The First Mini-Kicker/HappyFeet Program
The original Mini-Kicker/HappyFeet program started in 1988 when Kansas City's La Petite preschools ran field trips to Andy Barney's indoor soccer facility. When Andy initially taught Mini-Kickers, he had no experience in early childhood education. Andy thought teaching soccer to 3,4 & 5 year olds would be easy. After 6 stressful back-to-back, one-hour lessons, Andy quickly realized that an educational curriculum sensitive to the needs of young children needed to be developed. It was then that stories such as "Hiawatha, the Dribbling Indian" and "Gus, the Banana Gobbling Gorilla" were created. Later nursery rhymes and songs such as "Roll, roll, roll the ball" to the tune of "Row, row, row your boat" were added.
An Ah-Ha Moment
In the summer of 2006, Scott Gaither was watching his daughter participate in a dance class at her preschool. He compared it to the Legends "Mini- Kickers" program and saw that soccer the HappyFeet way was more developmental and enjoyable. In that instant, Scott knew that an "on-site" preschool/daycare story, song and nursery rhyme soccer program would be a bigger hit with the schools, kids and parents than the dance class his daughter loved so much.
The HappyFeet-Legends Program
In October 2006, Andy and Scott formed HappyFeet to offer year-round classes on site at preschools. HappyFeet in Kansas City has been growing rapidly with over 80 schools currently running a year-round soccer program. HappyFeet also runs successful camps and year-round HappyFeet leagues. HappyFeet in conjunction with the Legends Soccer Club & Soccer Excellence is is adding new franchises at the rate of one per month. HappyFeet-Legends franchises bring all the major youth soccer programs under one umbrella. The team at HappyFeet, the Legends Soccer Club and Soccer Excellence have run nationally and internationally prominent Preschool, Club, League, Camp, Tournament & Tour programs for over 25 years.