Soccer in Hermitage

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Inside Mentor Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club’s 130,000-square-foot facility, guests can hone their ground strokes on the tennis court, practice dunking on the basketball court, or learn to breathe underwater in the heated indoor and outdoor pools. Alternatively, exercisers can join in on group fitness classes such as yoga, water aerobics, and spinning, work out in one of two cardio rooms, or train under the watchful eye of an experienced personal trainer.

6000 Heisley Rd
Mentor,
OH
US

The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.

2565 Nicholson Road
Sewickley,
PA
US

Founded by sports enthusiast and former adolescent Rick Hart, Jump Start Sports works to enrich pupils' childhoods by developing useful life skills through athletics. Qualified counselors employ their wealth of experience working with children to help campers learn teamwork and fair play as well as the fundamentals of fielding baseballs, scoring soccer goals, or synchronizing pom-pom work. A course structure built around age-appropriate activities, group play, and free electives ensures that students never get bored, and an 8:1 pupil-teacher ratio enables one-on-one assistance to young champions as they practice the graceful art of pitching or the scheming intrigue of free-agent contract negotiation.

10084 Ravenna Road
Twinsburg,
OH
US

The Soccer Institute's program director, Mark Mallon, has trained in English and Scottish FA coaching schools and has coached Division I soccer teams at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, and he draws on that experience when training youth and teen soccer players. The rest of the coaching team has formidable experience as well?many of the instructors work at collegiate programs throughout the country. This well-versed coaching staff boasts expertise in nearly every area of the sport, from the role of the keeper to the role of the handlers who wrap the keeper back up in the goal netting every night.

The Soccer Institute's programs, which include youth soccer clubs and camps for both beginner and elite players, are based in American soccer methodology. But at the same time, they draw from the principles of European soccer schools to give students a well-rounded education in on-field strategy, basic maneuvers, kicking techniques, and an array of other skills.

17445 Huntley Road
Windsor,
OH
US

HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.

His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the _Pittsburgh Tribune_, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.

22 Rich Hill Rd
Cheswick,
PA
US

In 2009, the Cleveland City Stars folded, leaving the Sixth City without a soccer franchise to call its own. Two years later, the group of local soccer supporters known as the 6th City Syndicate finally found a new team to cheer for as AFC Cleveland (its initials: A Fans' Club) joined the National Premier Soccer League, finally bringing the beloved sport back to Cleveland's glacially-formed soccer stadiums. Bolstered by the Syndicate's support, the team surged into the NPSL spotlight in its very first season, winning the first-ever Rust Belt Derby and upsetting the Erie Admirals to claim the Great Lakes Conference championship.

6380 Mill Road
Broadview Heights,
OH
US