The six-day camp is for kids from ages 3-6 and runs on Tuesday and Thursdays. The 3-4-year-old age group plays from 5:15-6 p.m. in the evening, while the older 5-6-year-olds display their footwork from 6:15-7 p.m. Campers learn the basics of the sport as well as various drills, stretches, exercises and games. Along with taking away teamwork and attention skills, the kids also get a ‘Just For Kicks’ T-shirt.
“I just like to see them improve and get better and more athletic,” Just For Kicks instructor Zach Lewis said. “It’s good to see them learning. I like to see their control. I like to see them learn how to be in control of their body and the ball.”
Taking to the pitch for their first session of the camp, the kids were eager to show off their skills.
“He loves to be outside and I just thought this would be good for team building and getting to know people and structure and having to follow a routine,” said Dana Sharp, mother of 5-year-old participant Blaine Sharp. “He was really excited to come out here. He loves it, more so than I thought. He’s out there really having fun. He’s got a little partner out there that he seems to partner up with. It’s good to get him out there interacting with the other kids. It’s going good.”
While the kids are certainly enjoying their time on the field as are the parents, they are not the only ones.
“I always try to get involved with the youth sports,” ‘Just For Kicks’ instructor Brendan Bosch said. “I just like coaching the kids and teaching them what I know. I like to see them be a kid and getting to interact with the other kids. It’s good to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they learn something new. It’s just good to get them out here and teach them how to play a little bit of soccer.”
Fellow instructor Emily Gonzales echoed the same sentiments.
“I personally love soccer and play it, so it’s just fun being out here,” Gonzales said. “Just being able to teach the kids what I know feels good.”
Bosch, Gonzales and Lewis along with other mentors from the Sparks Parks and Rec department are a large part of the reason that so many parents bring their children back for the various activities provided by the city.
“My wife is always looking through the Sparks Rec stuff because they do a good job with stuff,” said Jason Folchi, whose 5-year-old son Talyn Folchi is in the soccer camp. “She got him into basketball and he did it but it was kind of no big deal to him, but he liked the coaches and they were doing soccer too, so he wanted to try soccer. Whatever he wants to try, we’ll let him do. I think the programs are run well. For the most part these guys do a real good job. It’s a good program.”