Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00
Youth Soccer on Long Island has changed dramatically during the past five years. The formation of new leagues and programs has provided parents and their young soccer stars with a variety of options designed to serve all levels of skill and interest. The Mineola Athletic Association’s (MAA) Soccer program has kept pace with these changes with the introduction three years ago of its development program and one year later of its soccer tots division.
The relationship between MAA Soccer and its training partner, Empire Soccer Academy (ESA), have fostered many of these changes. Peter Hulse and Michael Todd founded ESA and employ trainers with diverse soccer backgrounds (including former Manchester United and Liverpool club players and several trainers who have represented their countries’ respective national teams).
ESA’s trainers share a common love for teaching the game and providing young children with an opportunity to learn the game in a fun and challenging environment.
“All of the guys are fully aware of their “role model” responsibilities and we look to hire the kind of person that you can see was born to teach and is great around children,” Hulse said.
ESA’s training philosophy includes a more cerebral approach than the typical training program. Hulse explains each ESA coach is mandated to “teach the kids the subtle nuances of the game” and ensure the young athletes are “constantly moving, touching the ball, thinking, problem-solving etc”
The group trains all MAA Soccer intramural and travel players. Hulse and the dedicated volunteers that help run the MAA Soccer program are constantly looking for ways to improve the program and the past few years have seen many positive changes. He is especially pleased with the recent additions of the Development and Soccer Tots programs.
“The Developmental Program has been a great success and the Soccer Tots program is about to go from strength to strength as we recently partnered with another company who specializes in training our youngest age groups,” Hulse said. “This fall we will be running the Empire Kickstart Program which will do even more to make sure the children love coming to soccer practice.”
MAA Soccer offers programs beginning with children as young as 3 years of age (must be turning 4 during the current year). As the organization has added and improved its programs, it has worked closely with ESA to ensure it remains a very valuable program (the programs cost between $70 and $150 per player, per season).
To learn more about or register for the MAA Soccer programs please visit us at www.mineolaaa.org. Registration for the fall is ongoing but early-registration rates will apply only to July 31.