By Gretchen Pahia
Youth sports are a rite of passage for most kids, but finding the right one for your child can be tough. One of the most popular team sports for kids is soccer. Whether for recreational purposes or the more serious players looking for a club team, there are a variety of options. In the North Valley, one of the options for families is to team up with the experienced soccer enthusiasts at Thunderbird FC. Thunderbird FC is a family-run youth soccer club that offers both recreational and club soccer programs for boys and girls ages 6 to 14.
Club President Colin Zaccagnio says the creation of the league comes from a long line of soccer enthusiasts. “We are a passionate soccer family that is from the Valley. My dad has been coaching youth soccer in the Valley for almost 20 years. I played soccer at Brophy College Preparatory and the University of Redlands, and my sister played for both Xavier College Preparatory and Northern Arizona University. My mom is always one of the friendly faces you see at the check-in tables—it is truly a family affair!”
“As for the club, our coaches focus on three specific areas: player safety, development, and of course, fun. For our organization, one of the other important aspects of the game is socialization – something many kids have gone without for the last year of so,” he adds. “Humans are a social species. With these types of social interactions being limited due to the pandemic, we are providing kids an opportunity to socialize outside of school, as well as learn useful life skills such as teamwork, communication and trust.”
Thunderbird FC offers several program options. They have Little T-Birds program for kids 4 to 6 years old. Their recreational leagues are for players 7-14 years old; they run six weeks long and include one practice and one game per week. They also offer competitive club programs for more advanced players. The teams play a 7.5 month-long season with two practices and games each weekend. Those teams also go up to age 14.
The soccer organization runs as a nonprofit, offering a positive and nurturing soccer environment to youth. They strive to keep costs as low as possible to allow more families to participate in these types of sporting activities.
Registration is open now and players who sign up will receive two Adidas jerseys, a pair of Adidas shorts, and a pair of Adidas socks. The Fall Recreational League starts on August 19, with the first games played on August 21. To learn more or register, visit thunderbirdfc.org.