Trebol Soccer Club


The benefits of the Amigos Recess-Based Soccer Program are many: it impacts physical fitness and wellness, students’ academic potential, and even classroom behavior. Read on if you need more motivation! 

Physical Benefits

Participants of Trebol Soccer Club’s Amigos Program showed increased physical fitness after one 7 week session of soccer. Based on PACER pre- and post-scores, 4th grade student participants were able to run more laps after completing the program. (JVA 2011)

Soccer training for 2 to 3 hours per week causes significant cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal adaptations, independent on gender, age, or lack of experience with soccer. (Krustrup, P., Dvorack, J., Junge A. and Bangsbo, J. (2010))

Soccer offers one of the best ways, if not the best way, for a child to get in top physical shape through participation in a youth sport. The mix of sprinting with endurance running develops long and short muscle fibers and also aerobic as well as anaerobic capabilities. (US National Soccer Team Players Association, 2013)

Researchers say that soccer can be used to actively fight obesity. When comparing two groups of exercisers, one of joggers, the other a group playing soccer for the same period of time each week, researchers found that after a 12 week study, the soccer players had lost fat and gained muscle mass, whereas the joggers had lost less fat and showed no change in muscle mass. Researchers concluded that this is due to the many high-intensity actions undertaken when playing soccer, including sprinting, jumping, and walking, and that the nature of that movement of the game caused the players to experience better health improvements. (Krustrup, P., Dvorack, J., Junge A. and Bangsbo, J. (2010))

Academic Benefits

A large and growing body of research tells us that physical activity increases brain development, memory, focus and attention, attendance, and leads to improved behavior. By getting students to move before a challenging piece during the school day, we see heightened focus and retention. A German study found that people learn vocabulary words 20 percent faster after doing exercise than before doing exercise. (Ratey 2008)

In a California study, physically fit children scored twice as well as unfit peers on academic tests. (Ratey 2008)

Physical movement increases production of neurotrophins and neurotransmitter levels. (Rosenbaum 2001)

Trebol trainers provided additional adult supervision during recess, and noted that, based on feedback from teachers, students were more focused when they returned to class. (JVA 2012)

Behavior Impact/Life Skills

Trebol Soccer Club's Recess-Based Soccer Program resulted in improved behavior during recess. Interview respondents observed less fighting and fewer behavior referrals among students at recess. They also observed more inclusive activities and play. (JVA 2011)

While playing soccer with Trebol trainers, students were learning how to resolve conflicts, self-organize and reflect on behavior, all of which are positive life skills. (JVA 2011)

The Amigos Program participants demonstrated learning how to resolve conflict – without appealing to an adult or resorting to physical or emotional violence. (JVA 2011)

Players demonstrated the ability to organize teams and how to establish and follow the rules, as well as take pride in achievement and in positive accomplishments. Players were able to reflect on their behavior – how to engage in self-reflection and use this to inform their behavior. (JVA 2011)

There was significantly less bullying and exclusionary behavior during recess at schools where there is organized recess than at schools without it. (Stanford University 2012)

In Australia, 5th grade students in a fitness program were significantly better behaved in the classroom. (Dwyer 1996)

Welsh youth aged 5 - 12 years exposed to 10 - 15 minute sessions of movement during class time exhibited better classroom behavior. (Lowden 2001)

In Kansas, expanding gym class from once a week to every day coincided with a drop of 95 violent incidents from the previous year’s 228. (Ratey 2008)


Krustrup, P., Dvorack, J., Junge A. and Bangsbo, J. (2010), Executive summary: The health and fitness benefits of regular participation in small-sided football games.  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20: 132-135

US National Soccer Players Association

Dwyer T. Blizzard L. Dean K. Physical activity and performance in children.  Nutrition Reviews 1996;54

JVA Consulting, LLC Evaluation of the Trebol Soccer Club School-Based Recess Program 2011

Ratey JJ, Hagerman E. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain.  New York: Little, Brown

Rosenbaum DA, Carlson RA, Gilmore RO. Acquisition of intellectual and perceptual motor skills.  Annual Review of Psychology 2001

Mathematica Policy Research and the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University evaluation of Playworks organized recess (2012)

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