Sandlot players hone their skills at Fred Milne Park

Grassroots of Sooke soccer

Sooke Sandlot program gives children their first taste of organized soccer

Future soccer stars get their feet grounded in Sooke Soccer Club’s Sandlot program.

Sandlot is fun, small-sided, team-oriented soccer for younger players.

The program has slowly progressed from one group to three separate groups (Under 4, Under 5 and Under 6) where the focus is on basic skills and having fun.

“We learn the basics of handling the ball with our feet, stopping the ball, movement, correct technique on kicking the ball, team work, enjoying yourself and participation,” said coordinator Jennifer Royer-Collard, who started playing soccer when she was five and now her son plays in the Sandlot program.

More than 40 kids are registered in Sandlot, and it is the starting point for children to see if they enjoy soccer.

Every Saturday is different based on the number of kids that show up, what the weather is doing and where the kids are at.

“Sometimes something just isn’t working and we change direction,” Royer-Collard said.

She added encouragement comes with recognition: high fives (from a coach or a parent), words specifying what was done correctly and having fun.

Royer-Collard said she is fortunate to have dedicated parent coaches.

“I supply the guidance and basics, but it is their energy and dedication that makes the difference,” she said.