At Xara, we measure our success on your success. And it joys us to hear from all the soccer organizations around the country who have experienced success they never thought was possible.
Smithfield Soccer Club — A town comes together through soccer
At younger age levels, club soccer is very much a family experience. Not only are parents cheerleaders, but they are often the volunteer parent coaches. Club administrators across the country rely upon the volunteer parent coach to provide the younger players with their early soccer development.
Inherent challenges for soccer organizations
This brings about many common challenges to soccer organizations everywhere:
- Getting parental involvement
- Attracting volunteer coaches
- Team growth
- Member retention
- Getting sponsors and funding
Volunteer parent coaches are hard to find and often don't come back after the first year, because coaching can be scary for many moms and dads. This is especially the case if they have never played or coached the game before and they are now asked to be part of the child’s (and the entire team's) early soccer education.
With all these challenges for soccer clubs in mind, Xara developed a series of 4 educational soccer programs that can be used by parent coaches to develop young players, while also enhancing the soccer experience for everyone. Each program provides — not only an age-appropriate approach to the game — but also a skill-appropriate and fun approach to the game. This allows for the natural growth and progression of everyone involved. It also brings excitement to the game and makes it fun for the kids, as well as the parents, to be involved in soccer.
A club needing help
Smithfield Soccer Club in Smithfield, Rhode Island — a charming little town an hour from Boston — was experiencing all these challenges and their club was not flourishing. Like in many soccer programs today, the experience did not fulfill parents' and players' expectations, leading to dropout. Parents weren't as involved as they could be. Volunteer levels were low.
Smithfield Soccer Club realized they needed to do something. “Four years ago, our association board of directors discussed different ideas that would infuse more excitement into our league. We wanted to create a buzz that would make the game fun for the kids, encourage more parent involvement, and intertwine our association with the business community”, said Bob Squillante (President of Smithfield Soccer Club).
That's when Smithfield Soccer Club heard about Xara's programs and started up with Xara's Dinomites Program.
Xara's Dinomites Program
The Dinomites program is a 10-week, age-specific program that is a step-by-step interactive development guide for youth soccer organizations that run U5 and U6 programs.
The Dinomites Program includes a curriculum that volunteer coaches can easily understand. It helps them successfully run practices — guiding them through the entire season. The program was developed to lead a club to success and engage involvement in many ways:
- Provide support to volunteer coaches
- Assist the coaches in having a positive coaching experience
- Reduce fears of first-time coaches
- Increase coach retention figures
- Fully engage moms and dads
- Provide a memorable first soccer experience for everyone
- Differentiate programs from others nearby
- Increase parent support and engagement, while minimizing parent complaints
- Increase volunteer numbers
Smithfield Soccer Club success
Youth soccer has shrunken 2% over the years, while Smithfield has grown using Xara soccer programs, such as the Dinomites Program.
"Since we introduced the Dinomites program, our numbers have grown from 60 players to 160 players at the U5 level. We had to close out registration last year, and we have a waiting list of families who wish to get involved."
The Dinomites Program provides age-appropriate soccer skills to kids, while offering fun and fitness. It also provides volunteer coaches with the tools to deliver an authentic soccer experience to create a learning environment that reaches beyond soccer.
"The Dinomites program is perfect, because it is a complete curriculum that is appropriate for young kids. In the past, I use to put together materials for the coaches, which was technically sound, but not as much fun for the kids", said Bill Hickey (Director of Coaching for Smithfield Soccer Club).
For the organization, it helps them support the volunteer coach as a tool to ease fears of inexperience, and educate on coaching. "The Dinomites curriculum allows for a consistent approach from the coaches in our program, some of whom have not ever played the game or coached anything in the past. The step-by-step lesson plan has taken the fear away from our inexperienced coaches and has provided them support, confidence, and passion for teaching the game", said Bob Squillante (President of Smithfield Soccer Club).
The program also engages moms and dads by actually including their participation in the activities that are in the curriculum, so it becomes a family experience. Instead of being on the sidelines, they are more involved and are more engaged emotionally too.
The curriculum is based around the adventures of Dino and his sister Deana. It has 3 principles that act as its foundation — storytelling, imagination, and play.
"Everyone gets into the stories and we see coaches and parents on the field dressed up and involved. It brings a smile to all to watch these future stars loving the game of soccer. Your league is only as strong as your volunteers. The Dinomites curriculum has made coaching easier, more fun, and has contributed to an increase of volunteer coaches who continue to take their teachings to the next age level. It is a win-win-win for our youth players, coaches, and parents", said Bob Squillante (President of Smithfield Soccer Club).
A brighter future with Xara College Selextion Program
What defines the soccer experience for members of a soccer club or organization is the ability to express their values, reach their goals, and overcome the inherent challenges. Players, coaches, parents, and administrators must work in harmony to create a positive soccer experience and to bring success to an organization.
With this in mind, Xara has developed an array of age-appropriate soccer programs that educate, excite, and enhance the soccer experience for everyone. A high priority for us when developing these programs was to engage the family as a part of the e3 approach to success.
Each program provides an age-appropriate and skill-specific approach to the game. But naturally, once kids get into high school, they and their parents have a different focus. We thought, what is it that people in the game are inspiring to at these ages? What could we do to help them succeed? To find out, we researched and talked with members of soccer organizations to discover their needs.
An interesting finding was that a promise many soccer organizations make is that of a college soccer scholarship, or the promise of playing soccer in college, as getting a scholarship is a common dream of young soccer players. However, the facts show these dreams are not a likely reality.
- Only 1.5% of all kids who ever play youth soccer will ever kick a ball in college
- Less than 1% will receive a soccer scholarship
- 33% of all students who enter a college end up switching and getting their degree from a different college with a typical $15,000 fee to change colleges
What did we take away from these findings? Statistics show the vast majority of players aged 14 to 18 and their parents need effective guidance on how to choose the right college more than they need tools that will help them obtain a soccer scholarship. Many are choosing a college based on the soccer program — but clearly, that's not a wise factor, since a very small percentage of kids end up playing college soccer.
We wanted to help parents by giving them tools that would assist them and their child make the right choice by choosing a college that fits their needs. This is why we created College Selextion — an age-specific program for kids ages 14 to 18 years. The College Selextion Program is designed to support the College aspiration of families involved in soccer. A college education can be expensive and making the right choice can be stressful. That is why the College Selextion Program gives families access to the College Profiler database, with more than 5,800 colleges and universities across the country.
Based upon your selection criteria (cost, location, majors offered, etc), College Profiler will provide you information on colleges across the country that best fit your criteria. This gives you the best opportunity to find a college that best suits your needs. You can change your criteria as many times as you would like and each time you do, you will be provided with an updated list of colleges that best fit your most up-to-date criteria. You can even see information regarding accessing financial aid, scholarships, and more. This provides members an important tool for the college planning process and invaluable information that students and their parents should be considering while they are in 9th, 10th,11th, and 12th grade.
Engaging in a family soccer experience is part of an e3 approach to success, and 83% of all soccer parents say that the most important promise they make to their child is that of a college education. Xara assists families in your soccer organization with this critical decision and shows them that you understand what is important to their family.
This program is designed to encourage families to stay in a program to receive the benefits that the College Selextion Program brings. College Selextion reduces stress and helps families select the right college that’ll be best for their child. It is a win-win for all!
The College Selextion Program is offered in conjunction with our educational partner The Sports Source.
What organizations who have implemented e3 are saying
"The Dinomites program is perfect because it is a complete curriculum that is appropriate for young kids. In the past I use to put together materials for the coaches which was technically sound but not as much fun for the kids. The Dinomites curriculum is perfect for people who know kids but don’t know soccer, my wife is a perfect example she didn’t play but she was a fantastic coach using the Dinomites curriculum. Sometimes it is difficult for the experienced coach to be realistic about what these young players should be doing. Our Dinomites program is all about the kids having fun and learning to love the game." Bill Hickey, Director of Coaching for Smithfield Soccer Club in RI
"We are 100% full with our sponsors and in fact we have a waiting list of people who want to get involved. This success is due of the activities and excitement that we generate by using the theme series uniforms and support materials. Our program is financially stronger today because of our success with our sponsors." Bob Squillante President of Smithfield Soccer Club in RI
"The Dino curriculum allows for a consistent approach from the coaches in our program some of whom have not played the game or coached in the past. They get into the stories and we see coaches and parents on the field dressed up and involved, it brings a smile to my face every time I am at the fields." Bob Squillante President of Smithfield Soccer Club in RI
"We are more than a company who makes soccer gear. We support the success of each organization. We've learned that simply manufacturing uniforms is not enough to make a significant impact on the success of the organizations’. Xara strives to be a pioneer in soccer. Our core vision is to make your organization thrive. To us, your success is our success." Chris Price, CEO at Xara