Orange slices at halftime and knee-length jerseys: there’s nothing quite like playing soccer when you’re a kid. From cheering on your teammates and dealing with embarrassing (admit it) parents on the sidelines to winning that trophy at the end of the year—these are the moments that last a lifetime. Whether you’re a soccer family or your little ones dream of playing on the Timbers, these four organizations guarantee a great kick-start to your young athlete’s soccer career. Read on to get your game on.

photo credit: Ray Terrill via flickr

Lil’ Kickers
A non-competitive, introductory soccer program for kids age 18-months old up to nine years, Lil’ Kickers is all about soccer for kids! The coaches and programs emphasize training young athletes with age-appropriate activities that are high energy so they can mature and grow on all levels. Each session is 50 minutes and is catered to helping kids learn in a way that might be unconventional for adults but perfect for enthusiastic kids. Their classes range from parent and child classes (up to age 3.5) to beginner and intermediate classes up to age 6. Classes are held throughout the day making it easy to get your game on. Register online today!

Helpful Hint: Looking to start your little kicker now? Contact them to ask about their prorate options and enroll in their current session.
Mark Your Calendars: Spring classes run from Mar. 6–Jun. 11
Cost: $17.50 per class
Locations: Portland Indoor Soccer Center, Salmon Creek Indoor Sports Arena, PDX SportsCenter, Mittleman Jewish Community Center
Online: pdxlilkickers.com/lil-kickers

Rose City Futsal
One of Portland’s premier indoor soccer facilities, Rose City Futsal makes getting your little soccer star active easy with locations on both the east and west side of the city. With programs for little ones as young as 18 months all the way up to the adult soccer lover, Rose City is truly a place for the whole family. They offer: Soccer Stars classes for children ages 18 months to 6 years old, Youth Academy classes for ages 6 to 14, youth summer camps as well as adult leagues, classes and open play.

Do you have family members who enjoy watching the game but don’t want to play it? No problem! Rose City’s Clive’s Public house provides a place to grab a beverage and a bite while watching friends and family members play.

Helpful Hint: Does your little one want a soccer themed birthday party? Rose City offers court rentals for special occasions! Contact them about reservations.

Mark Your Calendars: Spring break camps start Mar. 27 and Summer Camps  begin at the end of June.
Cost: Cost varies according to class or camp. Check online for more information.
Locations: Tigard & NE Portland
Online: rosecityfutsal.com

photo credit: dolanh via flickr

Soccer Shots
Soccer shots revolves around three main ideas: coaching, communication and curriculum that drives programs that help kids develop skills for both on and off the field. They have strict coaching standards that align with age-appropriate techniques, are big fans of keeping you up-to-date on what your child is learning, and develop their programs around early childhood standards. They aim to positively impact your kids lives by encouraging them to do what they love (and that’s soccer!). Their programs are for kids ages 2 to 8, discover what group is perfect for your soccer shot. Programs are held in childcare centers, preschools and public locations. Enroll online!

Helpful Hint: They also offer spring break, in service day and summer camps.
Mark Your Calendars: Spring classes run from Mar. 25-Jun. 3, and summer classes are from Jun. 26–Aug. 28.
Cost: 10 week seasons are $160 or 3 payments of $54.
Locations: Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties and Vancouver, Wa.
Online: soccershots.org/pdx

photo credit: Kidz Love Soccer via Yelp

Kidz Love Soccer
For over 30 years this organization has operated with an unconventional approach as they know winning and losing is a big part of our competitive culture. So they implement the following acronym of values: SELF (sportsmanship, effort, learning and fun). They incorporate imaginative games, skill demonstrations, and scrimmages all lead by instructors that want to foster self-confidence, teamwork and fun. Their programs range from Mommy/Daddy & Me to Tot-Soccer (3.5 years to 4) up to Match Play (for 10 to 12 year olds).

Helpful Hint: Find classes near you according to your zip code and age group.
Mark Your Calendars: Class times, length and locations vary according to each group.
Locations: Salem, West Linn, Troutdale
Online: www.kidzlovesoccer.com

photo credit: Woodridge Soccer Association via Flickr

Portland Youth Soccer Association
Home to 19 soccer clubs across Portland, PYSA has a club near you! No matter which team your little one plays on you can feel confident that they will develop sportsmanship, individual and team skills, self-esteem, leadership and of course soccer talents. As the largest youth soccer association in Oregon they have over 600 teams for kids from 6 to 18 and use 40 different parks or schools across the city each week. We love that they offer small-sided games where fewer players are competing on the soccer field (players vary by grade). Find your club by your school.

Helpful Hint: Their website is full of information for potential coaches and parents.
Mark Your Calendars: Last year fall’s registration deadline was Aug. 3.
Cost: varies
Online: portlandyouthsoccer.com

Does your family have a favorite soccer program? Tell us why in the comments section.

—Kris Wilhelmy