RICHMOND, Va. – (Tuesday, February 5, 2019) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the acquisition of Little Kicks to serve as the foundation of the club’s nationally renowned player development model. Little Kicks is an in-school soccer enrichment program held at preschools and child care centers throughout the Richmond area.
“The Little Kicks program is a valuable community asset that introduces both the beautiful game of soccer and the Kickers brand to the next generation of youth soccer players,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “We look forward to inspiring Little Kicks participants to enjoy the sport while generating new Kickers fans along the way.”
Founded in 2010 by former Kickers professional player, Luke Vercollone, and supported by Kickers pro players, Little Kicks was designed as an entry-level program to introduce young children to soccer.
“The Little Kicks idea grew out of the desire to share my passion for soccer with the next generation,” said Vercollone. “It has been enjoyable and yet humbling to see how the program has been so well received in the RVA community. The Little Kicks program was built on the foundation of coordination, confidence and character as children develop the skills to continue their soccer training.”
Hired in April 2012, Amy MacKenzie joined Little Kicks to oversee all program operations. As Vercollone moved to Colorado to continue his professional playing career, MacKenzie was named Program Director. She has worked collaboratively with Center Directors at all Little Kicks locations to create the program we see today. Now serving over 3,000 participants at 70 centers, Little Kicks will serve as the entry-level program for the Kickers as the club expands to provide opportunities for players of all ages in the community.
“I firmly believe in the Little Kicks program and the fundamentals it delivers to the lives of children,” noted MacKenzie. “As a parent with a child in our program I have witnessed firsthand the enjoyment, quality and convenience Little Kicks brings. The sense of community and teamwork the Kickers promote are ingredients we look forward to bringing to each center we work with.”
Richmond Kickers professional soccer players and coaches visit the preschools once a week for 30-45 minute sessions of soccer instruction, drills and games. Parents enroll their children in a positive, fun activity that does not require extra driving or take away from valuable evening and weekend time. The team atmosphere fosters life skills and socialization at a crucial developmental age. The many positive aspects of the sport diversity and enhance the child’s learning experience.
“Luke’s vision and Amy’s dedication to establish Little Kicks has been nothing short of phenomenal,” added Cowlishaw. “They have created a unique program that has positively impacted thousands of children over the last decade and we look forward to building upon their good work.”