Youth soccer organizations play a crucial role in shaping young athletes' lives, not just as players but as individuals. “Our commitment as coaches and teachers needs to remain consistent over time and help children understand the value of focus, effort and sportsmanship” explains Locker Soccer Founder, Steve Locker.
* Locker Soccer is a Championship Insider and sponsor of Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads
I was a fan of Steve Locker’s before I even met him. Having watched his Tedx Talk and following both Locker Soccer and Locker Elite on SM I felt like I knew Steve before he even invited us out to tour his new facility. Once I met Steve, I was able to more fully understand his vision for youth sports and child development.
Steve shared that “When I started Locker Soccer, we were embarking on a mission that starts even before the Youth Soccer Organizations get involved.” He was targeting children ages 2-6. He went on to explain that, “ When I was coaching at Harvard, I met a professor of Child Development who was a Harvard grad, and a professor at Ohio State. My desire was to cultivate a love for sport and address the many areas of child development that most sports’ organizations never think about.” Steve connected with colleagues at OSU who were Child Development Specialists in the area of “play” and “motor skill development” from birth to 6 years old. “It was a perfectly balanced relationship where we spent many months meeting and discussing the “whole” child. This is where we learned about not just running and kicking a ball, but fostering an environment that addresses social skills, listening skills, coordination, agility, balance, fitness, spatial awareness, vision, and so many more constructs that are involved in everyday life.”
When Steve and I first talked about collaborating he said to me “You have to see the space to know the whole story,” the space is wonderful but the Locker Soccer philosophy and approach is really the star of the show. Tomorrow October 1, Locker Soccer Academy will be holding their grand opening at their new location in Powell, Ohio (right behind the old space, in a larger and fully renovated facility). If you can’t make it out to their grand opening and open house, children can drop in for pick-up on Friday nights. Check out our Calendar for for all types f soccer opportunities throughout Ohio.
A Holistic Approach to Player Development
Locker Soccer offers a diverse range of programs catering to various age groups and skill levels. What sets them apart is their commitment to the holistic development of children. Many youngsters begin their journey with Locker Soccer as early as age two, and parents witness an incredible transformation in their children's abilities and confidence over the years.
The secret behind this transformation lies in Locker Soccer's experienced staff and their unique approach to learning. Above all, they prioritize ensuring that kids have fun while they continue to succeed. This focus on enjoyment is essential because it keeps children engaged and encourages continued participation, not just in soccer but in any endeavor in life.
Founder and Owner: Coach Steve Locker
At the heart of Locker Soccer is Coach Steve Locker, a seasoned expert in youth soccer and child development. Steve founded Locker Soccer in 2004 when he recognized the valuable connection between fun, sports, and childhood development. His passion for this approach led him to establish Second Nature Sports in 2013, where he could share his coaching philosophy with a wider audience.
Steve Locker boasts an impressive coaching resume, with 16 years of collegiate head coaching experience, including successful stints at Harvard University, the University of Rochester, and Otterbein College. His coaching career includes eight League Championships, two Ivy League titles, and the development of players who have been drafted by the MLS, as well as numerous All Americans and Academic All Americans.
Steve's deep commitment to the sport extends beyond the United States. He played collegiate soccer for Penn State and professionally for Hannover 96 in Germany, making him the first American to earn a professional coaching diploma from Germany. His international experience includes working with A.C. Milan's top team in Italy.
Building for the Future
During the pandemic, Coach Steve Locker took a bold step by reevaluating and expanding Locker Soccer. He drafted a visionary $5 million plan that included the construction of a new indoor facility and the establishment of Locker Elite, a club that has grown to over 100 players. The future looks even brighter, with plans to build two outdoor turf fields.
The crowning achievement of this expansion is the Locker Soccer Academy, a state-of-the-art child development center. The facility features two indoor training surfaces, a mezzanine with ample seating, and a professional atmosphere that fosters a sense of community among players and parents alike.
Consulting with Child Specialists
What truly sets Locker Soccer apart is its commitment to excellence in foundational soccer programming. Steve Locker collaborates with child specialists in pediatric play and motor control to ensure that every aspect of their programs aligns with the best practices in child development. This consultative approach ensures that children not only excel in soccer but also develop essential life skills.
Under the visionary leadership of Coach Steve Locker, this organization has not only nurtured soccer talents but also empowered young individuals to thrive in all aspects of life. Locker Soccer's commitment to fun, community, and child development continues to make it a trusted choice for families seeking a holistic soccer experience.