Soccer is for people of all ages – even the little ones! Several years ago, we created Jamboree, or the U5 program, for four-year-olds. In Jamboree, children get to play soccer in an age-specific program, and you, the parents, get to participate with them.
In Jamboree, each team is made up of three to four players and each player will have a parent (or other adult) with them on the field. The children learn soccer skills like kicking, dribbling, and throwing in the ball, but in a low-pressure setting. Jamboree is about exposing children to soccer, not grooming them for college scholarships.
Parents help take turns organizing the teams, setting up fields and supervising the program. While their children are playing, parent volunteers keep time, but interfere with play as little as possible. There are only a few reasons to stop play in Jamboree games. If a child is not playing well with others, or if play must pause for injury, substitution, confusion, or to watch a flock or birds fly by, parents can quickly direct attention back to the game.
In Jamboree, goals are not counted to determine who wins - every player is a winner. Young players need to get a feel for the ball and the field, so even though there are adults all around and many opportunities to offer instruction, the emphasis is on fun and play. It’s a different kind of game in U-5, but the children still wear jerseys or pinnies, cleats and shin guards. Best of all, they find out that soccer is something they can do.