Some of life’s most important lessons are learned on the sports field – even if a child is still too young to understand the rules of the game.
Since 2000, Vetta Sports’ groundbreaking Kickaroos program has helped kids ages 18 months to six years grow their skills on and off the field. With every kick, pass and goal, these little soccer stars are not only strengthening their gross motor skills, but they’re also learning everything from sharing to socializing.
Now Vetta is taking Kickaroos to the next step by incorporating a nationally-recognized child development component into their curriculum to help kids succeed in all areas of life. And your little one can join the fun by trying a free class!
Kicking off a new curriculum
Kickaroos has long been many St. Louis kids’ first venture into competitive sports. But what’s made it truly stand out from other programs has been its child-centered perspective, which teaches soccer fundamentals around how children naturally learn. While skills like balance and coordination have been at the forefront of the program, Kickaroos also reinforces kids’ social, emotional and cognitive development.
Based on the success of Kickaroos over the past 18 years, in 2018, Vetta decided to put a greater emphasis on the “whole child” approach to learning.
Said Tyler Roussin, director of Kickaroos and director of training and development for Vetta, “We’ve done a great job over the years giving thousands of kids their first positive experience with sports. But what we really want to do now is give soccer players a well-rounded experience to build up their skills on the field, at home and in school. We’re not just training the next Ronaldo – we’re helping kids excel in all areas of learning.”
For a week, Vetta staff dived headfirst into an intensive study of the LIVE (Lead, Inspire, Value, and Equip) value system, developed by a renowned child psychologist. Over the next few months, they slowly incorporated the method into their current Kickaroos curriculum to ensure they launched the new season on the right foot.
Today, the new Kickaroos program includes a diverse lineup of LIVE training that touches on all areas of child development based on a player’s age and experience with soccer. While kids will learn basic soccer skills, they’ll also participate in activities like stomping bubbles, navigating obstacle courses and tunnels, and playing games that build on their creativity.
“Soccer is one of the best teaching tools for children,” remarked Roussin. “It’s easy for them to understand and easy for them to pick up. With our new curriculum, we’re adding in those new components that spark their imagination and help them develop social skills through teamwork and problem solving.”
A class for every kid
Kickaroos offers classes for children from 18 months to six years of age, building on the lessons kids learn in each session. The focus of the classes is not on competition, but on enhancing children’s skills, making it ideal for those new to the game.
Each class is one hour, once a week, and since they are ongoing, kids are welcome to join at any time during the year. Best of all, Vetta offers a free trial class so you can be sure it’s the perfect fit for your little one.
To learn more about the new Kickaroos curriculum, visit Vetta Sports at vettasports.com/page/kickaroos.
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL
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