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Getting their kicks

A program that introduces 3- to 5-year-olds to soccer lines up lots of fun for the kids as well as their parents

By Stephen B. Thornton

This article was published March 26, 2008 at 6:00 a.m.

Weaver Gilbert consoles his tearful 3-year-old daughter, Ayanna, and one of her teammates after a minor collision on their first day of soccer practice March 11. The players recover quickly and promptly forget about their mishap. They've got some kicking to do.

That's the way of it with Little Kickers, a program for 3- to 5-year-old soccer players with a big love for fun. Little Kickers operates under the umbrella of the Arkansas Soccer League, which has 450 players ages 3-18 from Little Rock, North Little Rock, Bryant, Conway and Maumelle.

Brad Shock, the league's director of coaching, says he began the Little Kickers program in 2003 because he wanted to introduce very young children to soccer. The point, however, isn't competition.

"At age 3, it's not so much about soccer, it's about being in groups, being able to listen to and follow instructions, and weaning them away from the parents," Shock says. "Bottom line is that you want the kids to have fun and you're teaching the kids to have fun with other kids."

For more information see today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Subscribers can read the story here on ArkansasOnline.

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