HOLIDAY SOCCER CAMPS (click on dates to register)

February 20-24 | Almond Elementary, Los Altos

February 20-24 | Cubberley Grass Field, Palo Alto

April 10-14 | Almond Elementary, Los Altos

April 10-14 | Cubberley Grass Field, Palo Alto

COACH KEN IS BACK!

Happy new year, families!

This is Coach Ken.

I am back from my 2 year Sabbatical in Kenya where I was born and grew up before immigrating to USA in January 2002. I started coaching in 2003.

First is to thank you all for continuing to support Coach Ken Soccer even in my absence. Due to your support, and the excellent commitment of Viviana and the coaching team led by Carlos, Izzy, Christian and Noel, the company did better than ever before. I was even trying to convince everybody involved to allow me to stay on in Kenya since it seemed obvious to me the company was doing better without me 🙂

We did a lot in Kenya and we can catch up on that with those who’d like to know more on the field. Let me just say in summary that it was a joy to reconnect with family and friends after a 19 year absence. My 20 year old daughter finally got to spend lots of time with her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins especially. The longest she’d spent in Kenya was 6 months in 2012.

While in Kenya, I had a lot of time to think about the vision of the kind of soccer program we want to have. I have come with better focus and ideas on how to make our program the most player-family-coach friendly program ever.

Our focus will be fully implementing the teaching of soccer FUNdaMENTALS. My priority is to train our enthusiastic coaches on how to teach soccer skills in a fun environment for all levels and ages and to teach our coaches that soccer is more of a mental sport than many people realize. Of all major sports, soccer is the one sport that natural physical capabilities can be neutralized with better mental, technical and teamwork training. We all saw Argentina win the World Cup, despite NOT being the most physically-endowed team. We all saw Messi, who is not the most physically-endowed player, win the best player award at the World Cup.

Though I bring up the World Cup, I assure you that our company is aware that less than 1% of players will play at that level and we are happy for players who come to our program, who we gladly equip to move on and play at that level. We have examples of such players who came through our program and are now playing professional soccer in the US and other national teams’ levels and at college etc. But, our focus truly is on the other 99%.

We believe soccer is a game and games are for fun, so we want to create a soccer environment where soccer is fun for players, families and coaches. We want to build a positive soccer environment, the kind that ultimately produces more players (the kind we saw in the top teams like Argentina, France and  Brazil).

To this end, you will see us develop more programs and you will notice 3 main programming changes:
1.      We will resume our Saturday soccer program.
2.      This Saturday program will build to a FUN league for all kids 6-18 years old starting in Fall 2023.
3.      We plan to start a program specifically for kids with special needs starting in Fall 2023.

I look forward to seeing you all, and talking to you all on the field. We have a lot to catch up on, one of which is that some of your kids that I was coaching must now be taller than me, though like I like saying, you don’t have to try too hard to be taller than me 🙂

I’m glad and excited to be back, and so is my wife and daughter. Thank you all for keeping the company going so we could come back to continue with it.

God bless you all, and your families,
Coach Ken

MISSION STATEMENT

After 18 years of specializing in coaching kids 4-12 years old, I have observed that most kids play soccer for enjoyment and the life lessons the game provides. Kids (and adults) enjoy this game when they play it for fun, fitness, and with old and new friends. The game provides them opportunities to learn vital life lessons like teamwork, respect for other players, adults, and officials, sportsmanship, how to handle inevitable victory/success and loss/ failure, trying new things, and showing up on time and consistently, putting in the best effort even when the easier thing is to quit.

Most families, I think, are looking for a quality soccer program that is fun and that will help their kids become better people even as they play the game. If their player does turn out to have the talent and drive to pursue soccer as a profession, this becomes a welcome result, but it almost always is not their target end result when they put their 4 or 5-year-old in a soccer program. That is as it should be! Yet, I have seen that more and more programs are treating kids as if their target end result is becoming professionals, which is an unrealistic goal if one looks at the available slots for turning professional at soccer alone!

I think many parents have healthy expectations for themselves and their child. The problem is there is a lack of alternative, professionally-coached programs, and teams. Most parents I’ve talked to complain that existing Recreational Soccer programs do not meet their expectations. They find these Rec programs lack quality coaches and are indeed often coached by well-intentioned parents, and they also lack the kind of curriculum and equipment you can only find in a program like ours, which is specifically developed to coach young kids year after year.

Parents who are disappointed by the lack of quality in most Rec Soccer programs end up putting their kids in an environment that requires a commitment that neither they nor their families should be asked to make. Many parents, including some with kids who have the talent and drive to possibly become professional soccer players, tell me they and their kids feel overstretched. They feel too many kids are forced to specialize in one sport too early, while they are not ready or sure they want to or can possibly succeed at that sport in the long run.

This early specialization is leading to increased physical injuries caused by overuse, and also to psychological wounds when kids are caught up in an environment that is too toxic — due to pressure to perform by competitive parents, coaches, and peers. Worse, some of these kids end up realizing they were not made to specialize in this one sport, sometimes when it is too late to take up any other sport or activity. I think it is a high time parents start rethinking the cost they are willing to pay for most kids whose clear objective is to play soccer for fun, fitness, friends, and life lessons.

Having observed what is wrong in our local soccer environment, we at Coach Ken Soccer have gone ahead to create an alternative program that puts the welfare of the kids and families first. Our goal is to provide easily accessible and reasonably-priced professionally-coached classes, camps, and a Rec League for all kids at their local school or park. We created this program based on a few truisms.

First, we understand that for a lot of kids, playing soccer once or twice a week is enough, and the easier we can make this, by offering the program at their local school or park, the better. Our Monday-Friday camps offer kids an opportunity to do camps for 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 days, depending on their level of commitment or availability.

Second, we realize families, especially working families, families with multiple kids who are in different activities and single adult households are stretched for time. These families simply do not have the time to shuttle kids around and that is why offering them programs at their local school or park is an added bonus.

For a lot of kids who want to be on a team with their buddies, we offer a Sunday Rec League for kids starting from 6 years old, where 3 buddies can sign up to be on one team. The teams have 7 players and we play 4v4, with the defender as both a sweeper and goalkeeper. We rotate players and positions every 5 minutes. We provide uniforms and the games are at the same time and place every Sunday.

Third, we realize that for kids to grow up to be well-rounded adults, they must be allowed to be kids! This means they should have time to try different sports, other activities, have play dates, visit relatives like grandparents, and visit different places like museums, zoos, nature reserves, places of worship, etc. I think it is shortchanging these kids to expect them to spend most of their free time on evenings and weekends at one activity for most of the year, year after year. That is why we use the same location and time set up for all our programs. It frees the rest of the time, especially during the weekend, for the kids, their families, and friends to do other things.

Fourth, we realize the professionalization of kids’ coaching and playing has made what is one of the world’s cheapest sports too expensive for growing numbers of families. Our program is reasonably-priced for most families to afford, and we do offer scholarships to those who qualify. To qualify, players must provide proof they qualify for free or subsidized lunch. We also offer a military discount at our Monta Loma School site because the school serves the military families based at Moffett Military Base.

Read about our philosophy, values, and our class requirements and structure here.

For those looking for shinguards, soccer cleats, and other soccer gear, we recommend these local soccer stores:
Pro Soccer, 1235 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City
and
Soccer Pro, 1338 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose

If you would like to explore our programs, click on the appropriate tabs for more information and registration.
Questions? Email me at coachkensocceracademy@gmail.com

Registration for Winter 2023 is OPEN!