American kids crazy about soccer
On any given summer day, kids are learning the fundamentals of soccer on fields across the country.
“You want to be offense? Play on the right. Come to the right,” said Indy Eleven Midfielder Don Smart, as he coached a group of seven and 8-year-olds Tuesday.
Even learning fundamentals includes having fun.
“The kids at this age, you've got to just let them enjoy themselves and play," Smart said. "And once they fall in love--really love it, all they want to do is play.”
At an Indy Eleven soccer camp in Westfield, professional players are the teachers.
“Go Brody, go, go, go, go!” shouted 8-year-old Brody Heinzmann’s mother Angie. He started playing soccer when he was four.
“And he picked up on it pretty easily. Kind of fun for him," she said. "He's played other sports but this is the one sport he actually excels at."
Various groups indicate participation in youth soccer in the United States still lags behind football and baseball, but an estimated 3.9 million American children are involved in organized soccer — more than any other country in the world.
“You don't do a lot of standing around in soccer," Angie Heinzmann said. "You're on the go at all times. I think for your active child it's the best sport for them, because you have to think ahead.”
The World Cup has provided excitement and inspiration, and the Heinzmann family hasn't missed watching a game since it started.
“I can follow what they do and then I can be like them maybe one of these days.” Brody Heinzmann said.
But, even if he isn't, he's part of a growing number of kids leaning and loving soccer.
Even if the U.S. Team lost against Belgium, kids in the U.S. are winning on the field.