WHY SOCCER?

You may ask, "why a soccer program?" The answer is quite simple, but entails a story.

Many of the individuals involved at the Soccajoeys Foundation are passionate ambassadors of the code and have competed at a high level. We enjoy being able to share our positive experiences from years of playing and pass on our knowledge of its developmental benefits.

Soccer is easy to learn. Most kids naturally run and kick a ball by the time they start walking, although not in the right direction, which takes time to teach.

It’s an excellent form of exercise that helps kids build strength and stamina, and develops important gross motor skills. Research tells us that children who play organised sports, such as soccer, at an early age are more likely to adopt healthy habits.

The physical benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and balance, and weight control. Other benefits include the development of social traits such as discipline, teamwork, leadership, companionship, fairness, and self-esteem.

Soccer is a universal game, so no matter which country you visit, there will always be a round ball nearby and a group of young kids eager to enjoy a kick around. 

Foundation Director

Jose Bello

 

PROGRESS...

We enjoy learning more about the families that take part in our program as we discuss goals that we can work towards during each term. Quite often the goal is simple and is achieved every time the child shows up for class. The opportunity to participate in a development program designed to improve a range of skills and increase social awareness is too good to pass up.

So, how do we measure progress? Well, it depends on what your expectations are. This week we observed a child kicking the ball for the very first time and it was the high point of my afternoon. We also witnessed children becoming more involved in "the big game". They were running and kicking with intention, and this was perhaps my highlight of the week.  

Next Step allows the child to progress at their own rhythm without any pressure, expectation or need to design a plan. The plan consists of participating and helping unlock the child’s true potential. We know how to recognise progress, and it’s often found in the simplest of forms.

 

Jose Bello

Foundation Director

 

GEORGE'S STORY

I had the privilege of meeting George and his family at the start of 2011. George formed part of our first Next Step class, which was a partnership with Lifestart Co-operative. The first group consisted of eight children aged from three and a half to five years. 

George completed three terms of Next Step and was demonstrating a good ability to complete multi-step exercises, follow verbal instructions and execute complex gross motor planning drills. After observing George's progress, we decided it was time to transfer him to our mainstream Soccajoeys program. Our mainstream classes are held in venues that can cause a sensory overload. There are also more children in each group, and classes run for an hour instead of 45 minutes.

We were surrounded by many challenges, and we must confess that there were some difficult moments, but there always is when a young child is exposed to a new environment. We persevered and George gradually began to excel in his new surroundings. He loved "the big game" and was a natural striker who always needed to score a goal or two, or three, or four!

After completing five terms in our mainstream program and exceeding all expectations, it was time to progress to another level. It was the beginning of 2013, and we discussed the possibility of George joining a local soccer club. Having a mum that is incredibly supportive, full of encouragement and open to exploring new pathways, we registered George with his local Putney Rangers FC. George is now playing his second season for the Putney Rangers.

'This program has enabled George to experience an amazing journey full of great achievements - being able to participate & contribute as part of a team in the local community & simply having fun with other boys of his age! With the right guidance, anything is possible!'  

Vicky (George's mum)

George is one of nine Next Step kids that are now playing regular weekend soccer with their local club. Below is a photo of George's first day…

 

Jose Bello

Foundation Director


IT STARTS AT HOME...

We love observing the enthusiasm and encouragement that our parents show their children. A parent’s role is fundamental in their child's development. We have been fortunate enough to have met many extraordinary parents who have also become mentors, because we believe everyone has valuable knowledge and skills to share.

At Next Step we have witnessed some amazing changes in childrens' social behaviour, physical ability and cognitive development. This progress can only be achieved with the unconditional support of the parent and the many other professionals that work closely with our children. Ultimately, we all contribute in some capacity to the development of the child, and when we are given the opportunity to play our role, we consider it a privilege, and do our absolute best to create an optimum learning environment.

So, to all the parents, thank you for trusting in our program and inspiring us to become better coaches and role models for your children. For the mums, we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day this Sunday.

Jose Bello

Foundation Director

FIRST DAY BACK..

Were back!  Day 1 is always exciting. New faces, new friendships to be made, new skills to be learnt and lots of fun to be had. Today we started our class in Epping and welcomed 3 new children to our program.

For some, Day 1 can be a time to observe, to become familiar with a new environment and its people. It can be over stimulating and loud, whistles blowing, children screaming, coaches giving instructions, but that's what we love at Next Step. We love these beginnings because we know that the outcomes can be incredibly rewarding. 

Next Step is more than a program, it's a community of families, friends and dedicated teachers that work together for a common goal - to give our kids the best possible start to life. I look forward to sharing with you the progress of our children and also giving you an insight into new pathways that we are building.

 

Jose Bello

Foundation Director

 

 

 

 

NEXT STEP TERM 2

Our Next Step Program will be celebrating it's 4th year of operations this Term. It's been a remarkable journey, and one that we feel is just beginning... although, during the last four years we have worked tirelessly to consolidate our program throughout the Sydney region, it's only in the last 7 months that our vision of a Foundation has come to life. For this reason we feel that it's the beginning of a new chapter, one that we hope will allow us to further expand our programs and continue to promote inclusive learning environments.

We would like to thank all the families and organisations that have supported us along the way, the gifted children that amaze us with their potential and capacity to progress and evolve, the coaches that make our program possible, and lastly, the individuals that have invested their time, energy and faith in making sure our vision of a Foundation became a reality.

We look into the future with excitement and enthusiasm. We hope you can join us on this new path and become supporters and advocates for our Foundations mission.

 

Jose Bello

Foundation Director