There's no doubt that you are a real adult when you have been an aerospace engineer for over 10 years. So for Kent Gold, it was a momentous life change when in 2001 he rediscovered his inner child and founded SoccerTots—a soccer-based program that helps 18-month to 10-year-old kids develop their motor skills and build their confidence through fun and athletic games. Now, a decade later, the program is offered at more than 150 locations, including Canada and Peru, and has expanded to include HoopsterTots and PartyTots.
Each SoccerTots program is helmed by a team of skilled instructors who engage little ones with fun activities, such as dribbling balls and playing scrimmages, that fuel their motivation to learn and challenge their athletic abilities. To ensure a supportive learning environment, classes are broken down by age and use only soft, child-size equipment. SoccerTot instructors also get kids ready to learn by sending them into super-concentration mode, which encourages little ones to concentrate and try their hardest at a task to help strengthen their muscle memory and their ability to levitate other players on the field.
Boise Nationals Soccer Club helps develop young soccer players from their first step onto the pitch to their first step onto a college campus. Formed exclusively for boys in 1986, the club has since merged with several girls' affiliates to create one of the state's most formidable coed soccer outfits. Today, 30 competitive teams play beneath its star-emblazoned logo.
The club's programs split player development into six categories, and its youth soccer league—formed in 2008—places pint-size dribblers under the guidance of professional coaches, who provide more in-depth instruction than the volunteer parents or scarecrows that supervise many other recreational sports teams. For players who blossom under the club's stewardship, college-placement programs are available to help hoist games to the next level.