WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Local soccer company Metro NY Legends, also known as Legends Soccer Club, will launch clinics in the fall throughout Westchester County to teach young children the skills of the game.
The New York office is a branch of the nationwide Legends company, which started in a suburb of Kansas City more than 25 years ago. The company runs a program called Happy Feet, which started in New York in 2010, for preschool-age children that teaches soccer skills through games, stories and colorful characters.
The clinics will encompass the children in the Legends program, from age 5 all the way to age 19. The company’s aim is to have the Happy Feet children grow up through the Legends program into their teens. The clinics will start with recent Happy Feet graduates and will grow in the coming years.
Josh Pransky, who has coached for Metro NY Legends since 2010, said the company plans to open five or six clinics at the outset and then expand those to dozens of towns throughout Westchester. The target towns are White Plains, the Tarrytown area, Mount Kisco, Harrison, New Rochelle and Mamaroneck.
Pransky said Legends differs from high school and recreational soccer in one key way.
“Legends is almost like a philosophy,” Pransky said. “There’s no crazy parents, crazy coaches, crazy refs. We take all the crazy out.”
Pransky cited a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics that showed that 70 percent of children ages 13 and 14 have dropped out of youth sports. Those same children, according to Pransky, said in focus groups that the two main factors were dislike for their coaches and embarrassing parents.
Pransky said the Legends approach is to provide encouragement and reinforcement to the players rather than to jeer or yell when they make mistakes.
“You’re never going to hear a Legends coach screaming at a kid for a soccer-oriented problem,” Pransky said.
And that philosophy extends to the parents, as well. If a parent gets out of hand at a Legends practice or game, the coach will tell him or her to either be quiet or leave.