For the past decade, Aaron has worked hard with others in Newton to develop a training program for young children, incorporating an alternative philosophy of soccer. He longed to create an environment that was playful, developmentally appropriate, skill-enhancing, and fun. He was tired of interacting with coaches who used anger, threats, intimidation, and scare tactics. He familiarized himself with a model that emphasized individual player development, and with a four year old ready to play, he created the Newton Soccer Academy at the park next to our house. When we left this past Spring this organization joined with others interested in soccer in the creation of Newton United
When we decided to move to Bogota. Aaron asked around to see what was available in terms of a similar approach to soccer development. There are lots of programs in Bogota, including professional team trainings, but we our friends Oscar and Lilianna, and our friend Becky recommended a program offered by Compensar. Compensar is a federally-subsidized recreation center, which offers many opportunities for youth sports, but has a strong reputation for it's soccer school.
Lydia and Andy are both signed up for a year-round program in skill development. The cost of the classes are based on income, so it is quite affordable for our family, costing about $25 per month for both of them to participate. Each month has a different emphasis, with instruction in formation, forms of movement, driving/offense, passing, shooting, heading, ball control, principles of the game, and the integration of fundamental techniques.
Most of the coaches in this program have been professional players at some point in their lives. All of them have completed an extensive youth development training. They are kind, encouraging, yet have very high standards for their players, and want them to be overall good athletes, developing their overall coordination and stamina. At the end of each month, there is a fun tournament and "festival" for parents to witness how they have grown.
Most of the practices include interactive games, much like Aaron used in the Newton Soccer Academy. The kids get a rigorous workout, and enjoy the fun activities with new friends. (And they are doing all this completely in Spanish). At this point, Aaron is grateful to have "sideline time," as he has been their primary coach for their entire lives.
At this point, Abby is more interested in jump-roping on the sidelines, but she thinks she might want to try a class soon.