If you think your child can only have fun if he or she can bend it like Beckham, you haven’t experienced Soccer Shots (and you might be just a wee bit too competitive – just saying). This San Diego franchise offers a program that is equal parts fun and soccer fundamentals, setting the scene for those who just want to kick it around and those who see a future scoring goals. Having gotten its start in preschools, elementary schools, and daycares as their in-school or after-school programs, Soccer Shots has gotten so popular that it has expanded to parks all across the nation. This also helps parents who want to see their kids play be able to do so on the weekends. There are more than 145 franchises and company-run units in 33 states to date, and more than 120,000 children will partake in the fun of Soccer Shots this year.
There are many reasons Entrepreneur magazine ranked Soccer Shots the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise in 2012 and 2013 and #183 in the overall Franchise 500 list in 2013, but one of the main reasons is likely the coaching staff. As opposed to using contractors and/or volunteers, Soccer Shots not only employs the coaches but also trains them for 3-4 weeks before they can coach the clinics. Many of them are either credentialed in early childhood or are on their way to doing so. On top of their impressive backgrounds, these coaches are enthusiastic and compassionate, and this can be felt within mere minutes of your first class.
Fortunately for us, we had a chance to sit down and chat with San Diego franchise owner Jim Hill to talk about Soccer Shots and, in particular, their recent push into North County:
We write for this awesome website called ItsEncinitas.com, so we would love to know more about your expansion into Encinitas.
Before our southern boundary was the 8 Freeway and the 15 Freeway, which it still is, but now we stretch all the way up to Oceanside, San Marcos, and Fallbrook. We have six Encinitas schools using Soccer Shots right now: Central Montessori School, LePort School, Leucadia Christian School, Santa Fe Christian School, and Temple Solel. We’re also doing a free demo – actually, a free class … not just a demo – on President’s Day. The location isn’t confirmed yet but we are hoping for Encinitas Community Park. We had a great turnout for the free demo on MLK. As we head into March, there will also be another round of free demos promoting Soccer Shots up North.
The goal is being able to offer a program that’s convenient for any area of San Diego and make it within about a 10-minute drive.
Where do we find information on the pricing?
The pricing varies from school to school and park to park, as it depends on whether they can get a permit or if we have to cover that. We do everything to keep our prices as low as possible. We also offer partial scholarships and we do giveaways. Dave and Busters does $20 for $20 of play if you show your Soccer Shots registration email. Belmont Park and Kid Ventures also give discounts for their rides, along with other family-oriented facilities. We’ll be looking for more partnerships in North County, too.
We also offer monthly incremental payments. We offer joint season registration to make it easier for parents so the cost of the two seasons combined may look a bit daunting but what we’re able to do is break that down into 5 payments. That brings it down to about $50-$60 per payment, which makes it more manageable. And the kids get a lot of little rewards as part of the program, like a Soccer Shots tee, weekly stickers and stamps, and lunch bags and medals for prizes.
How is Soccer Shots different from other programs like it?
Our coaches, for one. That’s really our life’s blood. I tell them every day, “You are Soccer Shots.” We’re really trying to focus on being a child development education program. We use soccer and sports as that venue to teach them about the character aspects – respect, honesty, sportsmanship … trying to get them excited about having fun with sports first. They can get competitive with it down the line. It’s about building an active lifestyle and developing those motor and coordination skills at an early age.
Do you offer free classes for those who want to try Soccer Shots?
At ever single location, we allow a free demo session. You can even go with your child if they are young or of it makes them more comfortable. Whether it’s a free demo that’s scheduled and planned or if it’s in between those, it’s always available. If someone wants to try that class, they always can. We’ll be doing another round of free demos in the spring … toward the end of March, at our Carmel Valley and other locations. As we try to grow up North, we’ll also be doing additional free demos there.
Do the sessions change or do they remain pretty much the same?
We have a progression in our curriculum. We have four, unique, full 10-week sessions so there is a progression from the 3-year-old class to the 3-5 to the 3-4 group, 4-5 group, and to the 6-8 group. It also varies from week to week and season to season.
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