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Former Takoma Park Soccer player, Amelia Frey, holds up her old jersey. Photo by Lucy Martin

SILVER SPRING, Md.– All kids who grow up in the Silver Spring area have at least one thing in common–Takoma Park Soccer.

Over 2,000 preschool through high school kids play soccer for Takoma Park during the fall and spring. So what is it about Takoma Park Soccer that attracts so many people?

Addie McDonough, currently a high schooler at Montgomery Blair High School, started playing soccer for Takoma Park at age 2 when her dad signed her up. She played for several years until switching to playing for Montgomery Soccer Inc (MSI).

But three years later she found her way back to Takoma Park Soccer where she played up until 10th grade. “[Takoma Park Soccer] was really low key which I really appreciated. After a while, I played MSI. But that got to be too intense so I went back to playing takoma park soccer which was fun,” says McDonough.

The relaxed atmosphere of the league is a common theme when talking to former Takoma Park soccer players. Rachel Dey, who also played for the league as a kid, also appreciates the casual approach that they take.

She says, “It was a good introduction to soccer.” After playing for Takoma Park, Rachel went on to play for MSI and then multiple travel teams. She now plays for her high school soccer team.

When looking back on her experience as a TKPK soccer player, she says, “It was just more fun and relaxed. As a kid, it was just running around for a little then you could get ice cream after.”

In the metropolitan area that we live in, there are many opportunities and activities to get involved in. People seem to always want to get ahead of or compete with others.

The casual approach that Takoma Park Soccer takes is unique and, to some people, seems too relaxed. But former players disagree.

“When your a little kid, it’s not good to be in a very competitive environment where kids are being pressured by their parents and feel bad. It discourages them from continuing the sport,” says Rachel.

McDonough adds, “It showed that exercise can be fun. That’s part of the reason I still play sports.” The relaxed environment fosters a positive view of sports and physical activity in young kids.

On their website, the Takoma Park Soccer league states that its goal is to “provide local kids with a fun, recreational soccer program close to home.” They strive to teach “the value and fun of teamwork, cooperation, practice and sportsmanship.”

According to Amelia Frey, a former participant, the league does a good job of accomplishing this goal.

“I was young and I thought it would be fun. My family thought it would be a good way for me to get exercise and to learn how to play a team sport. It was kinda my introduction into the world of sports,” says Frey.

Takoma Park Soccer is a casual soccer league that teaches kids soccer through a relaxed approach and fosters a positive environment that will stay with kids for years after.

Despite it’s uncompetitiveness it is one of the most common sports leagues in the area and makes a significant impact on Silver Spring area youth and families. Addie came back years later even as a highschooler to play.

Amelia cites it as what sparked her athletic lifestyle. Through TKPK Soccer, Rachel was introduced to the sport that has become a large part of her life.

Takoma Park Soccer is a casual soccer league that teaches kids soccer through a relaxed approach and fosters a positive environment that will stay with kids for years after. This casual yet instructive approach has made Takoma Park Soccer well-known and well-liked by kids and parents from all over the Silver Spring and Takoma Park area.

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