it with everything from rice, to pasta, to just a bun with some ketchup. You know all the goodness that’s in there, so side dishes can be simple, and nothing to stress over if they don’t get eaten.

7) The leftovers burgers/balls/loaves can be frozen, and pulled out later for a quick microwave meal when you just don’t feel like cooking.