Moms get a break, youngsters get a real kick out of soccer program

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Moms need timeouts, that’s a fact.

And what a better way to get a break from the little ones and also have the child learn an athletic skill?

That’s where Soccer Shots comes in. The program is designed to not only give moms (and dads) a break, but it also provides an opportunity for children as young as age 2 to learn soccer skills.

"I’m from Southwest Nebraska. I didn’t play soccer, not because I didn’t like it, but because it wasn’t offered," said Pete Arteburn, owner of the North Tarrant County Soccer Shots franchise.

"I never had the chance to learn to enjoy it when I was young because it simply wasn’t there, and I want to make sure kids have the chance to be introduced to the sport."

Arteburn’s territory ranges from Arlington to Keller and many areas in between, a population of more than 600,000. That’s a lot of little tikes who can learn the game, and a lot of moms who can catch a break in the process.

"We know there’s a lot of playgroups, and they’re always looking for different avenues to put their kids in," said Arteburn. "This is an awesome opportunity. It gets the gets away from the videos and things like that, gets them some exercise, and it’s a great outlet for parents."

The program is for children ages 2-8. It’s not a competitive league, but rather a place to learn skills — and most of all, have fun.

Tina Beck-Bryan and her husband Daniel, of Roanoke, have been coaching select soccer for a decade. However, when it came time for their 4-year-old daughter Evie to learn about soccer, they chose the program.

"I didn’t want the hard-core competition for her to begin with," said Tina. "This is small enough that she can have fun and learn at the same time. There’s no pressure.

"Her older brother played soccer from the time he was 5, and he still plays at 21. She’s seen that, and if she wants to go that direction, fine, but right now she’s just having fun.

"If she sees a butterfly and gets off course, that’s a natural thing."

Tina liked the program so much, in fact, that she now runs the North Tarrant County franchise for Arteburn. but she never forgets that she is also a mom who occasionally needs a break herself.

"The daycares and preschools allowed us to come in, and then we blossomed it out and park programs were introduced," she said. "My daughter may have a friend who doesn’t go to preschool, but she can participate through the parks program.

"It’s nice to know that your kid isn’t just with a babysitter, but that they are indeed learning something.

"There just are not enough athletic events in the cities for ages 2 to 5."

Tina said through Evie she remembered why she herself got into soccer.

"I forgot how much fun it is with the little ones between 2 and 5. If they make a mistake, it’s no big deal," she said.

The program features 10-week sessions in the spring and fall with one class per week of about 35-40 minutes. Winter and summer sessions are for eight weeks. Cost for each class is around $11 or $12 per week — and participants get a free T-shirt.

Classes are divided into 2-year-olds, 3-5-year-olds, and 6-8-year-olds. Youngsters only work with those in their same age group.

"Rest assured that we never put them together," said Arteburn. "We will never have 2-year-olds paired with 6-year-olds."

Believe it or not, Arteburn said, 2-year-olds do actually grasp the concept.

"The 2s have a blast with it, and it’s so much fun to watch," he said.

"We don’t put a heavy emphasis on competition. It’s all about getting acclimated."

While most parents, unlike Tina, do not actively participate in the program with their children, they do almost always hang around and watch, said Jennifer Eisenbarth of Colleyville. Her 5-year-old daughter Avery, was introduced to soccer through the program last fall.

"We found it to be a great experience," said Jennifer. "She’s had fun, she’s learned some fundamentals, and she’s loving it."

For the Eisenbarths and other families, the program is an event they can enjoy together, she said.

"We don’t participate there (at the practice), but we see what they’re being taught, and then if she wants to go out in the yard and play, we work with her," she said.

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