The Daily Dribble

Adventures in Parenting

Date:

Carly Mondschean, Owner of Soccer Shots Southern DuPage County, IL

Alex & CarlyAlthough it wasn’t one of those, “I didn’t know I was pregnant!” stories, my husband and I literally became parents unexpectedly, overnight. Just like that. No time to plan, decorate a nursery (nor did we even have an extra bedroom that could be a nursery), Google everything you know nothing about, read baby books, mentally prepare, etc. But everyone says that you are never fully prepared anyway, so perhaps that all would have just been a waste of time. Regardless, last summer we suddenly found ourselves the legal guardians of our nephew, Alex, when he was just four months old. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Having taught dance, coached various sports and babysat since I was 14, I thought I had learned a thing or two about parenting in the past 18 years. The thing about teaching or coaching or babysitting is that at the end of the day, you give the kids back to their parent. And I now believe NOTHING could fully prepare me for that full time responsibility! My husband had never done so much as changed a diaper, so his head must still be spinning.

We dove in to the role of parents, but again, with no time to read books or do research or Alexcontemplate cloth diapers vs. disposable. Our goal was simple: keep Alex happy, healthy, well, and alive! I’m proud to report, it’s been nearly a year and we’ve managed to do that without sweating the small stuff too much. Sure, his bedroom wasn’t cute. The décor theme was “Soccer Shots office” until we bought him a house for his first birthday. Who knows if all of his toys are developmentally appropriate. I did actually begin to wonder this when I heard a woman in Target having a near meltdown on the phone with her husband trying to decide whether buying a jumper chair would have a positive or negative impact on their baby’s development. It truly blew my mind that she had time to even consider the possibilities. I wanted to share with her that she would never regret the fact that if she bought it, she’d at the very least have a safe place to put her child for a minute or two when she needed to use the restroom or wash both hands at one time.

This isn’t meant, by ANY stretch, to be an entry about parenting advice (see below about a Johnny Jump Up then determine how much you trust my newly developed skills), but I do want to share a few other lessons that I’ve learned without the luxury of baby books, parenting classes or even Google in most cases.

In regards to the info above about the jumper, or bouncer, or whatever you want to call it, Alex had a legitimate, hand me down Johnny Jump Up. Yes … one of the “super unsafe” ones that you mount above a doorway that were banned in the 80s. We made sure it was securely attached to the doorway and he LOVED it, and so did I. It is one of those devices that allows you to take care of YOU first. If there is one thing I’ve been forced to remind myself of the most over the past year, when baby poo was hitting the fan, it is, “The plane is going down. You need to put YOUR oxygen mask on first to be better equipped to deal with this.” Truth. It’s not selfish. It’s what you need to do to respond appropriately to a given situation. Just don’t take too long to do it.

If you’re planning to have kids or already have them, chances are, you are or will become an expert in logistics. Little did I know that planning for just getting you and your baby from point a to point b takes some practice. You’ll surely forget a diaper, a change of clothing, wipes or toys when it is most necessary. It wasn’t long before I learned to keep ALL of these things in my car. And that in order to be on time for something, I needed to plan to leave at least 45 minutes early. No joke.

Not only does parenting make you a super effective planner (you have every right to brag about how you made it from a baptism to a birthday party all in one day without a meltdown or missing a nap!), but you will also become incredibly good at time management. Usually you will really want to take a nap during baby’s nap time, but you won’t. You can’t. That time will be used for washing dishes, taking a shower and even feeding yourself. And you’ll be able do it all in record speed. Productivity during nap time is huge.

Which leads me to my next point about exhaustion. I consider myself pretty active and physically fit. I’ve run marathons and I run around soccer fields with preschoolers for a living. But after one month, the physical and mental exhaustion of constantly having to be one step ahead of Alex was something I’d never experienced! My body eventually got used to it … until Alex began walking and the feeling returned. There is nothing that compares to the feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you turn your head for a second, look back and realize your child has pulled off a vanishing act. “Seriously?” you ask yourself, “Where could he have gone so quickly? The house is not that big and he is not that fast!” But he is, and he’s climbing up the stairs.

As we near the finish line of Alex’s adoption process, I couldn’t agree more with what every parent will tell you: every bit of this is totally worth it.

Running skills (both his and mine) came in handy as Alex and I ran the bases after he attended his first baseball game recently. Our whole extended family cheered him on loudly from the stands as he was easily the smallest, and last child to cross home plate. He had no idea what he’d just done, nor is he likely to remember it at 15 months old, but there was a huge smile on his face the entire time (even as he “slid” into second base). These are the other types of moments that will stick with you – the ones that make it all worth it.

 

Plan A, B, and C …

Date:

Tom Bartley, Owner/Director of Soccer Shots Brevard County

As a child, when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always said I wanted to be an insurance agent like my father. I joined the Air Force instead, but during my time serving, I always envisioned becoming an insurance agent after my active duty. Plans changed again when I realized that I just wanted to be someone who has a positive impact on the future leaders of the world. Owning a Soccer Shots franchise has given me that opportunity and I intend to do my very best to make a difference in my community.

Tom Bartley_FamilyWithout going too far back, it is important to know the story of how Soccer Shots Brevard County came to exist. At the time of my initial inquiry about the franchise opportunity, I had a job and I was concerned that Soccer Shots might not work where I lived because of the quality of the local soccer clubs. I wasn’t ready to jump in yet, but was intrigued by the business model and opportunity. Shortly thereafter, I lost my job. After the initial grief and panic that goes along with losing your job, I determined that I needed to find something new to do that I was passionate about, but also allowed me to take care of my family. I knew I wanted to be involved in a soccer or sports related business but I wasn’t sure exactly what kind so I enrolled in an Entrepreneurship Operations Course Certificate program at the local community college to at least begin learning how to run a business. During that same time, I was working with a military veteran’s organization called The Mission Continues and had the opportunity to coach soccer for young children. I realized that coaching soccer for children was something I was good at and enjoyed so I emailed Soccer Shots and told them I was ready to get serious about the possibility of owning a franchise.

After several interviews and completing the prospective owner requirements, I was awarded the Soccer Shots Brevard County franchise on August 19, 2013. I began my first season in January 2014 and it was a great success due to the help of the Soccer Shots support department’s wisdom and guidance helping me get business off the ground. The plan now is to grow steadily each season for the first year, learn the different processes, and build our reputation within the territory as the best place for children to be introduced to soccer.

It has been almost a year since I was awarded the franchise and I find myself happy and enjoying Tom Bartley_Florida Todaymy work. The business side of Soccer Shots can be stressful at times, but that is to be expected. Coaching sessions is my favorite part of the job. Our goal at each session is to have fun and make those 30-40 minutes extraordinary for the participants. Coaching is absolutely exhausting and I am usually dripping in sweat when I am finished, but it reinforces why I got into this in the first place – to make a difference for the children in my community and provide a positive soccer experience for each of them.

After trying different careers and going through plans A, B, and C., I believe I have found what I am meant to do in this life. Working with children is my passion and I love it. My wife laughs when I come home and tell her how exhausting a session was, but she can see my face light up and hear the excitement in my voice when I talk about the children and the way I feel when they figure out something I taught them.

Tom Bartley_Wellington KidsSoccer Shots ownership has given me new purpose in life and something to be proud of. Life experiences have provided me with an appreciation for the simple things in life like the smile on a child’s face. We are only given one chance to live and it is up to each of us to make the greatest impact we can.

Bump the Lamp

Date:

- Leslie Bennett, Owner of Soccer Shots Chattanooga, TN

I don’t know when I first became obsessed with perfection in children’s entertainment, but as I write this I realize it goes deeper than I thought. I guess I can blame it on my parents for taking me to Walt Disney World so many times that I have developed a ridiculously high standard. The bar really got pushed when I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Leadership Training Institute a few years ago. I was so excited to finally see the belly of the beast. I wanted to meet the true Mickey, see the space mountain track and walk the infamous underground roads of the Magic Kingdom. The morning came for our tour of the facility and I was beyond excited. We loaded the Mickey Express and headed out. First stop, the laundry facility. Yeah, you read that correctly. They took us to the factory where they wash the sheets and towels from the resort hotel rooms. “Well,” I thought to myself, “it can only get better from here.” Next stop, the maintenance shed. We got to see how they paint the trashcan lids … exhilarating! The third and final stop was on my list. We walked down into the underground tunnels of the Magic Kingdom. I didn’t get to see Mickey or any other famous characters, but I did get to see a trash chute that came from the underside of the roads above. So, to recap: I had the special privilege to witness how Walt Disney World is blowing their competition out of the water by seeing how they wash towels, paint cans and sort trash.

I sat frumpy faced in my chair eating my delicious Mickey Mouse ice cream bar and waiting for someone to apologize for the weird mix up. “Maybe,” I thought, “our tour guide was new and took us to all the wrong places.” A well-dressed gentleman entered the room and introduced himself. Instead of explaining the strange locations of our tour, however, he instead began describing a scene from the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” It was a fight scene that involved Roger getting shoved into a hanging lamp. The bumped lamp swings from side to side while the fight continues. I had remembered watching the movie years ago but I could not recall that particular scene. I kept wondering to myself why we had been taken to the most obscure locations on Disney property and now we were talking about one of Disney’s most obscure movies. As the day went on, I learned that the movie was created before digital animation. Each scene was painstakingly drawn by hand. Originally the lamp was left alone during the fight scene but an eager and passionate animation artist found a way to add an element of excellence to the movie by bumping the lamp. Bumping the lamp added months of additional work. The artist had to draw each cast of light and shadow in the room for each movement of the swinging lamp. All of this work for a scene I hadn’t remembered seeing and held no significance to the plot of the movie. What did all of this have to do with laundry, trashcans and recycling?

Disney employees are encouraged to “bump the lamp.” They are striving to make one small change to make an ordinary scene excellent. The laundry facility uses hydraulic lifts and personal AC units to ensure the comfort and productivity of employees. The factory trash can flap is removed and replaced with one that is 1/4 inch smaller than the hole so that little fingers won’t get smashed when throwing their trash away. The trash is sucked through tubes underground and sorted into bins to promote recycling without requiring the staff to dig through trash.

This lesson has shaped my management style. What I realized is that we often get bogged down worrying about the big picture and the monstrous problems. I was inspired to step back and look at the little things to ask myself, how can I “bump the lamp” in this scene? An equally important question: how can I inspire my employees to “bump the lamp?”

From 0 to 10,000: The Soccer Shots Los Angeles Story

Date:

- Rian Heim, Co-Owner, Soccer Shots Los Angeles
from Soccer Shots Los Angeles’ blog, found here.

Rian-jacket21Way back in 2008, when the country was in the early stages of the greatest recession of our generation, my wife Alyssa and I were in our first full year operating Soccer Shots. After months of careful consideration we decided to purchase the 16th franchise in the Soccer Shots system (today, there are more than 100 franchises in the system).

We knew the challenge that confronted us, not just the odds that face all new businesses, but given the turbulent economic times we knew we had an extra steep hill to climb. Looking back, I think we were also somewhat blind to the odds (either consciously or unconsciously, I am not sure) as we only focused on succeeding. We had a business plan, financial projections, and the desire to do what it took to succeed.

Alyssa and I knew we wanted to work with children and in the field of education.

Given the importance of physical fitness in children and their ability to learn and excel in school, Soccer Shots seemed like a perfect fit. Having previous experience working for a privately run charter school, global agencies, local companies, and Fortune 500 businesses we also knew that we wanted to start something of our own. And an opportunity that would support the family that we planned on having and that would succeed or fail based on the effort, decisions, and dedication that we invested. And of course there is always some level of luck involved.

In early 2008, not a single child in Los Angeles had experienced Soccer Shots. This year 10,000 children will experience Soccer Shots. In 2008 it was Alyssa and I handling every task, starting every relationship with schools, scheduling every season, coaching every class, and completing all of the administrative tasks. We were very much learning day to day and improving little by little with the intent to survive and hopefully grow. Today our team consists of 11 full time salaried employees and 10-15 part time employees. Virtually every hour of every day of the week there is a Soccer Shots class running somewhere in Los Angeles!

Soccer Shots Coaches and Kids The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

When I think about the growth that we have been so fortunate to experience, I can’t help but think about the future and where Soccer Shots will be in years to come. As a small business owner my focus naturally shifts to looking ahead but it is important from time to time to reflect on the past and how we got to where we are today. Looking back I realize that from day one we have been very intentional about our vision for Soccer Shots and truly believe that this vision and our success are directly linked. Every decision that we have made has been answered by thinking about our vision and who we are.

Our goal has always been to offer a quality program for the families in Los Angeles.

This goal has not changed, however we have learned that in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market, we must continue to strive to be remarkable and that part of achieving this was identifying the ways to make our program truly unique.

What Makes Soccer Shots Unique?

Employees, Not Independent Contractors
Our directors and coaches are all employees of Soccer Shots. This means our entire team is covered under Workers Compensation and Disability and many receive health and other benefits. Many programs farm out services to independent contractors. However, due to the nature of our work with children and the quality we wish to uphold, we prefer the conservative path of fully trained and screened employees.

Character Development + Soccer
Character development is the foundation of our program. Our professionally designed curriculum is structured around our 10 character building words. Each class utilizes our innovative curriculum which extends beyond physical activity to incorporate values like respect, honesty, teamwork, and encouragement.

Heims SS 960x946 The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

Family Owned & Operated Since 2007
Soccer Shots is owned by myself and my wife Alyssa. Together with our team we make every effort to deliver a remarkable program that children, parents, and schools will bene!t from and enjoy. As parents ourselves of two young children (Charles and Amelia) we understand the many needs of families.

Our primary focus is and always has been to serve the needs of the schools that we partner with. We understand the unique challenges and are experienced in meeting and often exceeding the expectations.

Trained & Certified Coaches
All coaches have successfully completed extensive group and one-on-one training by Soccer Shots. This means up to a couple of months of training alongside an experienced Soccer Shots Director/Lead Coach as well as ongoing professional development.

Squeaky Clean Records
Our entire team has successfully completed live scan fingerprint background checks through the State of California, certified FBI and Department of Justice agencies. Copies are provided upon request.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Many of our coaches have completed or are working toward fulfilling at least 12 ECE credits. We seek individuals with backgrounds in education and child development first. Soccer skills and experience are second.

Certified Mandated Reporters
Our entire team is aware that by law they are Mandated Reporters and are all certified by the California Department of Social Services. The safety and well being of the children are always top of mind.

Rewards Program
At the schools we serve we offer scholarships & all-play policy in an attempt to include children who want to participate regardless of their ability to pay. Many schools have fundraisers throughout the year and we make donations, typically in the form of gift baskets which include certificates for a free season. Another form of fundraising for schools that we serve is an incentive where we give a portion of the registration fees back to the school.

Maximum Levels of Insurance
Soccer Shots is fully insured with above required levels of coverage.

“Our primary focus is and always has been to serve the needs of the schools that we partner with. We understand the unique challenges and are experienced in meeting and often exceeding the expectations.”

In the end, our vision is to offer an experience that will leave a lasting effect on the children and families that we serve.

Read Across America: Confessions of a First Grade Teacher

Date:

- Ms. Lisa Findley, First Grade Teacher, Harrisburg, PA

I have a confession… I don’t always love theme weeks in school. As a first grade teacher, theme weeks mean taking at least 15 minutes each day to clearly explain the theme for the following day. That includes multiple (and repetitive) questions about the theme and giving or showing several examples of the theme. Secondly, each day is a new whirlwind of costumes, props and activities, of which you can imagine are totally not distracting to the learning process. Lastly, our “normal” routine might as well be thrown out the door. But however crazy these weeks may seem, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel when I see my students enjoying these literacy activities.

As you may or may not know, March 2 was Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Getting kids to enjoy reading was something that Dr. Seuss was passionate about. His philosophy and his books are why America’s teachers and the National Education Association selected Dr. Seuss’ birthday as the day to celebrate Read Across America. This past week in my classroom, we participated in several Read Across America activities including: Wearing t-shirts with messages, wearing mismatched/inside-out clothes, dressing like a book character, swapping books, and discussing our favorite books. As mentioned previously, these weeks are quite chaotic in a first grade classroom, but if it means that my students are focusing their attention to reading, then I am all for it!

Getting first graders to read has been one of the most challenging tasks in my life thus far. These fresh, young faces come to me in September and are so open and excited to read! With expectations of learning to read on the very first day of school (literally — that’s what they thought they’d learn first!), my students were sadly disappointed. Since then, reading is a constant struggle for many of them. I think we all, including myself sometimes, forget how difficult this task really is. So as this fun and silly week has come and passed, I noticed that many of my kiddos that really struggle with reading were having fun participating in the Read Across America activities. Each morning our school began with a student reading a Dr. Seuss quote to an unknown book on the morning reading on bean bagannouncements. My students excitedly screamed out the answer, thus beginning our wacky week. Throughout each day I chose to focus a little bit of our time reviewing the theme for the day and discussing how it relates to Read Across America. We took some time each day to “Stop, drop, and read!” and most importantly we talked about why it’s necessary to learn to read. Some of my kiddos want to be doctors, others want to be athletes, and not to toot my own horn, but others want to be teachers! Each occupation requires reading in some way, shape or form. But the one thing that I wanted students to understand this week was that reading should be fun! I always try to make reading fun, interesting or a learning experience.

This week may have been hectic for me, but if you ask my kids, they may respond with a different answer.

girls reading on floorreading in pink tightsboy SS shirt

Dealing with allergies: A love-hate relationship with food

Date:

- Alisa Kuppe, Co-Owner of Soccer Shots Central Jersey, mother of 2

Food and I have a love-hate relationship right now. I’m a full on “foodie” in many ways — I love eating out, discovering new places and recipes, etc. But at the same time, I have seen the ugly consequences of food not meshing well with our bodies. This past August, I ended up in the ER, shaking uncontrollably and experiencing a “seizure-like episode” — a result almost certainly related to some allergies I had to food. This wasn’t all – my son, age 4, has recently been diagnosed with ADHD NOS, and a huge number of articles have come up on children with ADHD and how the symptoms are aggravated by certain foods.

KuppeFamilyPhotoAll of the sudden, my love for food has been challenged to great lengths. My son now has a low, if any at all, gluten diet and absolutely no refined or processed sugar. I realized that having cooked tomatoes (fresh tomatoes are fine) and almonds of any sort are really hard on my body, so we have a lot of things we need to watch for as a family now.

I know that I join a long list of families with allergies and kids who probably are negatively affected by processed foods without knowing it. Nonetheless, as my child has birthday parties and holiday parties in his classroom, I can’t help but feel I need to make sure he still has a great time at these events without compromising his health. I believe as a Soccer Shots Director/Owner/Coach and as a mother, we need to not only advocate healthy living with an active life style of soccer, but also with the foods that we eat or offer, as well.

In this journey, I have found some healthier, guilt-free recipes that really are delicious, so I thought I would share them!

From BalancedPlatter.com, I found this recipe, which turned out like lemon meltawaysthis:

Lemon Meltaways

Makes about 24 cookies (I used cashews)

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups almond flour or ground almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey, coconut nectar, or Grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, gently melted (not hot)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the almond flour, 1 cup shredded coconut, coconut flour, and sea salt until finely ground. Add the honey, coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Process until a rough dough forms.
  2. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in shredded coconut if desired.
  3. For a no-bake treat, simply refrigerate until firm and enjoy!
  4. For a more traditional meltaway cookie texture, place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 250ºF for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Also see Raw Vegan Vanilla Bean Cheese Cake:

http://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/2012/04/vanilla-bean-cheesecake.html

Business Spotlight: Soccer Shots Brevard County

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“Everything good in my life has happened because of soccer,” says Bartley. “I’ve always played ever since I was 4 years old. It teaches me to make better choices. I’ve been able to volunteer more, get involved in the community, and it led me to this (Soccer Shots business ownership). It keeps me humble. I thought, ‘This is what I was meant to do’ — I found myself. Now I’m running a business, coaching soccer.”

Read the full article at FloridaToday.com.

Tom Bartley runs Soccer Shots Brevard County, FL.

 

Learning from Mandela

Date:

- Mark Miller, Owner, Soccer Shots Buffalo

It’s truly amazing what you can realize as an adult.

When Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, I thought of his contributions to South Africa and the anti-apartheid movement, and his status as a world symbol for peace and unity.

But over the weekend, while browsing social media posts about the former leader, I was reminded of something that I had heard and was vaguely aware of: his love of sport. Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”

I was so moved by that quote. It’s so true at Soccer Shots. Small children from disparate backgrounds are all one and the same on our ‘Soccer Island’ while kicking a ball around and cheering each other on as they shoot a goal.

I thought it was important to share what was behind Mandela’s inspirational words. It can be a great opportunity for a discussion with your kids on many topics, from acceptance to forgiveness.

South Africa was racially segregated, as many know. That segregation extended even into the sporting world. In 1995, Mandela joined a crowd comprised of predominantly white South Africans at the Rugby World Cup, where the Springboks, the South African team, was playing. They won, and Mandela presented the white captain with the trophy.  This was captured in the 2009 film, Invictus.

It started a movement, and the Springboks’ success galvanized the entire nation. By reaching out with an olive branch, Mandela united his country around the sport. The jerseys, once-hated because they were seen as whites-only apparel, became ubiquitous on whites and blacks alike.

Captain Francois Pienaar said of that moment when Mandela handed him the trophy, “We didn’t have the support of 63,000 South Africans today. We had the support of 42 million.”

We’re always amazed at the power of sport (especially soccer) because it puts all countries on a worldwide stage, like the upcoming World Cup — but it’s incredible to think that a leader as influential as Nelson Mandela saw sports the same way. He not only realized this, but actually made use of this to bring about change!

SoccerShotsOctober30-102 copy

‘Tis the Season to Care for One Another

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- Annie Ferret, Director of Marketing and Communications, Soccer Shots Franchising

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. With parties to attend, gifts to wrap and traditions to carry on, the season can get away from us before we have time to take a breath and really savor what this time of year is truly about. No matter your belief about the reason for the season, there is one common thread: ‘tis the season to care for one another. This is the season when we share gifts with friends and family to show them how much we care; when we lend our spare change to those ringing bells outside the mall or market; when we extend the father of three little ones some extra grace as he totes his squirmy ones through the store. This is the season we see the best in others, and share the best in us.

SoccerShots10-1-13Session-163 copyWe haven’t escaped the hustle and bustle at the Soccer Shots headquarters in Pennsylvania. We’re hard at work making plans for the coming year with curriculum updates, marketing calendars and process refinements. But a few times each week, our team pauses to do a bit of “Santa’s Workshop” work in our warehouse – packaging Soccer Shots soccer balls and mailing them to Soccer Shots children around the country. This is the result of our annual fundraising event for our non-profit, Global Goals. We give Soccer Shots parents and guardians a chance to give a Soccer Shots soccer ball to a child as a holiday gift with a $20 donation to Global Goals, which directly impacts our partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success programs.

That $20 donation makes it possible for children living in underserved areas across the country to be a part of after-school soccer programs (Soccer for Success) making a positive impact in their lives. These programs are an extension of our Soccer Shots mission and our entire community feels privileged to be a part of this extra impact.

With each packaged soccer ball, we are reminded of the reason for the season, to care for one another: a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend or relative, a stranger, a child in a nearby city, our community, and those in far away places. Our team pauses, savors the season, and is grateful for the impact our Soccer Shots parents and guardians are generously making with these donations. Each mailed soccer ball represents another child with a safe place to play. What an incredible impact we get to be a part of each year!

At Soccer Shots, we are grateful to be a part of more than 80,000 families this year to serve more than 100,000 children through our programs nationwide. This season, we pause to recognize this privilege and thank those who make our impact possible. From our families to yours, happy holidays, and we look forward to seeing you all next year!

Happy 100th Birthday, U.S. Soccer!

Date:

A word from Soccer Shots Director Zak Kraehmer, Soccer Shots Lancaster/Lebanon/Berks, PA

Soccer Shots Lancaster/Lebanon/Berks hosted a fundraising event for Global Goals on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Red Rose Arena, located in Lancaster. The event ran from 9 am to 11 am, and we ran Soccer Shots sessions every half hour.

BDay Party1I was really excited for this event because we were advertising and telling everyone we could about the event for several months. It was exciting to have such a great theme and a great cause for the event. Recognizing that U.S. Soccer is celebrating 100 years really piqued the interest of many families about U.S. Soccer and the game of soccer itself. This theme allowed us to transition into sharing more about Global Goals and what the mission of Global Goals is. Parents were supportive of giving toward the cause and supportive of Soccer Shots as a whole.

The sessions at our event all ran smoothly and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Our coaches dedicated their Saturday mornings to making sure that the parents and children experienced great sessions. The smiles on each child’s face was priceless when they saw that they would receive a Soccer Shots balloon and an extremely tasty cupcake. BDay Party2

This is a firsthand quote from a parent of a seasoned Soccer Shots participant after attending the event:

“We attended the Global Goals fundraiser over the past weekend. For our 4-year-old, there was no question if she wanted to go; she told us she was going before we even asked! For her, Soccer Shots is more than just something to do at school or on the weekend — it’s a special activity for her. This weekend was a fun additional session for Rachel, in addition to what she has at school. This weekend added to the knowledge of the game of soccer, but more so to the continued education on teamwork, sharing, respect for others and respect for self. It’s neat to hear the coaches teaching the rules of the game and the rules for Soccer Shots are goals for life, not only for the actual game of soccer. For my husband and myself, it was a great morning of seeing our 4-year-old sharing and taking turns with her friends, as well as other kids she didn’t know, learning to listen to her coaches and most importantly, having fun! It was a great weekend also of celebrating 100 years of U.S. Soccer! If you haven’t had a chance to watch your child play at Soccer Shots, we highly advise you to go to a weekend session like this one. Your child will amaze you on what they learn about soccer and life!”

BDay Party3 BDay Party4