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Sports: Soccer, Swimming


American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)
Visit for league information.
This nationwide nonprofit has recreational leagues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and operates under the motto “Everyone plays”—half a game, at least. Registration is open to all kids ages 4 through 18. The coaches and referees are volunteers; any parent can take a course to participate. Fees range from about $35 to $80 per season, and include uniform and instruction.

Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League
This 70-year-old league sets up games throughout the five boroughs. The season runs from September through June, with indoor play from January through March. There are boys, girls, and coed divisions. Teams are broken into age categories starting with “under 8,” with an August 1 cutoff date. Prices range from about $90 to $225.

Manhattan Soccer Club
Currently encompassing more than 30 teams and 600 kids, the Manhattan Soccer Club is also affiliated with the Westchester Youth Soccer League and the Northern Counties Soccer Association. Its home fields are on Wards Island (officially part of Manhattan), and practice often takes place in Central Park, Riverside Park, Van Cortlandt Park, and Randalls Island. Ages 9 to 18.

Super Soccer Stars
A motley group of expats from soccer hot zones like Brazil, Italy, and Argentina teach indoor and outdoor soccer in more than twenty Manhattan locations (plus several in Brooklyn and the Hamptons). General-admission sessions ($20 and up) are noncompetitive, beginning with warm-up play and moving into stretching, drills, and scrimmages. They start teaching kids as young as 21⁄2, and offer private group lessons; $120 for up to six kids, $200 for up to twelve.

Self-Defense Classes
Prepare Inc.
147 W. 25th St., 8th fl., near Seventh Ave.
In this personal-safety program—Chapin, Spence, and Brearley are clients—kids 6 to12 learn how to deal with bullying and unwanted touch, and practice full-contact self-defense against a padded male instructor. Classes are two days of three hours each, $125 per person.


Asphalt Green
555 E. 90th St.
The Water Babies program for children 4 to 18 months takes place in a training pool with an adjustable bottom. Kids can then graduate to the Water Tots program until they turn 3, at which time the Water Sprites take over (ages 3 to 4). All programs are $182 to $208 for seven to eight weeks. Asphalt Green also has a traveling team for kids who can swim competitive strokes, and springboard diving for kids 8 to 18.

Imagine Swimming, Inc.
Founded two years ago by a pair of world-class swimmers, this school uses two Hunter College pools (in Gramercy Park and on the Upper East Side) and a BMCC pool in Tribeca, and employs very experienced teachers. Nine-to-fourteen-week seasons usually consist of 40-minute lessons ($40 each) taught in groups of four and fewer. For kids 18 months to 10 years.

This school aims to get children comfortable with water, starting as young as 6 months. Operating out of three gorgeous private pools (one on top of Lincoln Center), the school eschews flotation devices and works on core strength and skill survival—think treading water and back floating. Four weekly half-hour sessions are $90 ($288 for twelve weeks).

Take Me to the Water
Utilizing 22 private pools around Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, and New Jersey, this twenty-year-old swimming school stresses small class size (typical teacher-to-student ratio is one to three), shallow bottoms, and warm water (always about 88 degrees). Prices for group lessons vary with class size and are $25 to $50 for 30 to 60 minutes; private lessons are $50 per half-hour.

YWCA of the City of New York
610 Lexington Ave., at 53rd St.
Kids can join this center’s eight-week Swim Academy ($135 plus $40 for a YWCA kids membership), which is modeled after (and instructors are certified by) the Red Cross swimming programs. There are also half-hour private classes available ($195 for five sessions) and semi-private ($135 per person for five sessions). Classes take place in a 40-foot training pool or the center’s 75-foot six-lane lap pool.

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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide