There comes a time in every parent’s life when you have to register for youth soccer. This can be an intimidating process. The decision of which program to enroll your future scholarship winner could mean the difference between greatness and a shoe box full of participation ribbons.
If you live in West Chester you have a couple of options. If you live in West Chester and you are raising the next Lionel Messi, you really have one option, West Chester United Soccer Club. For everyone else, there are a couple more.
West Chester United Soccer Club
West Chester United Soccer Club caters to kids (and adults) of all ages and levels. Beginning with their Little Player Program and advancing through travel and club play.
Classes are available throughout the week and on Saturdays, with games for the older kids held on Saturdays on the fields near Brandywine River Park (500 S. Creek Road). During the week practices are also held at Kenmara (East Bradford Township Park Field) and Kildare’s Field (Westtown Rd.)
If you’ve missed registration don’t worry, sign up for emails and you’ll get notification for another session soon enough. Classes are held year-round including indoor options during the winter and camps during the summer.
Cost is $105 – $200 depending on the level and dedication of your little one (or your willingness to drive a five year old to practice and games).
Soccer is also available through the YMCA. You’ll need to register through the Oscar Lasko location to find the sign up on the website.
Choose between Preschool (Saturday only) and Youth Soccer (one practice per week, Saturday games). Preschool is open to four and five year olds and covers drills and basic energy release. Youth soccer is available to kids 5/6, 7/8 and 9+ and serves as an introduction to the basics of the game, sportsmanship and teamwork.
The Y offers soccer twice a year during its spring and fall sessions.
Cost for Preschool is $55/members, $95/non-members; Youth program is $85/members, $120/non.
Jump Start Sports
This program is offered through the Park and Rec department and is only available in our area in the fall.
Unlike the Y, Jump Start starts them at three so if you have a little one you’re eager to get started this is a good option.
Cost is $75 for residents and includes a t-shirt and participation award.
4 Things First Time Parents Need to Know
We’ve only been through one season so we’re still relatively new at this, but here are a few tips I learned:
- Bring a chair. Practice may only be an hour but if you want to look like you’re seasoned at this bring a chair and get comfortable. Whether you’re hunkering down for a day full of play or just cheering for an hour, if you come with a chair, everyone will think you’ve done this before. Bonus points if your chair comes equipped with an umbrella.
- Grab your coffee. These practices are often early on Saturday morning and you’ll be standing (or sitting) for an hour watching excited particles bounce around a field. Trust me you’ll be glad you have it.
- Dress in layers. Soccer starts in early spring or extends into late fall, either way the weather is variable. When you arrive at the field there may be frost on the ground an hour later you’ll be down to your t-shirt baking in the direct heat of an 80 degree sun wishing you had worn shorts.
- Resist the urge to set up a practice field in the backyard. Just one hour of watching your kid cluelessly run away from the ball, pick it up with his or her hands, sit on it, continue kicking it three consecutive field lengths while the whole team shouts, STOP! Will have you crafting drills and mentally purchasing orange pylons. Wait it out. I’ve found this feeling usually passes by the time I get home.
Good luck soccer parents. After all this my kids have decided they want to play t-ball.
Do you have experience with any of these programs? What are your thoughts?