Originally from the UK, Huw Harris first came to Vancouver in 1981 to attend his brother’s wedding to a Vancouverite. Ten years later, he returned to stay. On top of his background in IT and management, Huw has extensive experience as a coach, having taught and played soccer, along with skiing, scuba diving and other sports, before he found his passion as a master franchisor and head coach of Brazilian Soccer Schools Canada and Socatots Canada.
The Socatots approach develops a close bond between youngsters and their parents, who participate in classes. “Socatots is multifaceted,” says Huw. “We don’t use nets, so it’s not just about soccer. It’s about coordination, physical literacy, colours, numbers and the socialization of children so that they start to understand routines, structure and cooperating with other children. Parents get to develop a strong bond with their children, and I often hear from parents that participating in Socatots has helped them learn how to play with their children through sport.”
Kids balance beanbags on their hands, shoulders, feet, thighs and knees on both sides, which Huw explains can be directed towards basketball, tennis, as well as other sports.
“The children who come out of the program seem to be able to work better in groups, listen and develop skills that can be applied to other parts of their life, such as school. Kids learn through playing games, and this can also breed creativity and help further them along in their development.”
The Brazilian Soccer Schools syllabus draws from the Brazilian version of Futsal to help young players gain confidence, improve their decision-making abilities and master the game. “Our system is based on the progressions used in martial arts and swimming, and includes special exercises and drills to develop the skills of an athlete or sports enthusiast.”
Huw, who played semi-professional soccer in Germany, spoke with many other coaches to inform the approach he uses in his programs.
“My focus is on elevating how the sport is taught to children and how we can help kids develop physical literacy,” says Huw. “We give children success starting on day one. The way the program is put together promotes their sense of confidence and gives them foundational skills, such as balance and coordination, that they can use in any sport and in life in general. Children who develop body awareness and feel more attuned to their own bodies are in a better position to develop proper posture and movement patterns.”
Now, coming out of the pandemic, he sees a lot of opportunity to encourage more kids to get involved in sports to move away from screens and build healthy lifestyle practices for their growing brains and bodies.
“Kids are sponges, and this is when they can really build a foundation for their future,” he says. “Our programs give children a reason why they should play and continue to practice sports.”
“I’m into my 50s now, and I feel blessed that I’m fortunate enough to facilitate both of these programs.”
For more information and to register for these programs, please visit here and search by location for “West Point Grey Community Centre” and then for “Socatots” and “Brazilian Soccer Schools”.