When Jess Miehe found out her 3-year-old daughter was too young for the soccer leagues in her area, she decided to start one of her own.
Asking families with kids around her daughter’s age if they’d be interested in getting together once a week a few times that fall, she got a great response.
“People that I talked to were really interested in it,” Miehe says. “So I made up a flyer, and by word of mouth, we ended up getting about 32 kids the first fall.”
Miehe has been organizing the league for two years—skipping two years in between. Last summer she saw more than 50 kids join in, meeting approximately four times each summer.
The kids are usually split into eight teams. They’re given different-colored shirts and a ball to match their team. “The first half of the 45-minute session we have them doing practice drills—playing fun games or preschool-age games with a soccer ball,” Miehe says. “The second half of the 45 minutes, we try to play a real game.”
Miehe says the league is made up of preschool-age children, but she doesn’t want to limit it to those ages. “I put preschool age for sign-ups, but I leave that up to the discretion of the parent,” Miehe says. “We had a couple of 2-year-olds play last year.”
Miehe, who graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 2003, said that her whole family has played soccer; one of her brothers, Daniel Nadeau, is retired from the Minnesota United soccer team.
“The main goal is for [kids] to play and have fun,” says Miehe, “and then hopefully link that with playing soccer.”
The Soccer Buddies season goes from June to July. To sign up, visit the website here.