Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Letts.
Hi Patrick, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I had gone to school for Sport Management at Towson University and after college, got a job with DC United in Major League Soccer. I loved that job, but had an opportunity to work for a pro soccer club trying to start in Baltimore and took the chance to work closer to home, but the job wasnt what was promised and at that point, although I loved working for DCU, I didnt want to make the drive down 295 to RFK Stadium anymore so, I enrolled in a career changers program to start teaching in Baltimore County while first starting I spent a year working for the Baltimore Blast (I love soccer).
As I started teaching, I realized that while I like teaching, it wasn’t a true passion of mine and I needed to get back into sports. I started coaching more with local soccer clubs but realized there was something missing for the youngest kids. It was either rec or club, but nothing truly fun to get the kids active and engaged while having fun. One night I was hanging out with some friends and they encouraged me to start a program and we were tossing around names for the program and I wanted it to be something with a local tie and we had settled on something to do with Crabs and my friend Kevin said add kickers and that is when Crab Kickers was born. Another friend Adam created the logo, and we were off and running. Our first year, we had five kids in our fall program in Dundalk and I started thinking that maybe this was going to work out, but that winter, I spent any time schools were closed for Holidays or weather putting flyers in door handles in thousands of houses and we gradually saw registrations come in for spring. About two years in, we went to an all-online registration, and that has helped with registrations.
As we started to grow, we added a Winter and Summer session. So, now we run 8-week programs four times a year in addition to summer, winter, and spring break camps. I was able to hire coaches and one coach that I hired. Henry has grown into the role of director to help the program expand.
Last year during the spring shutdown, we had record registrations and had to either refund or move to other seasons all those participants. Some did a virtual option but it wasn’t the same standard of our program that we have. Once Gov. Hogan allowed youth sports again, we started back up in the summer and had decent numbers. Fall was solid as well and surprisingly did decent over the winter. The spring of 2021 saw record registrations for spring and the same for this summer so far. I am hoping to add an assistant Director to help Henry expand some of our locations and programs.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all. When first starting, I thought it was going to be smooth sailing, and parents were just going to register their kids. There was a lot of trial and error on how to market the program, from spending hundreds of hours flying hours to using Valpak to going to festivals.
At first, getting complaints from parents was tough, but I realized no matter how great the program or coach is, you’ll never please everyone. Hiring coaches can be tough as we look for someone that is great with kids first. Some of our best coaches never played soccer before, while some of our coaches that struggled had a great soccer background but were not good with kids.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Crab Kickers?
We want to create a dynamic environment where children can develop soccer skills, social skills, coordination, confidence and self-esteem, all while having FUN!
Crab Kickers is a one-of-a-kind soccer program developed to provide a dynamic environment where children can develop soccer skills, social skills, coordination, confidence, and self-esteem built on a solid foundation of fun.
What Makes us Different: Our programs span a broad range of ages and abilities. Many of the children have been with us since they were two. Children in our programs not only evolve their abilities on the soccer field but watch them grow in confidence both socially and athletically. Our experienced staff starts with making sure kids have fun as they continue to succeed. In the end, continued participation is key, be it in soccer or anything else in life. If your child is enjoying it, they will continue to play.
Our Core Values: Having Fun! Social Skills, Self-Confidence/Self-Esteem, Coordination, Risk-taking, Overcoming fear of failure, Fitness, Vision-spatial awareness.
At the core of Crab Kickers is fun! Fun nurtures a child’s inner growth while he/she begins to develop important skills not only in soccer but also in life. Each class is designed to improve your child’s physical health, nurture their confidence and self-esteem, develop their creativity and decision-making built specifically on a foundation of fun.
We currently have programs for the spring, summer and fall in 11 locations (1 Baltimore City, 1 Harford County, 1 in Salisbury and 8 in Baltimore County) and 3 locations for winter (Baltimore County and Harford County). We are hoping to add more Baltimore City and Harford County locations.
- Mommy and Me program is $90 for 8 weeks
- 3-4 yr old program is $90 for 8 weeks
- 5-6 yr olds is $105 for 8 weeks
- 7-9 yr olds is $125 for 8 weeks
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.crabkickers.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crabkickers
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ5FtOVHs3FjkXx7LgcRZdA/featured