“It brings kids from domestic workers to parents that drive Porches together,” says the owner of the successful Soccer Kidz Academy in Bloemfontein, Marcos Petrello, who started the club for kids between the ages of 9-18 nine years ago.
Nine years on and the club has lived up to its goal of providing not only good footballers but also people that will excel in all walks of life.
Marcos Petrello and his partner Petros Auggousti (former manager of Bloemfontein Celtic and co-owner of Soccer Kids Academy) started the Soccer Kids Academy with the idea of nurturing, developing and equipping individuals with the necessary skills and discipline to succeed in professional football.
“We want to give them the opportunity to be successful in their lives. We teach them about discipline from a very young age and develop the life skills required to make it in football”, says Petrello.
“We also place a lot of emphasis on nutrition so that they can start looking after themselves from a young age. It’s not just football, it’s important for us to let them start thinking as a team and a club.”
Kids from different schools in Bloemfontein come together at the Soccer Kids Academy where they receive technical training and training in life skills.
“I played for many years and started teaching at my brother’s school. I then developed my skill by obtaining various coaching licences. When I stopped playing I pursued a full-time job in coaching. I can coach in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), but my passion lies with the development of the youth.
“I firmly believe the fundamental difference between European and South African football is the focus on the technical aspects from a young age.”
Marcos noted that they recently started with girls’ soccer at the academy and the surprising element has been their athletic ability.
Looking ahead, Marco would ideally like to see kids from the Motheo region move up the ranks – to see children looking after themselves and their bodies and ultimately make a success of their lives.
“The end result is to see the kids play for Bafana Bafana and overseas clubs and move up the ranks.”
The soccer kids currently make use of the indoor soccer facilities at Brebner Primary School.