Half Way Report for “Start Healthy Soccer” for Elementary School Kids in Oakland

Cal North Youth Soccer has joined forces with the world’s largest school sports coaching provider to deliver a pioneering six-week ‘Start Healthy Soccer’ program in six elementary schools in Oakland, CA.

“We are a little more than halfway thru the program, Start Healthy Soccer and hearing great reviews and responses from parents, participants, and teachers which validates our partnership with the Premier Education Group (PEG) to find creative ways to encourage our children to be more active, “ said Matthew Madeira, Executive Director for Cal North.

Madeira adds, “Improved physical activity helps our generation of children live stronger, healthier lives. Sport is a great platform to help influence positive change in all communities and we thank PEG for supporting these school-based initiatives. We appreciate the work of our co-partners, including US Soccer and Bownet for their continued support of our organization’s objectives.”

Kids are learning the basic principles of physical activity and nutrition, and parents are kept up to date with their child’s progression via Premier’s online portal. Players learn character traits such as co-operation, teamwork and dealing with success and failure. This pilot program is being offered at no cost to the Oakland Unified School District and no cost to the youth participant and their families.

“After four weeks into this program, I’m excited at the kids reaction to this beautiful game of Soccer. There is definitely an appetite for the Start Healthy Soccer program.  Many of these kids have not played Soccer before, so it is fantastic to see the smiles on their faces. The holistic approach to the program means we’ll not only be improving the technical proficiencies of the kids, but educating them around the importance of eating healthy, keeping hydrated, sleeping well and frequent exercise. We’ll not only be developing new soccer players, but influencing the health and well-being of kids in the Oakland Unified School District.  Now the challenge is to find a way to keep this program going in the fall” said James Jennison, Premier Area Manager and Tutor.

The program uses the ‘My Personal Best’ program, a fitness measurement initiative launched at American College of Sports Medicine in Boston to measure the impact on the children’s cardio-respiratory fitness and body mass index.

David Batch, Chief Executive of Premier Education, said: “At the end of the program, we will have solid data about the benefits and increasing fitness of the participants. The program has proven effective in terms of increasing the physical activity levels and cardio-respiratory fitness of participants. This is vital when we consider that research shows fitter and more active children perform better in the classroom!  Health, activities that raise the heart rate, friendships, learning to win and lose, perseverance, teamwork and most of all enjoyment are all important lessons which are the real outcomes of a child participating in high-quality Soccer programming.”

WHEN AND WHERE? The program, started April 9, 2018, combines in-school PE classes, after-school clubs and soccer festivals to achieve the desired learning outcomes for the children enrolled. The “Start Healthy Soccer” program is being offered to pupils in the following schools:

  • Korematsu Elementary
  • Esperanza Elementary
  • Grass Valley Elementary
  • Allendale Elementary
  • New Highland Academy
  • Community United Elementary.

For further information, please email Matthew Madeira, mmadeira@calnorth.org 


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