Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
Mattie J.T. Stepanek
I have had the opportunity of being a coach for the E-Soccer program in Alameda county. I have seen the program not only change our players lives, but also the lives of their parents. If you are wondering whether you should bring your child to E-Soccer, this article will help you see why this inclusive sports program has made an impact on so many people’s lives.
An Accepting Environment
E-Soccer is an environment that promotes acceptance, encouragement, and fun. Both typical and special needs children and teenagers are given the opportunity to participate in a sport where everyone’s skill level is supported. The E-Soccer culture includes positive encouragement given by both the coaches and the players.
When parents send their child onto the field, they can be rest assured that they will be welcomed no matter what their skill level is or their special need- children do not need any prior experience to come, they play for the fun of the game! E-Soccer gives every child the individual attention and encouragement they need to feel successful in a sport. Players are recognized for their hard work, improvement, skill, and commitment on the soccer field.
A Supportive Environment
E-Soccer not only helps kids feel included, it provides a supportive environment for parents. Parents can be reassured that their kids will be working with volunteer coaches who are accepting of all children. This gives parents an opportunity to relax and socialize with other parents who may have children with similar needs. Being able to talk to other parents who have a similar lifestyle, as well as seeing their children successfully participate in a sport can provide parents with added hope and vision for their child. Some parents may come to the E-Soccer program with fears and insecurities, but they end up leaving with confidence and a smile.
A Developing Environment
E-Soccer gives kids an opportunity to grow in their soccer skills. Children and teenagers of various ages get a chance to work on their gross motor skills by learning different soccer drills and doing scrimmages to simulate a traditional soccer game. Teams are broken up by different age levels, which gives children an opportunity to socialize with their peers. E-Soccer provides the opportunity for both typical and special needs players to build friendships and play a sport together. This helps promote inclusion and the growth of social skills. (Read about the “Five Levels of Inclusion”).
The great thing about E-Soccer is that every player is pushed to improve by the end of the season. Each child starts at a different skill level, but is encouraged to grow in at least one area throughout the season. Some children’s growth involves remaining on the field during the entire soccer session, while other children improve their ball handling skills.
We encourage all parents and children to try E-Soccer. There are E-Soccer programs throughout the Bay Area and each program is free of cost and run by volunteers. Come check us out and experience the E-Soccer environment!