Last year when my oldest was 3, we decided to try soccer. We made it 2 practices and then cue our exit. We tried a different league with a February start date, and my son told me he wanted to go home. There are other details of the experience I will spare you, but long story short, we decided to try again this year; enter Coastal Kicks!  (new year, new start date, new league)

Our season just ended, so I can share our experience over the 8-week program.  As an intro, Coastal Kicks Soccer Inc. is a nonprofit Youth Soccer Club offering both recreational and competitive programs for ages 3-18. They also offer professional one-on-one and group training for ages 9-18. Other than their great reviews, the reason we chose them is because they are the only club that does not use volunteer coaches in their rec program, so every coach is a professional club coach. They also have multiple locations, times, and days to choose from, which was great when looking at schedules.

They have several programs. My son was in the Minnows for 3–4-year-olds. This is more about building agility, balance, and coordination skills using a soccer ball versus learning the actual game of soccer. They use age-appropriate games, drills, and language with sessions lasting about 45 minutes, which I found to be the perfect length. They take A LOT of water breaks and there is quite a bit of parent participation if you are able. For example, parents were asked to stand on the field with your legs wide so the children could kick the ball between your legs. The kids loved this (and I only got kicked in the shin like 12 times each practice). Each child always had their own ball and participated in every activity.

The rec program is for 5–12-year-olds. In addition to skill building, these children participate in games beginning 4 versus 4, up to 9 versus 9. (No games for the Minnows!) The rec program runs 10 weeks, with 1 hour practice days and 4 games/season. They also offer the option to sign up for practice only or games only. This is great for families who can’t or don’t want to commit to 2 days/week.

Our season was a great experience. There were about 10-12 boys and girls each practice. The weather was perfect, which was nice for both my boys and this momma on the sidelines. The bugs were everywhere. I learned the hard way after week 1. PRO TIP: bring the spray for everyone! We were at Isle of Palms, which is a small park with a playground. This was a huge bonus, allowing kids to extend their day and play after practice, which both my boys loved. (FYI, there is no bathroom.) The coaches were good but there is one downfall I should mention. We had one main coach, who was young, energetic, and the kids seemed to take to. For 3 weeks in a row mid-season, we had different coaches each week with no explanation. Quite a few of the parents found this odd. I found out later that our main coach had been exposed to covid. (He displayed no symptoms and tested negative, but they wanted to be safe.) This was completely understandable but wish they had emailed to let us know. (as I was getting ready to send this out, we received an email with this explanation!)

Overall, my son had fun, learned a few things, and got the energy out in the spring sunshine! We had a great experience with Coastal Kicks and there’s a good chance he will sign up again next year!