September is Youth Soccer Month! You, like me, might be celebrating by cheering at your own kids’ soccer games. But there’s more you can do to help kids get out and play soccer than drive the carpool van this weekend.
Soccer legend Brandi Chastain, US Youth Soccer Association, and the Active Family Project have teamed up to support kids who’d like to play soccer, but don’t have that opportunity. I had a chance to talk to Brandi – coach, former member of the US Women’s Soccer Team (Olympian and World Cup Champions in ’99), soccer mom to two kids, and all-around inspiration – about the project, and how other parents can help.
This month, the Active Family Project donated 100 kits, with goals, balls, and jerseys, in low-income communities across the US. They’ll donate 50 more if they get enough likes and comments on their Facebook page.
The Active Family Project is about more than soccer, though – it’s also about keeping kids and families playing together and having fun.
Brandi shared one fun way for communities to create connections and stay active: “A group of moms and dads at my son’s school gets together, when the weather is nice, on a Friday afternoon after work. Everyone brings their favorite dish, we have a potluck, and we have a pick up wiffle ball or soccer or football game. The kids play against adults, or we have boys against girls or moms versus dads. We hang out and have fun, run together, play together, laugh together. It’s costs almost zero dollars to do and it’s really easy. You can just go to your local park, get your neighbors and friends together, and have fun and play like this. It creates a positive environment of activity…. Parents are the biggest role models for their kids, we know parents influence kids, and these are positive ways that we can do that.”
As Brandi said, “Activity matters. We need to take a moment to get back to having fun together, playing, to laughing. We need to get back to doing that more regularly in a positive, uplifting way.”
Want to be a part of Youth Soccer Month and create a little more fun activity in your life and community?
Here’s how to do just that:
1. Go to the Facebook page, and help get more kits out into the community.
2. Find ways to bring fun, active family time into your lives. There are a few thoughts on the Active Family Project page. Or, follow Brandi’s example and have a neighborhood potluck and game night. In my old neighborhood, we had a similar tradition with a weekly bike club, with kids riding around on pedal or balance bikes, grown ups running along, and fun for everyone.
3. Volunteer to support health and wellness activities. It could be through youth soccer, one of Brandi’s passions. Or, you could volunteer with a group like Action for Healthy Kids, which works to promote better nutrition and more physical activity in schools.