Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Ask any lover of the game what is missing in our youth soccer landscape and they will certainly compare our overly coached and overly programmed approach to the street styles and creative play found in alley ways, beaches and random plots of grass around the world. The purpose of this post is to feature some of the free play options available (coincidently on Fridays) and then to also share additional free programming all made available by Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads Insiders*. These programs are not only at no cost to participants but also encourage freedom of play, creativity and problem solving.
Columbus Crew has installed 5 mini-pitches across the region with the focus on underserved communities and in partnership with US Soccer Foundation to create free programming and to make soccer more accessible. The plan is to install 1-2 additional mini-pitch projects each year. The facilities are used for free community based programming and open to the community for use and free play.
Greater Ohio Athletic Training (GOAT) hosts their Free Play Friday at the mini-pitch at Sullivant Gardens Community Center. All ages are welcome for this pick-up futsal/street soccer program which will run every Friday through October 28th. All ages are welcome and no experience is necessary for this 5v5 program.
6:00-8:00 PM : 755 Rennick Street, Columbus Ohio
Locker Soccer Academy will be holding outdoor Free Friday 3v3 with Locker Soccer Academy outdoors at Library Park through the month of September and then move the program inside at Locker Soccer Academy (330 W Case St, Powell Ohio) starting in October. This program is broken up into two sessions based on age.
5:30-6:30 PM : Ages 8 and younger : 420 Liberty St, Powell Ohio
6:30-7:30 PM : Ages 9 and older : 420 Liberty St, Powell Ohio
A Free Overbound Soccer Vision Clinic (exclusively in Columbus) will be held across three Fridays this fall with two convenient times available. Players will learn how training your eyesight helps your game. They can try basic drills, test a Performance Eyesight Trainer and get a game day warm-up regimen to take home. Sessions are free, but participants should sign up, so they can be ready to give you the best experience. Maximum 10 players per session. This program is for players U10 and older.
5:00 & 6:00 Sessions : September 23, 2022 : Lazelle Woods Park, Westerville Ohio
5:00 & 6:00 Sessions : September 30, 2022 : Lazelle Woods Park, Westerville Ohio
5:00 & 6:00 Sessions : October 7, 2022 : Lazelle Woods Park, Westerville Ohio
Fridays are not the only day to take advantage of programming at no cost. Club Ohio is holding free clinics on the Livingston Campus of Reynoldsburg High School. Families can learn more about Club Ohio while Club Ohio coaches put on a free skills session while staff are available to answer questions about the club. When registering at www.ClubOhioSo
ccer.com. Select East as your location of interest and register for the program named "Free Soccer Clinic - Fall" when signing up.
6:00-7:00 : September 18 & October 9, 2022 : 6699 E Livingston Ave, Reynoldsburg Ohio
For questions Email East@clubohiosoccer.com.
Players can also work on their skills on their own. Ohio Soccer Association (OSA) has created the Juggle Club to inspire independent juggling homework for youth soccer players across Ohio. The program provides a step-by-step sequence of skills to help every player improve their touch and comfort level with the ball. Players who complete all eight levels of the program earn an
OSA Juggling Award bag tag.
*Some programs featured in this blog post are OSMD Insiders who financially support Soccer Moms and Dads through membership. Thank you to Ohio Soccer Association, Club Ohio East, Overbound Soccer Vision, Locker Soccer and Greater Ohio Athletic Training for your continued support of OSMD and our work.