Reflections on Week 9…

IMG 7028 460x310 Reflections on Week 9...I try not to have favorites at Soccer Shots. There are certainly some games I like better (because they often run smoother), some character words are easier to explain, and some weeks the stars align and class just feels GOOD.

This week, week 9 at Cheviot Hills Park, was one of those weeks.

Week 9 is also one of the later weeks in the season, when you can really see the progress children have made over the course of the season. It’s amazing.

Here are some of the things I heard and saw this morning:

8:47am: Coach Matt, Coach Justin, Coach Steven, Coach Matthew, and Coach Mario talking about the plan for the day. What games will they play? How can they modify them to take them to the next level? What’s the best way to teach the chop move? Encouraging each other, and always learning from each other! Awesome!

9:15am: Coach Justin is leading the MINI class of 8 children, and doing a fantastic job! Every child is using their feet almost ALL of the time. They are listening, smiling, laughing, and have made so much progress since week one!

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9:54am: Children from my PREMIER class are arriving; practicing power kicks, passing, and talking about what parts of their feet to use.

10:45am: The PREMIER class is scrimmaging (2 v. 2’s) to practice passing, and are showing incredible DETERMINATION and skill. We transition to a larger scale game (5 v. 4) and the grey team completes an absolutely beautiful “GIVE AND GO” pass for a goal!

11:22am: The CLASSIC class lead by Coach Steven and Coach Matthew dribbles under control around their race track, using the CHOP MOVE perfectly to stay inside soccer island. Impressive!

12:05pm: I receive a donation from a family for our Thanksgiving Food Drive. I ask the child (3 years old), “Did you get to pick out the food?” “Yes.” “Do you know what I am doing to do with it?” “Give it to some kids who don’t have food…” His father and I both smile, and I couldn’t love my job any more than in that moment.

The progress I saw today (and often see week 9) in all of the classes  at Cheviot Hills Park was truly REMARKABLE. I’m certain coaches and families at other parks and schools are seeing similar things!

Week 9 is one of my favorite weeks.

I left the park today with an incredibly full heart. So proud of my team of coaches. So amazed by the kids! So happy I get to be out there on Saturday mornings playing soccer, making a difference, and having FUN!

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More than just soccer…

AlyssaM More than just soccer...Last season a family joined us at Cheviot Hills Park, with their son in our CLASSIC class. This Fall season both of their children are enrolled; their son in the CLASSIC class and their daughter in the PREMIER class. I have been lucky to be able coach both children, and I say lucky because they are two of the most polite, genuine, determined kids, and they love to play soccer!

This Saturday, Aubrey* came to the PREMIER class with her Soccer Shots shirt on, and I noticed something different. The shorts on the little man had been colored pink, and (s)he had a long flowing pink and black ponytail.

I LOVED it, thinking “GIRL POWER!” in my head. I greeted her and immediately asked her about her shirt. She told me she didn’t like it, so she fixed it. “The shirt has a white man on it. Girls and all kinds of colors of people play soccer too,” she said. I smiled, and couldn’t help but gush that I understood her feelings and I agreed!

We got a soccer ball, and started kicking around. Soon enough I got class started, and our conversation was quickly overshadowed by fun. When class was over, Aubrey came back to me with her Dad. He gently encouraged her to give me a white envelope. Curious as to what could possibly be in there, I welcomed Aubrey to talk more. She explained; she had written a letter to me because she felt so strongly about her shirt. She’d even included a new design that she drew!

Of course I asked Aubrey if I could share her letter with everyone at Soccer Shots; she shyly, but happily agreed, and I plan to do so.

As they were leaving, Aubrey’s Dad completely filled my heart with joy, he said,“Coach Alyssa, I truly believe what you do for these kids is more than just soccer. I see it every time I am out here. Thank you.” 

I couldn’t agree more, and it’s the reason I do my job every day. We encourage, inspire, and welcome freedom of expression. We make the time and space every day for kids to have fun, be silly, be free, and be themselves. We allow for trial and error in a safe space, we encourage mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and we support even the smallest of efforts.

As I said goodbye to them, I couldn’t help but say, “Aubrey, I love the way you stood up for what you believed in, you know, you could make big changes in the world some day if you wanted to.” She smiled, and said, “I know.” 🙂

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At Soccer Shots we celebrate all the young minds that we work with all the time, because you never know which experience they have (at Soccer Shots or not) will be the one that will shape their life.

Anywhere across the country, on any given day of the week, a future President of the United States, a future Nobel Prize Winner, a future inventor, a future scientist, a future teacher, a future business leader, and more, may be playing Soccer Shots.

My hope and goal for all kids in Soccer Shots is not only that they have a ton of FUN playing soccer, but that they also learn, grow, and experience so much more that helps prepare them for life.

– Coach Alyssa

Director of Program + Community Advancement

(* = Name changed for privacy)

Most Awesome Stellar Sports Class in Los Angeles!

With more than 200,000 votes in, it’s official… Soccer Shots Los Angeles is the Most Awesome Stellar Sports Class in town!

Winner: Soccer Shots

For young ones from ages 3-8, Soccer Shots is a creative athletic program that utilizes soccer to encourage character building lessons, exercise and enjoyment of sports. These programs can take place in your kid’s school, nearby parks or as their next birthday party!

Thank you to all who voted and everyone for your continued support!

Screen Shot 2012 12 14 at 10.56.25 AM Most Awesome Stellar Sports Class in Los Angeles!

LASA + Soccer Shots + LA Galaxy

Los Angeles Soccer Academy (& Soccer Shots) in partnership with the LA Galaxy invite you and your family out to the Home Depot Center for an exciting day of training and the LA Galaxy VS. Portland Timbers game!

Tickets are only $20 each (over 50% off) and INCLUDE TWO HOURS OF TRAINING WITH THE GALAXY COACHING STAFF! Friends of LASA and Soccer Shots are welcome to join us!

Please see the attached file for additional details. Email losangeles@soccershots.org for ticket purchasing details. Payment and contact info must be sent to Soccer Shots by March 28, 2012. OFFER EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, APRIL 6. Please call us at (310) 857-6560 with your name, phone number, and mailing address. We will also need for you to mail us a check (made out to Los Angeles Soccer Academy) to:
Soccer Shots
8055 West Manchester Avenue
Suite 310
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

In addition to the LA Galaxy and LASA coaches, our very own Coach Alyssa, Coach Lindsey, and Coach Amanda will be at the training! Also, owners Rian and Alyssa Heim, Assistant Director Ali Lawson, and Lead Coach Andy Baena will be at the game! Come out to say hi, let the kids play, and enjoy the Galaxy vs. Timbers!!

GalaxyFlierR2 LASA + Soccer Shots + LA Galaxy

Soccer for Success Overview 2011

Soccer Shots is proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Soccer For Success program, an after-school program that aims to fight childhood obesity and provide positive social benefits. Check out this video from a Soccer For Success event in Los Angeles last month, which two Soccer Shots Co-Founders (Jason Webb and Justin Bredeman) were able to attend.

“It’s about building the whole child. Soccer is just the hook.”

-Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Soccer Shots Sport Court Installation Day at Avon Avenue Elementary School

On November 2, 2011, Soccer Shots and its nonprofit arm, Global Goals, got to officially convert their fundraising efforts to real, live, positive impact. Soccer Shots franchisees nationwide raised money through Global Goals over the past year in order to install a SportCourt – a multi-use athletic court – on the asphalt grounds of Avon Avenue Elementary School in Newark, NJ (see Jason Webb’s recent post with more information on the installation and the impact it will have on the school and community).

Check out our video HERE of Jason Webb, Soccer Shots Partner and Co-Founder, speaking to Dominique Lee, Founder & Executive Director of Avon Avenue Elementary School, about the exciting news!

Free Soccer Shots Class (Ages 3-5)!

SSLA  RC2 Ad 300x249 Free Soccer Shots Class (Ages 3 5)!

If you are like me, you are already starting to find things for your kids to do over the holidays. Well add this to your calendar!!!

Soccer Shots is hosting a FREE soccer class for 3-5 year olds at the following parks:

Be sure to register online to reserve your spot.

CLICK TO REGISTER:
Valley Park (Hermosa Beach) – Thursday, December 15th 3:15pm – 4:15pm
(Find us towards the back of the park.)

CLICK TO REGISTER:
Hazeltine Park (Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys) – Saturday, December 17th 9:30am-10:30am
(Find us on the east-side of the park off Hazeltine Ave.)

CLICK TO REGISTER:
Culver West Park (Culver City) – Wednesday, December 21st 3:30pm-4:30pm
(Small park, you can’t miss us.)

If you haven’t played soccer with us before or you are a regular in the Soccer Shots family, come out and join us! And invite your friends as well!

Check out our blog and website for more info on our program: www.soccershotsblog.org and www.soccershots.org/losangeles

And “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/soccershotslosangeles

See you at the park!

Yay For Soccer Shots!

I wanted to share this review that we received via Yelp from a parent in Echo Park. Thank you again for so beautifully putting into words your experience with our program. It truly makes me happy to know that our program has this affect on families in the community.

Review from Michelle M. in Echo Park:

My mantra as a mom is to expose my son (now 3) to everything life has to offer – from museums, a variety of music, different people and languages, etc.

It’s about encouraging a well rounded and secure relationship to the world around him, and ultimately, to empower him to chose what he enjoys in life.

So as he turned 3, I felt the next logical step was to enroll him in team sports… what better way to learn about working with others, burn off toddler energy and enjoy the outdoors? My ideal was soccer, but there were no options in my area (Echo Park). That’s when I came across Soccer Shots.

SS CommunityOutreach Yay For Soccer Shots!

They were pretty much the only soccer group that focused specifically on the 3-5 year old set… but even they hadn’t yet spread to the East Side. I contacted them anyway and long story short – they decided to donate a community outreach grant to my son’s preschool (10 sessions for the fall season!!!). I was shocked and thrilled … what a great way to build community!!

My son and his school mates have been going to soccer weekly now for about 5 weeks. He’s more agile and is learning to direct his energies. He’s starting to grasp the idea of team (a hard one for a 3 year old) and likes to talk about his scrimmages and how he and his buddies worked together.

He looks forward to every Tuesday AM (the weekly session) and I look forward to his evening breakdown of the day as it inevitably features something new Coach David has taught them (dribbling, balancing, passing) the thrill of a goal he’s scored, or praise for a buddy who did the same.

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Soccer Shots is one part of the overall balance we seek for our son. In a city with such a strong focus on the individual, Soccer Shots provides an early lesson on the importance of working together, self-discipline and the fun that comes from physical activity.

We can’t thank Soccer Shots enough for all their efforts and support – all the parents are thrilled. And while we were fortunate enough to be awarded the community grant, the overall costs are well worth it.

We’ll definitely be signing up next season. Yay for soccer shots coming to the East Side!!

Impacting Youth in Newark, NJ

(Guest post from Jason Webb, Soccer Shots Partner via The Daily Dribble)

If you’re like me, a typical week for you might include a couple of evening soccer practices at a nearby township park, dinner out with the family, carpooling in your minivan, and Saturday morning soccer games. The games where my kids play are held on grass fields which are lined and include goals. We have coaches and paid officials, concessions and public bathrooms, and our parks department or club provide these amenities at a low cost.

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This is not anyone’s typical week in Newark, NJ, a city just a few miles west of New York City known by many for its airport or its infamous riots in 1966. In fact, it would be unsafe to bring your children to a public park in the evening in many locations in Newark. Safer locations are fenced and gated. Few recreation departments have the resources to provide soccer fields. Even fewer offer community soccer programs.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the great work of the US Soccer Foundation by installing a Sport Court soccer field on the property of Avon Avenue Elementary School in Newark, NJ.

Avon Avenue Elementary School is located in the one of the most difficult wards in all of Newark, NJ and until recently, had recorded the lowest test scores of any school in the city. For these reasons, it has gained the attention of several organizations, including the US Soccer Foundation (USSF).

The USSF creates and supports programs which are designed to keep kids active and healthy. They guide children away from negative influences by providing them with safe and healthy places to play after school – the most dangerous hours of the day. Players receive attention and support from caring mentors and coaches who work to ensure that they develop into healthy and successful young adults.

The Foundation is working to build safe playing fields and bring their “Soccer For Success” model to economically disadvantaged communities nationwide.

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Through the generosity of a donation made to the USSF by Soccer Shots Global Goals, a safe playing surface has been constructed on the playground at Avon Avenue Elementary. This new court will host an after school soccer education program led by the Claudia Reyna Foundation and will include year-round, daily soccer programs offered to Avon Avenue Elementary students after school. For most of the kids who will participate in this program, it will be their first experience ever playing soccer.

As a representative of the Soccer Shots franchise community, which so generously contributed to the construction of this court, it was my privilege to represent Soccer Shots last week during the construction of this court. We started constructing the court in the morning and by early afternoon, the court was nearly complete. It’s an 85 foot long by 55 foot wide safe playing surface which will have lines and goals. Apparently, this surface is ideal for many sports (tennis, volleyball, etc.) but found its place in soccer as the official surface for futsal. In urban locations, it’s virtually impossible to maintain grass playing surfaces, and artificial turf is cost-prohibitive at nearly 6 times the cost of a Sport Court. According to the USSF, constructing this court on Avon Avenue’s property will allow for maintenance, protection, and daily use of the surface through the USSF and its partners. The court will be the property of the school’s, and it may be used for other activities during and after school.

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The best part of the day happened around 1:30pm. The field was near complete and a group of older kids (must have been around 12 years old) were out on the school yard. They were eyeing us up, tip-toeing on the field, and peppering us with questions about the field. One wanted know if it could be used for football. Others mentioned, “If it’s for soccer, is someone coming back to teach us how to play?” That was all we needed to hear. The 5 of us representing Soccer Shots and the USSF got out a bag of soccer balls and starting playing soccer with the kids right there on the court we had just installed. We taught a few of the older boys how to juggle and head back and forth. When the school bell rang, those boys were still practicing, didn’t want to leave, and were the last ones back into the school.

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I consider it a privilege to be a coach and to impact kids positively here in my local community. I also consider it an honor and a privilege to share resources and to support the excellent work of the US Soccer Foundation in Newark, NJ and in other cities throughout the United States.

Good Deeds On & Off The Field

GlobalGoals Good Deeds On & Off The Field

In 2009 Soccer Shots’ Global Goals, a non-profit organization, was born out of a vision that our soccer communities could band together and provide growth and opportunities to disadvantaged children. Through the “Beautiful Game” we want to reach out to children across the USA to create a healthy, productive environment in which kids can play, learn and develop.

We have partnered with the U.S. Soccer Foundation who’s goal is to provide affordable access to quality soccer programs that support children’s physical and personal development. The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are designed to keep kids active and healthy.

They guide children away from negative influences by providing them with safe and healthy places to play after school – the most dangerous hours of the day.

Players receive attention and support from caring mentors and coaches who work to ensure that they develop into healthy and successful young adults. The foundation is working to build safe playing fields and bring the “Soccer For Success” model to economically disadvantaged communities nationwide.

USSoccerFoundation Good Deeds On & Off The Field

Soccer Shots has embraced this cause. To that end, our Soccer Shots Los Angeles has committed to donating a portion of your child’s registration fee to the Global Goals/U.S. Soccer Foundation’s efforts to construct playing surfaces within various cities throughout the U.S.

Thank you for signing your child up for Soccer Shots and for your support of the Global Goals campaign! Every child should have a place to play, a place to learn, and a place to grow!

Announcements:

• Congratulations to Playgroup Echo Park, recipient of the 2011 Community Outreach Award. They will receive 10 FREE SESSIONS this fall. For more info about our 2012 award, please email losangeles.soccershots.org.

• Our Fall Season starts this week! Contact your school to see if Soccer Shots is already a provider of fine games and good time! Otherwise, please let us know you’re interested! We’ll contact your school and set up a FREE DEMONSTRATION for the kids!

• The Soccer Shots Los Angeles office is now located at: 8055 West Manchester Avenue, Suite 310, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293. Phone: (310) 857-6560 Email: losangeles@soccershots.org


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