Zoom soccer practices bring ‘all smiles’ to kids and parents

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (KOMU/NBC News) — COMO Youth Soccer, Sporting Columbia and Columbia Select started hosting daily practices using Zoom back when school got canceled. 

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Gary Drewing, a Sporting Columbia soccer coach, said once he knew the cancelation of school and sports was going to last a long time, he had to start looking at the positives of the situation and use technology as a tool.

“We have this skill set that we need to build and it’s hard to get them to do it at home, but when they do it together they enjoy it,” he said. “So far the feedback has been nothing but positive.”

Drewing said at first everyone was kind of lost, unsure of how they were going to stay connected. 

“We needed anything that goes back to some normalcy, so having a daily meeting, knowing the kids get to see 10 of their friends like they used to do all the time is really positive for them,” he said. “It’s been nothing but great for these kids.” 

Even in a small space, the kids get to practice their foot work and work on small drills while still hanging out with their friends over Zoom. Coach Drewing said it’s nice to experience some positive out of this situation. 

“To see their faces and hear the same jokes and watch all the smiles is really rewarding for me in particular,” he said. “To watch them interact and laugh is refreshing.” 

9 year-old Joey Swanegan said he looks forward to these practices everyday.

“It makes me feel happy because I didn’t think I’d be able to see my friends because of this virus, but I get to see them still,” he said. “I also get all my energy out while doing something I enjoy.” 

Drewing said the only struggle has been not being able to practice new, detailed moves since face-to-face interaction isn’t possible. He said even though it’s not perfect, the kids are loving it

“It seemed like it was going to be too much, but the kids can’t get enough of it,” he said. “I’ll lead the training during the week with a planned activity, but generally the kids will still get on zoom during the weekend and lead it themselves.”

The training is currently taking place five days a week at 5 p.m. for 30 minutes.

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