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Soccer Veteran Brings New Programs to Harrison Rec

HARRISON, N.Y. - A different brand of soccer is coming to Harrison with many thanks to Somers resident Tony Elmore.

HappyFeet pre-K and the Future Legends K-2 soccer clubs will be joining the Harrison Recreation Department this winter with a unique twist on teaching the fundamentals of soccer to children.

"We understand how to lay the groundwork for the kids," Elmore said. "It's like saying 'we know what nuclear physics is, so we are teaching these kids arithmetic.'"

Elmore is a former Skyline Conference Coach of the Year and has 10 years of NCAA soccer coaching under his belt, along with an even longer experience and passion for the game. He said it's his knowledge of the game and desire to breed a greater corps of American soccer players that makes his program so respected.

"Why is the American population unable to produce a world championship soccer team? It's because the kids are not receiving technical training," Elmore said. "Often times, the local coaches have not been properly trained in the game and we are trying to rectify that."

The HappyFeet approach includes a gradual build-up to playing competitive games, Elmore said. Instead of throwing the kids into games, however, Elmore said each player starts with their own ball to learn the basics. They even go as far as naming the ball "Bob the Bobcat" to allow instructors to give it an identity to tell stories and teach fundamentals of the game.

"There still is a competitive element but we don't allow parents to yell and scream anything other than positives," Elmore said. "A lot of recreational programs that I've seen in northern Westchester are like wars. These parents live so vicariously through children saying they've got to win."

Participants of the 12-week HappyFeet program will alternate practices at Harrison's Sollazzo and Leo Mintzer centers on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively with a trial class Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.

The Future Legends program takes HappyFeet's fundamentals to the next level and begins Dec. 10 until Feb. 11, 2012.

Residents seeking more information can contact Elmore at (914) 401-1771 or by email at Tony@HappySoccerFeet.com .

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