published Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Small Business: Soccer Shots introduces youngsters to the game early

Leslie Bennett is owner and director of Soccer Shot Greater Chattanooga. Bennett teaches soccer to ages 2 through 8.
Leslie Bennett is owner and director of Soccer Shot Greater Chattanooga. Bennett teaches soccer to ages 2 through 8.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Name: Soccer Shots of Greater Chattanooga

Owner: Leslie Bennett

Opened: March 2013

Service: The Soccer Shots franchise offers introductory soccer programs for kids ages 2 through 8.

Prices: A nine-week season costs about $99 per child, but prices vary.

Staff: Four

Initial investment: $12,500

How it got started: Bennett grew up on the coast of Mississippi, but she and her family lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Bennett ended up in Cleveland, Tenn., a year later. She switched careers — from working in a church to being the athletic director at Tennessee Christian Preparatory School — and decided to settle in Cleveland long term. She recently resigned as the school's athletic director to become a Soccer Shots franchisee and plans to spend the summer season visiting preschools and hosting soccer clinics.

"A lot of parents at this age want their children to be active," Bennett said. "But we're leery about giving away our Saturday mornings and we wonder, are they going to get hurt? Soccer Shots finds the best of both worlds. We're in the preschool where kids already are, so parents don't have to give up another hour of their day. And it's a skill-based program, not a competition-based program."

Website: soccershots.org/chattanooga

Phone number: 423-333-5815

— Compiled by Shelly Bradbury, who may be reached at 757-6525 or at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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