**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored and all opinions are my own.**
Trying to keep kids busy in sports yet abide by COVID regulations is challenging these days. The pandemic has certainly changed how all organizations can operate, making it hard for so many to operate at all.
Being predominantly outdoors and with the ability to keep a distance from other classmates, Soccer Shots Fraser Valley has proven to be a great option in the current climate for kids 2 to 8 yrs old.
Perhaps you have seen their signs around town or the little people with the orange shirts running around on the fields at local parks, or maybe you have a friend whose child is registered in the program and they have told you all about it. Soccer Shots is certainly not new to the soccer scene, having been around since 1997 and opening in the Fraser Valley in 2012 . They currently operate in 7 Fraser Valley cities (Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley and Surrey).
Soccer Shots prides themselves on focusing on the overall development of the children – soccer is simply their vehicle to do so. Their curriculum includes skills, themes, fun games and they work towards the overall development of the child. The curriculum is designed by early childhood educators and is delivered by their awesome team of extensively trained and paid coaches. They offer their program to the general public at local parks and exclusively at childcare centers. Their soccer programs are available year-round, with each season lasting between 6-14 weeks. They offer three different programs that offer skills specific to the age group: The mini program is parent participation and is for ages 2-3.25; the classic program is for ages 3.25-5.5; and their premier program is for ages 5.5-8.
Just this past June, Soccer Shots Fraser Valley was purchased from the original owners by high school friends, Andy Abreo and Kathrin Arcari. They were thrown head first into this new venture with their first season as owners being in the midst of COVID. The summer and fall seasons went really well, all things considered. They both have a strong passion to make an impact and give back to the community. They love what they are doing and have a deep desire to grow the program and reach as many children as they can.
I had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about the program and how they have adapted to COVID safety requirements:
How did you end up as the new owners of Soccer Shots Fraser Valley?
We met in high school in Langley nearly 20 years ago and we’ve been great friends ever since. We both come from very close families who are heavily involved in their local communities and of course, soccer. Growing up, we both had and continue to have a strong desire to make an impact and give back to our community in any way we can. The Fraser Valley was such an amazing place to grow up and we love that we have the opportunity to now give something back and to be a part of the continued growth of this area.
Kathrin started working for the previous owners, Ken and Devin, in 2017 and felt an instant connection to the program. In early 2020, we started talking about Soccer Shots and knew it was something we wanted to pursue together. We approached Ken and Devin to purchase their business and completed the sale on June 19, 2020. Ken and Devin spent eight years building the program and did such an incredible job, we feel honoured to take it over and look forward to continuing to build on what they accomplished.
The summer 2020 season was our first official season as the new owners and it was also the first Covid-19 season on-field. The support we received from our families during these difficult times was unbelievable. We are so grateful that we get to operate a children’s soccer program for a living and we can honestly say that we love what we do. Seeing the kiddos on Soccer Island and the smiles on their faces gives us the drive to grow this program and reach as many children as we can.
What prompted you get involved in this business?
We got involved in Soccer Shots to be a part of something that truly matters to us, inspiring children to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Both being born and raised in the Fraser Valley and owning Soccer Shots here provides us the opportunity to give back to the community that has given us so much. Soccer Shots allows us the opportunity to positively impact a child’s life and provide work for our team of coaches, while loving what we do.
What makes Soccer Shots stand out from others?
The main differentiators of Soccer Shots are our 3 C’s. Coaching, curriculum and communication.
Our coaches are our biggest asset. Families can feel confident that the person coaching their child has met our strict coaching standards and has been trained in the use of developmentally appropriate techniques.
Our curriculum is developed by early childhood educators and is in alignment with the BC Early Learning Goals.
Our communication is on-going and upfront. We always keep the families informed on what their child is learning and we are committed to responding to questions in a timely, professional manner.
Why is Soccer Shots a good option during the COVID pandemic?
We’re so pleased to be able to provide a safe program to our families during these challenging times. We have worked extremely hard to make adjustments to our program to meet all Covid-19 requirements, while maintaining a fun learning experience. The feedback we’ve received from our families has been fantastic, they are incredibly happy to be back on Soccer Island, even if it is a bit different than pre-Covid times.
How many kids are in the classes? How many kids per coach?
During Covid, we’ve limited our class sizes to eight kids per session/coach to better facilitate social distancing. When social distancing restrictions are lifted, we will return to a maximum class size of 10 kids per session/coach.
What can I expect my child to learn/experience through the program?
Our families can expect their children to learn the fundamentals of soccer while the coach incorporates key character words (for example: respect, integrity, confidence) in a positive and fun environment! It really is so much more than soccer.
Is the Soccer Shots program competitive?
We are a non-competitive option for families looking to introduce their children to sport and group play.
Does the program run rain or shine?
We run rain or shine, living in the Fraser Valley we have to! However, we have a weather policy in place that explains to families that we will cancel if conditions are not suitable to run class. If we do have to postpone or cancel a class, we update families by email, text and social media.
Are you able to cater to the individual needs of each child?
We completely understand that families may be hesitant to have their children join an organized activity for a variety of reasons. Our coaches are well-trained, patient and provided with tools to work with a variety of behaviours. We encourage open dialogue with families before and during the season so we can notify the coach of any specific requests. As we mentioned, our mini program is parent participation, however, we are more than happy in any of our programs for a family member hop in if this makes the child more comfortable.
Can a child try a class to see if will work for them?
Yes, we realize our program is a financial commitment and we want our families to have the option to try it first! We offer Free Fun Days as a chance for families to try Soccer Shots free of charge for one session. Free Fun Days are scheduled events that require registration and are promoted on our website and social media pages. We believe so strongly in our program that we are happy to provide this opportunity to families.
Do you have a referral program?
We sure do! We want to give back to the families who share and promote Soccer Shots Fraser Valley. If you refer a family to their first season, both families will receive 10% off their purchase that season. We also want to be able to help families who have multiple children in our program, as we know how expensive extracurricular activities can be. We offer a sibling discount for families who have multiple children in our program each season.
Soccer Shots Fraser Valley is always looking to expand to more locations as their classes fill up very quickly, often creating a waitlist. Unfortunately, finding field or indoor space to rent in the Fraser Valley can be a challenge so they are always looking for new locations.
Soccer Shots Fraser Valley’s winter season starts January 2021. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email list to be notified when registration opens.