Once you move on from drooling to dribbling, it’s time to enroll your budding Beckham in a soccer class. Don’t take a shot in the dark and choose just any class; you want to match your kid’s personality with the right coach and philosophy so they learn to love the game. While your little defender is at work with the coach in one of these mom and kid approved classes, you can sit back and watch him pass…out on the way home, that is. Score!

Socceropolis
Coach Milton is the kind of soccer coach that kids – and parents – love. Before starting Socceropolis, he was a semi-pro soccer player in Los Angeles. So, he’s pretty much “that guy” when it comes to getting your kid ready for the next level. Milton personally teaches 150 kids a week, getting them soccer-ready with skills ranging from trapping and passing to shooting and goal-scoring within the 6-week class. The best part is that he puts importance on balance, confidence and coordination, all in a non-competitive environment. At Socceropolis, getting your 3-10 year old ready for the big league is easy; having him come off the field after kickin’ it with Coach Milton proves to be a little more difficult.  And that’s just how you want it.

Found: In and around West LA
Online: socceropolis.com

SocceropolisToddlerKick

Soccer Kids USA
Only in LA will you find a soccer class that throws a little yin and yang into the mix. At Soccer Kids USA, owners Julie and Justin score big with parents who want to nurture the whole child when it comes to soccer skills. The goal is for the 2 1/2 to 6-year-old player, who takes the 40-minute class, to understand there is no “I” in team. Each class – at every level – is taught through play and imagination, focusing on cooperation with each other and coordination with skills and drills. Parents and kids get their kicks when the coach yells “Freeze the Action!” to correct what’s happening during a non-competitive scrimmage. Julie and Justin make sure to balance the playing field with an equal dose of kicks and kindness.

Found: At parks and facilities around West Los Angeles
Online: soccerkidsUSA.com

Chasing the Ball

LA Sports Kidz
The 3-6-year-old crowd goes wild for Coach Akeim Kelly’s soccer classes. Focusing on the “fun” in fundamentals, Coach Akeim’s parks and rec programming background meshes perfectly with little soccer enthusiasts. He has a creative approach to soccer at this young age; introducing the basics with a fun twist on things like dribbling, passing and kicking. He solicits a giggle and grin from every kid when he replaces traditional soccer lingo with words like cookies, spaceships and planets. Being the ultra cool cat that Coach Akeim is, he returns all phone inquiries within 24 hours. No wonder 90 percent of his business is referral from pleased parents.

Found: In Calabasas, Studio City & Torrance
Online: la-sportskidz.com

Super Soccer Stars
Get your game on at Super Soccer Stars with summer classes designed around a timely World Cup theme. Building self-confidence and soccer skills is the goal in these low-ratio child-to-coach classes. The 2 & 3 year olds have 1 coach to every 4 kids, while the 5-7 year olds have 1 coach to every 8 kids. The coaches on staff have a background in early childhood education and soccer, which means if your little girl cares more about looking cute in her pink cleats than kicking and running, they’ll know just what to say to get her back in the game (love that!). Super Soccer Stars also caught our attention because of their Shine Program, which uses soccer to teach life skills to children with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Found: At centers and parks in San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles
Online: supersoccerstars.comsocceropolis

Soccer Shots
This company calls the shots when it comes to its classes – there are no camps or leagues offered at Soccer Shots, just 1-hour soccer classes geared to the 2-8-year-old bunch. They combine fancy foot work and soccer rules with songs and imaginative play for the little ones, while the older players focus on dribbling, passing, shooting and team work. While Soccer Shots is run in a non-competitive environment, its goal is to lay the foundation for competitive league-play once kids hit 8 years old. Soccer Shots holds a weekly class, but then breaks the players down into scrimmage groups of 4. These mini teams get a feel for what’s it’s like to play in an organized soccer league – great for those kids who think the field grass might be greener on the other side.

Found: At centers and parks in San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles
Online: Soccershots.org

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-Lisa Finn

Where do you and your pint-sized Pele hit the field?  Let us know in the comment section.

Photo credits: Super Soccer Stars, Socceropolis and Mrs. Flinger via Creative Commons