Although I’ve never been a soccer enthusiast, there’s a part of me that wants to introduce my 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, to the world of soccer. I picture her darting around the field, surrounded by fellow toddlers, her cheeks flushed with exertion and excitement. As much as I know this physical activity is beneficial for her health and development, there’s also the admittedly selfish reason of looking forward to an easier bedtime after she’s expended all her energy.
Southampton Youth Services (SYS) stands as a beacon of community involvement and togetherness in Southampton. This expansive facility is not just an average community center; in my opinion, it’s one of the best in America. Catering to every age group, it has a ton of activities that cater to varied interests. From swimming, indoor soccer, and basketball to a state-of-the-art gym, a track, and even karate and martial arts, SYS has everything that you could wish for in a community center. Its dedication to offering something for everyone makes it a beloved institution in the Hamptons.
Given SYS’s reputation, it was an easy decision to enroll Sophia in their soccer program, which takes place every Saturday at 10 am. This program, set outdoors, is a hilarious spectacle of toddler soccer. As parents, we line up on the sidelines, coffee in hand, watching with bated breath and often suppressed laughter as our little ones make their first forays into the sport.
Sophia’s antics are particularly delightful. In the middle of a drill, she might suddenly decide to take a detour, running straight to my wife and me with a grin that could light up the entire field. “Sophia! What are you doing? Get back out there!” I’d say, trying to keep a straight face. Her gleeful “OKAY!” would be followed by a sprint back into action where she would typically fall right over herself onto the grass, always sporting her infectious smile.
Watching the other children is equally entertaining. One kid, perhaps inspired by a different rulebook, always grabs another ball, trying to initiate his own version of a soccer match. During drills that involve navigating between cones, the variety of strategies employed by these toddlers is nothing short of hilarious. Some decide to give the cones a wide berth, some seem to believe that kicking the cones is the main objective, while others just abandon the path altogether, forging their own adventurous routes. The entire scene resembles a delightful comedy of errors.
What makes this program even more special is the evident joy it brings to both the children and their parents. The unfiltered happiness, the laughter, and the little moments of triumph make every Saturday a day to look forward to.
For those with young children, I wholeheartedly recommend giving soccer a shot. The program Sophia is enrolled in is called the ELITE Soccer Clinic. For more details and to get involved, you can visit their website at https://www.sysinc.org/soccer. Witnessing the pure, innocent fun is sure to brighten your weekends and provide your child with a fantastic introduction to team sports.