From Ronaldinho to Pelé, many of the most renowned soccer players in history hail from Brazil. The country is steeped in a love of the game that took over Rodrigo Nunes’s life early on. Long before founding RNunes Olé, he lived in São Paulo, where his father was a coach, his uncle was a professional player, and his brother was a trainer.
With the help of a handpicked group of certified coaches, he now passes on some of the soccer knowledge he has accumulated through drills and during talks at camps and clinics. Kids as young as 2 years of age squeal across the fields at the academy, learning to dribble, shoot, and pass. Punctuated by the soft pop of a foot against the soccer ball and the trill of coaches’ whistles, pupils at specialized clinics hone their ability to protect the goal or find legal loopholes that allow terriers into the league.
Relaxing and working out don't usually go hand-in-hand, but things aren't usual at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. As soon as visitors set foot in the Mind Body Studio, they're set at ease by a modern lounge area, which boasts sleek bamboo floors, exposed brick walls, and sprigs of verdant plants. Inside the workout space, classes such as yoga and the barre method emphasize the mind-body connection. The Nalini Method classes also push students toward inner harmony with a combination of Pilates, aerobics, barre work, and yoga, helping students de-stress while toning limbs and burning calories without ever tossing any cheesecakes into open flames.
In overseeing both individual and team activities, the expert coaching staff at Super Soccer Stars aim to accomplish two goals in each of their programs. The first, naturally, is to help kids as young as 2.5 build soccer skills, which they develop in camps, after-school programs, and targeted workshops for goaltenders. But it's second goal that proves the most important: to build self-confidence and instill a sense of teamwork. To do this, coaches maintain a noncompetitive environment with positive reinforcement and low child-to-coach ratios.
Argentina–born soccer enthusiast Gustavo Szulansky opened Super Soccer Stars to provide the boroughs with a program that championed the personal development of youngsters rather than solely a skill-based focus. Since its debut in 2000, it's grown throughout the city, helping countless youngsters learn teamwork, boost confidence, and decrease arguments during home games played on the dining-room table. This rapid growth is due in part to the positive values Gustavo instilled from the first class. His coaches are carefully selected for their ability to cultivate a noncompetitive, sensitive approach to learning the game, and they dole out their knowledge in both classes and camps.
Super Soccer Star's Kick & Play program features family-friendly classes that help tots 12–24 months old develop pre-soccer skills and physical skill sets simultaneously. During classes, a team of talented and enthusiastic instructors and an athletic duo of puppet friends named Mimi and Pepe buoy budding soccer players with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and the merry clickety-clack of cleated tap dances. Designed with the help of early-childhood specialists, each age-specific class helps players build skills at their own pace with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and engaging original music.
The best way to learn a sport is to actually play it. To that end, Speed Soccer's coaches have devised a four-stage training regimen built around helping youngsters and preteens perfect their technique in game-specific situations. These drills are introduced during year-round camps and training programs, which are specifically tailored for casual players looking to master some new skills as well as for more serious competitors hoping to learn how to kick a ball into low orbit. Whether Speed Soccer's coaches are working with individuals, small groups, or an entire team, they do their best to provide personalized feedback that helps attendees refine their all-around game while also instilling values of good sportsmanship and personal responsibility.
Winston Buddle, founder and director of Golden Touch Soccer, has worked with thousands of young soccer players over two decades of coaching—including his son, Edson, an MLS All Star. Winston's own career began in Montego Bay, where he was a feared striker at every level he played. That success snowballed into an impressive professional career in the U.S., Greece, and Cyprus. Since trading in his cleats for a whistle, Winston has helped transform youth soccer players into Division I athletes, regional and national stars, and potential Olympians. Students soak up his wisdom during camps, classes, and one-on-one training sessions, during which Winston not only teaches them skills and techniques, but also the game's strategic aspects, ensuring they'll be able to navigate the field like a young Napoleon.