A father and son practice soccer inside the home.

Lightfield Studios/stock.adobe.com

For Once, It’s Okay to Play Soccer Inside

U.S. Soccer Foundation, The Children’s Trust Join to Promote New Program

Remember Inter Miami CF, the new professional soccer team that had just started its inaugural season before the coronavirus pandemic hit and put a halt to all the fun and games? Like the rest of us, Inter Miami players had to hang up their cleats for the time being. But just as they are back practicing and readying for the restart of their season, so too can your children start to get ready for a day when they can go outside and kick the ball around with friends and family or get back to playing in their leagues. 

Thanks to the U.S. Soccer Foundation, your kids can start training inside the house or in the back or front yard and work on soccer skills even while still stuck at home. The foundation’s Soccer for Success at Home program is a new and free resource that provides videos for your children to help train, be active and learn while at home. The program is now featured on StayHome.Miami, The Children’s Trust’s new website with activities and resources to help get through stay-at-home orders. 

In 11 featured videos, Coaches “Bruno,” “Mike” and “Jess” walk your children through individual soccer lessons on everything from dribbling, accelerating and turning with the ball, striking the ball with the inside of your foot and more. There are more to the videos than just soccer, however, as the coaches also provide helpful advice on healthy eating habits, getting permission to play inside (from you, other family members and even neighbors), staying hydrated and other subjects.

Don’t have a ball? Don’t worry, Coach Mike gives instructions on how you can make one with a pair of socks and shorts that is actually safer to kick around inside a home or apartment. The U.S. Soccer Foundation team developed the “at-home” videos keeping in mind those with limited  resources and encouraging the use of everyday objects to use in place of more formal equipment. They also made it easy enough for all levels of soccer players to participate, but challenging enough to keep kids interested – including activities like dribbling in between cones while naming 15 fruits or vegetables. 

Finally, to get you in the mood for the day when you will finally be able to get back to the soccer field, they provided a downloadable coloring book on StayHome.Miami that includes a soccer field that you can design with your favorite team’s colors (hopefully Inter Miami!). 
Only months before the coronavirus pandemic, The Children’s Trust renewed its partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Soccer for Success program that teaches five related components to encourage healthy lifestyles in kids: physical activity, health & wellness, mentorship, community engagement and safe spaces. 

At the January Trust Board meeting, Board Member Dr. Daniel Bagner said he was encouraged by the results the Soccer for Success program had generated for participants. “I’m especially impressed with the data from this program. I actually received some more detailed data where it specified that over half of the kids in this program reduced their BMIs (body mass indexes) and it enhanced their aerobic capacity, so that’s really impressive,” Bagner said. 

While not all of those components are possible in our new realities, the new Soccer for Success at Home program on StayHome.Miami is reaching out to Miami-Dade youth and getting them ready for when they can put their cleats on and start playing for real.