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Just For Kicks
by Dan Eckles
Jun 14, 2011 | 1165 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Senior Recreation Leader Cody Fajardo shares a high five with 3-year-old participant Matilda Durante.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Senior Recreation Leader Cody Fajardo shares a high five with 3-year-old participant Matilda Durante.
One of the most successful programs that the Sparks Parks and Recreation Department hosts is underway once again. The Just For Kicks youth soccer program is getting some of the Rail City’s youngest youths running around on the soccer pitch. For most, it’s their introduction to the game with the black and white ball.

More than 50 Sparks youths are signed up for the city’s early summer annual program. There are 35 3-4 year-olds registered for the event, which is held from 5:15 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays this month. There are also 16 5-6 year-olds who participate from 6:15-7 p.m.

Kurt and Beth Stine have their 4-year-old Kaleb participating in the


“Any activities that we do with the City of Sparks have been great for him,” Kurt Stine said. “He seems to really enjoy it. The more we can do to keep him active the better.”

The camp is aimed at children interested in learning soccer. It covers stretching, exercise, soccer skills and modified games. Each child in the program receives a Just for Kicks T-shirt. The Parks and Rec. activity guide says instructors emphasize teamwork.

“The first week is just dribbling and passing,” said Jake McCall, a senior recreation leader for the city. “This second week we try to reinforce that. At the end, we’ll play a good and try to incorporate the skills the kids have learned.”

McCall said he enjoys the time he gets with the local youths.

“We instructors love it. We’d do it for free,” he said. “The kids are great. The things they say are so funny. When they smile, it’s great.”

Most parents with children involved say that’s a two-way street. Natalie Durante’s 3-year-old daughter is taking part in the current session.

“She’s having a blast,” Durante said. “She’s been running around, following in line and dribbling the ball. She’s really enjoying herself. It’s a great class.”

McCall said the earlier class, with the 3-4 year-olds, hit maximum registration while the 5-6 year-old session is just over half full. McCall likes to see as many kids kicking the ball around as possible, saying the more the merrier.

“We always want to see more kids. This first session filled up so that’s been great,” he said. “We want to get the kids to listen and learn. But there’s only so much they’ll remember at three so the most important thing is just that they have fun.”
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Just For Kicks by Dan Eckles

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