Hundreds of kids got their kicks on a Panama City Beach soccer field this weekend. The Community Recreational Soccer Program opened the spring season with perfect weather and a new direction.
Futskilz Soccer Training is leading the soccer league for the first time. It's a national program that's provided soccer instruction to kids of all ages for 15 years.
"I'm a dance teacher with a soccer ball, helping kids to understand what their potentials are and their individual skills," said Heidi Mueller, owner and director of Futskilz.
She played at the division one level in college and for the Women's U.S. Team in the early 90's. That's just a few of her many accomplishments.
Now, she's changed her focus to helping younger players on and off the field.
". . . teaching fast foot work, confidence with the ball, making it more so than second nature when the ball comes to them, taking it to a another level and helping it become instinct," said Mueller.
Tenley Fish is coaching a U8 team for the first time. However, her kids have played for years, and she can already tell a difference this season."
"It's a little bit different which I think will be better for the league this year," said Fish.
Mueller's training efforts don't stop on the soccer field. She encourages healthy snacks at half time as well as after the game.
"I try to teach the kids color on your plate, which helps them to understand if they have a brown bun, brown burger, brown drink, brown fries; does that sound very healthy? No. So, teaching the kids that if they go through the lunch line at school, as long as they have color on their plate, they're probably doing something healthy," said Mueller.
She also encourages her motto "apples instead of fries, water instead of soda" in the program's fight against childhood obesity.
The spring soccer season runs for six weeks.