Iowa City Moms Guide to Soccer Programs

If you are new to the area, have young kids who are starting to be interested in sports, or have an older child who’s just becoming interested in soccer, you’ve come to the right place! This guide exists to help you figure out what all your local soccer options are and what’s the best program for your family. From programs for preschoolers through teens, our community has some fantastic soccer programs to choose from!

Iowa City moms guide to area soccer programs

Toddler/Preschool Programs

Coralville Tiny Tot Soccer

Ages: 3-6
Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer
Cost: $39 for Coralville residents, $48.75 for non-residents

The City of Coralville offers a fun recreational soccer program that is run with parent volunteer coaches. Seasons last six weeks, with 45-minute sessions that have skill building games and 3v3 games coached by parents. Our kids enjoyed this low-key program, and it’s a lot of fun watching preschoolers try to figure out which goal they are supposed to try to score on–or even which field they should keep their ball on!

Iowa City Parks & Rec Preschool Soccer

Ages: 3-5
Seasons: Fall, Spring
Cost: $38

This is a parent coached program that meets two days a week for five weeks at Mercer Park. You can choose the practice night that works best for your family, and games are held on Thursday evenings.

Iowa City Kickers Parent-Tot Soccer

Ages: 2-5
Seasons: Fall, Spring
Cost: $35

These four week sessions introduce kids to basic soccer skills. Parent participation is required and parents come away with resources and new skills to help keep the soccer fun going at home. Kids are grouped into two age groups: 2-3 year olds and 4-5 year olds. This is perfect for both soccer loving parents who want to play with their kids and parents who are new to the sport and want to learn the basics.

Soccer Shots

Ages: 2-4
Program Type: Recreational

This is a skills-building program for preschoolers. It is very convenient as they come to many area daycares, and the Iowa City Department of Recreation offers a program in partnership with Soccer Shots for preschoolers ages 2-4. One local mom comments, “I thought it was nice and positive and taught teamwork, just teaching kids how to cheer on others and be supportive when they fail.”


Soccer Programs for School Age Kids

Coralville Youth Soccer – KIXX

Ages: 6-8
Program Type: Recreational
Seasons: Fall & Spring
Cost: $60 for Coralville residents, $67.50 for non-residents

Kids play 5 weeks of one-hour sessions. The goal is for kids to develop a love and passion for the game of soccer. There are 45 minutes of skills and soccer activities, followed by 15-20 minutes of  4v4 games for the players.

Iowa City Kickers

Ages: Kindergarten through Adult
Program Type: Recreational
Seasons: Fall, Winter & Spring
Cost: $50-70 per season, discounts for playing two seasons with the same team

My favorite “starter” program for soccer is Iowa City Kickers. They group children by grade and school, so they are likely to be playing with kids that they know from school and to make new friends from the grade above or below them. It is parent coached. That means it varies a lot in intensity based on the coach and their level of skill and interest in coaching. For our family, it was a great, low-key way to introduce our kids to the sport. And, as our kids got older, it remained a fun way to play with friends without us as parents feeling the need to commit large amounts of time or money to year-round competitive leagues.

Why Kickers Is This Mom’s Favorite Recreational Soccer Program: Our kids have loved that they group the kids by school. They are always playing with their friends, and when you are watching on the sidelines on a cold, rainy day, at least you are hanging out with other moms and dads you already know.

Iowa Soccer Club

Ages: 4 through Adult
Program Type: Recreational or Competitive
Seasons: Year Round for competitive leagues, Fall/Winter/Spring enrollment for Beginning/Intermediate Levels
Cost: $115 for Academy 10-week session, $130 for Fall or Spring Lightning 10-week session, $240 for Lightning Winter Session, $1241 for Year-Round Programs. Scholarships are available.

My favorite program for more advanced or professional soccer training is Iowa Soccer Club, often called ISC. They have several levels of play.

Recreational: Their Academy program offers 4-6 year olds one night per week of professional coaching from soccer experts. That gets young kids off to a good start in soccer with fun skills games and scrimmages.

Intermediate: Their Lightning program for 7-13 year olds offers excellent skills development for a child who is starting to get serious about soccer, but it still only requires a one-night-per-week commitment. We found the Lightning program to be a great bridge moving from Kickers Rec program to ISC’s more competitive program, and our son enjoyed doing both Lightning and Kickers at the same time. Ages 10+ can also participate in a Practice Only Program or Practice Only Plus Indoor, which allows them to practice with the competitive teams, but not participate in games except during the winter indoor league.

Competitive: What ISC is probably best known for is their competitive leagues for ages 7-18. This level of play requires a year-round commitment. At least one practice per week is required for 11 months of the year, but motivated kids can practice almost every night of the week if they so choose and your schedule allows. Tournaments and fall and spring league play require some travel within a few hours of Iowa City. Winter indoor leagues are played here in Iowa City.

Why ISC Is This Mom’s Favorite Competitive Program: Their professional coaches are fantastic! While my husband and all the moms and dads we’ve worked with in parent-coached programs were great, nothing beats people who know soccer like it’s their job–because it is their job! The level of skills development we’ve seen at ISC has been tremendous compared to what our kids have learned in other programs. It is also one of the most well-organized extracurricular programs that my kids have ever been involved in. The director gives fantastic and frequent communication to parents.


Have I missed your favorite soccer program? Add it in the comments!

 

Laura
Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – about 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it. Laura sometimes gives a good impression of having it all together, but she forgets about school picture day, drops her kid off on the wrong day for birthday parties, and those are just the things she’s not too embarrassed to tell you about. She makes some killer chocolate chip cookies, though, and hopes that might make up for the rest.

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