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Practicing with Peanuts

Written by Mercedes Fraistat

NJ Youth Soccer recently headed to Jackson to check out the Peanuts Program. Jackson Soccer Club's Peanuts Program has been around for over 15 years, but it recently got a major remodel after board member and coaches noticed a decline in player participation after they left the program. This major remodel started over one year ago and implements the grassroots play-practice-play structure with the partnership of soccer training club Tecnica, who shared the Jackson Soccer Club's views.

This new Peanuts Program is Jackson Soccer Club's entry level development program for children who are 4 to 5 years old. Roger Vogel, President of the Jackson Soccer Club, said, "[we] have been seeing a large decline in soccer participation heading out of the Peanuts Program. "So then the decision was made to expand to Peanuts Program to other age groups."

The new age groups within the Peanuts Program help to keep competitive play out of the younger age groups. Vogel said in the past the loss of interest in playing soccer was because the introduction of high competition play was to children at a young age. "The new structure [of the program] we have now is Peanuts for 4 to 5-year-olds, Mini Kickers for children 6 to 7, and Micro Kickers who are 8 to 9." Now, players within the Jackson Soccer Club don't get involved with competition play until they are 10 years old.

This program is a 50- minute practice- like setting where the children are put into different groups and focuses on the development of techniques and helping "shape raw diamonds, into real hard diamonds," said Rodrigo Castro, the Director of Tecnica, the training company Jackson Soccer Club works with.

Tecnica, a New Jersey based soccer training company, got involved with Jackson Soccer Club in September of 2019. Castro and his trainers host the six-week training program at the Justice Complex in Jackson. The trainers help to motivate the players and encourage them to think for themselves as they learn the fundamentals of soccer. Castro believes not having set teams and keeping the focus on playing and learning keeps the parents happy and keeps the kids coming back each week to keep learning.

Jackson Soccer Club runs both travel and recreation programs for players in the Jackson area. For more information about the club, visit them online at www.jacksonsoccer.com/

Tecnica provides all soccer training, clinicas and programs for the JSC community. For more infomraion about the training offered, visit them online at https://tecnicasoccer.com