MARYSVILLE — Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports for both boys and girls in the United States, and for children who are finding that they need something to keep them occupied during the summer months, Marysville’s Parks and Recreation has just the opportunity.
In collaboration with a group called Kidz Love Soccer, Parks and Rec is hosting summer soccer fundamentals for children, from toddlers to pre-teens.
The classes are offered at varying times at the Jennings Park Ballfield. The Tots class, for kids aged 3-4, drew dozens of children to their second practice on July 23.
“I signed him up because it was in my area and I heard good things about it,” said Michelle Delrosario of her son, Laik. “I like it a lot because it’s not competitive.”
The class at Marysville Parks and Recreation was not the first time that Laik had the opportunity to practice his soccer skills with Kidz Love Soccer.
“He did it about six months ago at the Arlington Indoor Sports facility, also through Kidz Love Soccer,” said Delrosario. “I love how they teach them. They don’t just don’t run around crazy, they teach them all about the fundamentals of soccer.”
Kidz Love Soccer practices an unconventional approach to teaching the sport — steering away from competitiveness, which they see as being detrimental to development.
The program focuses on sportsmanship, effort, learning and fun (SELF) as a way of producing a generation of kids who love sports.
“My friend suggested we sign her up for it,” said Erin Fisher, of her four-year-old daughter Peyton. “She absolutely loves it. We will definitely be bringing her back. And I love that it’s year-round.”
Marysville Parks’ Athletic Director Dave Hall is an enthusiastic supporter of the program.
“Before I worked here for the city of Marysville, I worked for the South Whidbey Park Department and had a chance to meet the CEO of Kidz Love Soccer,” he said. “They didn’t have any programs in Washington at the time, so he just came and pitched it to me, and I was really impressed with the whole concept. He came up with the slogan, ‘The score is always fun to fun,’ and I think that really fit with our philosophies of learning the game and having fun. When I came over here to Marysville, I called them and asked them to partner with us. It’s been great.”
Hall noted that the program’s success may be due in part to the skills of the coach.
“The coach, Rich Cheesman, has been in our Marysville area for several years,” he said. “He taught in Marysville’s youth soccer programs before. The even better thing is that coach Rich is here session after session, and a lot of people will sign up and ask, ‘Is it Coach Rich again?’ They are signing up for Kidz Love Soccer, but also a lot are signing up for Coach Rich.”
Hall put his two oldest kids through the program, and he and his wife will be bringing their 2-year-old to the Mommy-and-Me program in the fall.
“I think they both had a blast and got a lot out of it,” he said.
To sign up for the classes, visit www.marysvillewa.gov and click on the “ePlay” button. All classes are held at the Jennings Park Ballfield at 6915 Armar Road.
Mommy/Daddy and Me Soccer
Time: 6:30-7 p.m.
Age: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years
KLS Tot Soccer
Time: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Age: 3 1/2 to 4 years
Time: 4:15-4:50 p.m.
Age: 4-5 years
KLS Soccer 1
Time: 4:50-5:35 p.m.
Age: 5-6 years
Soccer Skillz and Scrimmages ages 7 to 10
Time: 5:35-6:20 p.m.
Age: 7-10 years