About Us

As the premier Children’s Soccer Experience, our mission is clear – we aim to positively impact children’s lives.

Local Information

Inspired by a passion for education, an interest in sports and a desire to be entrepreneurs, Rian and Alyssa Heim founded Soccer Shots Los Angeles in 2007. Ten years later, their small business has grown into an organization that positively impacts the lives of their team members and more than 15,000 children every year.
Over the years, they built a respected organization that positively impacts the lives of its team members, children and families. On a personal level, the Heims’ success has helped them achieve their primary goal of having freedom of time, which they spend on intentionally pursuing a progressive educational experience for their children that is customized to their needs.

Did You Know?
Rian has coached over 2,500 sessions
Alyssa has never coached a session, but has been an enthusiastic soccer mom for years
Their children (Charles & Amelia) have played more than fifteen seasons with Soccer Shots
Rian’s primary Voice is Creative (5 Voices) and Personality Type is INFP (Myers Briggs)
Alyssa’s primary Voice is Guardian (5 Voices) and Personality Type is ESTJ (Myers Briggs)
Prior to Soccer Shots Alyssa taught and mentored at-risk middle and high school students
Alyssa and Rian currently home school their children – their most rewarding career choices yet
Rian’s interests include: Reading Non-Fiction, Modern Design, Progressive Education, Strength Training
Alyssa earned degree in Business and Economics at USC
Rian earned a degree in Graphic Design

LEADERSHIP TEAM

alyssam-coachcardAlyssa McGarigal-Leitner, Executive Director

Alyssa moved to California from the East Coast, with a lifelong love for soccer and passion for working with children! For as long as she can remember, she has wanted to make a difference in the world. She also loves hiking, trying new foods, spending time with her daughter Riley, and cheering on the US Women’s Soccer Team and the LA Galaxy! 

Growing up in a military family, and moving several times, the soccer teams Alyssa joined became something to look forward to, and a positive experience in her life. She made friends on her team, and looked up to her coaches for encouragement and support. Alyssa feels strongly about the influence sports and positive role models can have on a child’s outlook on life. 

Alyssa has spent time as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, behavior therapist for children diagnosed with developmental disorders, and a school counseling intern at elementary, middle and high school levels. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in school counseling, Alyssa can’t imagine a better place to combine her passion for making a difference, and her love of the sport, than Soccer Shots.


Denise Sands, Administrative Director

Denise brings to Soccer Shots years of experience elevating business operations for service-based organizations. She is a results-oriented HR Manager with a deep knowledge of finance and administration. Denise earned both her Certification (with Distinction) in Human Resources Management and a BA in Theater Arts (magna cum laude) at UCLA.

The Soccer Shots Vision, Mission, Core Values and high educational standards are in perfect alignment with Denise’s personal values. She has embraced the Soccer Shots collaborative team culture and is excited to help build upon this positive experience.

Denise grew up in a sports–oriented family, passionately watching and playing football, basketball, baseball and soccer. Her father was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and later coached her fast-pitch traveling softball team. After the birth of her two children, Denise began playing league tennis and became a “Soccer Mom,” attending her children’s AYSO soccer matches while supporting and cheering from the sidelines.

Denise loves to exercise, travel, read, and take long walks near the beaches of her South Bay home. Denise has hiked Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs (instead of riding the tram to the top) and was a winning contestant on Wheel of Fortune.

DIRECTORS

Zach Benau, Program Manager

Born and raised in San Francisco, Zach was first introduced to sports at a very young age by his father. From as little as he could remember, the TV was always on a different game and he even got to attend many different sporting events growing up. His love for soccer first started when he was 7 years old when his dad surprised him with tickets to the 1994 World Cup at Stanford. Watching the stadium that day filled with passionate fans and amazing players, Zach knew this was the sport for him. 

Growing up on different sports teams brought so much joy to Zach’s life. The camaraderie and bonds he formed with his coaches and teammates have lasted a lifetime. 

Zach has spent over 10 years coaching and administering sports programs. What he thought was just going to be a summer job in college as a camp counselor has since turned into a career. Making a difference in children’s lives and becoming a role model has become a passion for Zach. He has coached everything from soccer to baseball and he can’t imagine a better place than Soccer Shots to combine his passion for sports and kids.



Lauren Varney, Director of Coaching

Lauren grew up in the small town of Oak Park, CA spending most of her childhood playing sports. Whether it was soccer, softball or basketball, Lauren always enjoyed competing and having fun on the field/court. Her weekends were spent playing games, going to practices and spending time with her family. As she got older, Lauren began to understand the importance of introducing children to sports at a young age. She realized sports not only teach children a specific skill set, but sports provide opportunities for children to grow in every aspect of life. Being a part of a team is something Lauren has cherished throughout her life. She has made it her mission to spread her passion and knowledge to as many children as possible.

Lauren played basketball at San Francisco State University, where she received her Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies. Within the past four years, Lauren has spent time as a personal trainer, sports coach, and behavior therapist. She loves working out at the gym, playing basketball, hanging with family, and traveling!

In January 2017, Lauren became a Registered Behavioral Technician. During the past 2 years, Lauren has worked with children on the autism spectrum, providing Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy. Lauren truly believes that positive behavior feedback and positive role models are HUGE when a child is developing at a young age. Lauren is excited to be able to combine her passion for sports and children with her knowledge of behavior to help transform the lives of the coaches and the children at Soccer Shots!

COORDINATORS

Jason Chung, Communication Coordinator

Born and raised in the South Bay, Jason has been an LA local all of his life. Because he is not the most “coordinated” person, he grew up swimming rather than participating in a sport involving a ball. In 2017, Jason graduated from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Since then, he worked part-time at the YMCA in the children’s after-school program before coming to work for us!
Overall, Jason has a passion for working with child-centered programs. Whether it was reading books to preschoolers, or coaching children in swim practice, he always made sure that what he was doing left a positive influence on the children he worked with. 

In his free time, Jason likes to explore and try new things. He’ll do anything once, before he rejects it the second time. His curiosity to grow and to keep moving forward is something that he hopes he can bring to Soccer Shots.


josec-coachcardJose Chavez, Program Scheduler

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Inglewood, Jose was introduced to soccer at a very young age. He grew up watching his father play (still does) and eventually began playing soccer himself early on. He has been playing soccer for years, played from elementary school all the way up until college (Los Angeles Harbor College). He continues to play soccer competitively. 

Jose graduated from Cal State, Dominguez Hills where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Sports, Entertainment, and Hospitality Management. With the desire to work in the sport industry and his passion for soccer, he found it fitting to start a career with Soccer Shots. He brings experience in various aspects of the business, and hopes to expand his knowledge and become a better leader as he navigates through his journey with Soccer Shots.

Employment

If you have a passion for positively impacting children, we’d love to talk to you.

Career Opportunities

The “Three C's” – Coaching, Communication and Curriculum

The foundation of Soccer Shots is our relentless commitment to providing best-in-class coaching, communication and curriculum.

The best coaches in the business

  1. Every Soccer Shots coach must complete our comprehensive training program to receive certification.
  2. All Soccer Shots coaches are trained in the use of developmentally appropriate techniques.
  3. Coaches are routinely evaluated and undergo ongoing training.
  4. Our coach selection process evaluates not only the ability to coach soccer, but also the ability to engage and inspire children.

An exceptional customer experience with ongoing communication

  1. You will receive a weekly summary of what your child is learning at Soccer Shots.
  2. We proactively communicate cancellations due to weather or other circumstances.
  3. Our staff understands the importance of timely, responsive communication.

Expert-approved curriculum that aligns with early childhood education standards

  1. Our developmentally appropriate curriculum places an emphasis on character development and skill building.
  2. Our program is created under the guidance of childhood education specialists, professional soccer players and experienced and licensed soccer coaches.
  3. We constantly re-evaluate and update our curriculum to stay current with childhood education standards.

 

SOCCER SHOTS LA: OUR STORY

Our Story serves as a legacy for how Rian and Alyssa imparted their DNA into Soccer Shots; the intentional transfer of their competence, their vision, their goals, their emotional and financial risks, and their expectations to those emerging leaders to whom are consciously being delegated authority and responsibility.
Inspired by a passion for education, an interest in sports and a desire to be entrepreneurs, Rian and Alyssa Heim founded Soccer Shots Los Angeles in 2007. Ten years later, their small business has grown into an organization that positively impacts the lives of their employees and more than 15,000 children every year.

The success of Soccer Shots LA can be traced back to the dedication and vision that Rian and Alyssa had back in 2007. Rian had always been vision-oriented and self-driven, having moved to Los Angeles at 19 with only a few hundred dollars to his name. He met Alyssa in 2001 and they were married three years later. Rian and Alyssa were hopeful that they could positively impact the lives of children while providing the flexibility and security of working for themselves. With the support of their franchising partners, a shared interest in education and perfectly complimentary personality types, they decided to start their own Soccer Shots franchise in the middle of 2007.

In the beginning, Rian and Alyssa worked day and night, confronting their fears of failure and working hard to build their business. Many times they faced moments in their professional partnership that impacted their personal partnership. But their rare ability to achieve relational harmony and business success as married partners helped them overcome every obstacle. In addition to much sweat and tears, they contributed multiple financial investments beyond the initial franchise purchase to help Soccer Shots LA become the best it could be. Over the years, they didn’t just achieve financial success. They built a respected organization that positively impacts the lives of its employees, children and families. On a personal level, the Heims’ success has helped them achieve their primary goal of having freedom of time, which they spend on intentionally pursuing a progressive educational experience for their children that is customized to their needs.

Every Leader Needs A Team
Soccer Shots LA would not be around today if not for the skills and approach that both Rian and Alyssa bring as partners. They built Soccer Shots LA from the ground up and dreamed of a bright future. However, after the birth of their son in 2010, they realized they couldn’t achieve these dreams on their own. They needed a team of equally passionate people to help Soccer Shots thrive. In 2013, they implemented a set of core values and began crafting an organizational structure to set them up for success. The next year they began to take steps to build the team they knew they needed. In 2015, they were exposed to GiANT Worldwide, a global leadership company that further helped them create a pathway for their own personal growth, as well as the growth of their team.

Putting People First
Rian and Alyssa have always felt strongly that investing in passionate, dedicated people and putting their needs first would help their business flourish. As owners and vision-casters, Rian and Alyssa want to impact their employees in a way that transforms their lives positively as leaders. They believe that being intentional about developing people and the culture is the best way to invest in future success. This concept of investing in people and their “softer skills” is not the traditional approach to business, but it is an approach that has set the Heims apart as business leaders and helped Soccer Shots LA succeed.
Rian and Alyssa have always felt the weight of responsibility for their employees, but they take this in stride. Today, they continue to fight for fair compensation, flexible schedules and a good work-life balance for all of their employees. Furthermore, they have a relentless commitment to creating value for their families and school partners, by providing them the best children’s soccer foundation possible. This dedication has helped Soccer Shots positively impact the lives of more than 15,000 children annually – including those in underserved communities. With an innovative leadership approach, impressive company growth and strong relationships within the Los Angeles community, the Heims have become role models in the Soccer Shots franchise community.

Always Visionaries 
Though no longer active in day-to-day business activities, Rian and Alyssa still have a heart for people and a vision for Soccer Shots LA. In fact, it is a constant topic of discussion in the Heim home and has become part of their family identity. Their visionary leadership is key to all future successes and, as 100 percent shareholders, they maintain ultimate control in all business dealings. To ensure the integrity of their vision, Soccer Shots LA chooses to align only with individuals who share the Heim family’s three core values: Be Respectful, Tell the Truth, and Grow & Learn. Rian and Alyssa have chosen to prioritize their family life and will not make any business decisions that could jeopardize the type of work-life balance they enjoy and encourage others to pursue. The Heims believe in autonomy and sustainability. Therefore, all company growth must be funded by existing company resources, without any additional shareholder investment or funding. Under Rian and Alyssa’s respected leadership, Soccer Shots LA will always remain in alignment with the expectations of Soccer Shots Franchising.

From small business to respected organization, Soccer Shots LA has come a long way – but its story isn’t over. With the Heims at the helm, Soccer Shots LA will continue to grow alongside its employees, children, families and school partners on its mission to positively impact children across Los Angeles.

Did You Know?
Rian has coached over 2,500 sessions
Alyssa has never coached a session, but has been an enthusiastic soccer mom for years
Their children (Charles & Amelia) have played more than fifteen seasons with Soccer Shots
Rian’s primary Voice is Creative (5 Voices) and Personality Type is INFP (Myers Briggs)
Alyssa’s primary Voice is Guardian (5 Voices) and Personality Type is ESTJ (Myers Briggs)
Prior to Soccer Shots, Alyssa taught and mentored at-risk middle and high school students
Alyssa and Rian currently homeschool their children – their most rewarding career choices yet
Rian’s interests include: Reading Non-Fiction, Modern Design, Progressive Education, Strength Training
Alyssa earned degree in Business and Economics at USC
Rian earned a degree in Graphic Design

The History of Soccer Shots

Our founding partners, Jeremy Sorzano and Jason Webb, were soccer teammates both in college and professionally. They formed Soccer Shots® in 1998 after recognizing a lack of quality soccer programs for children under age 8. They shared an entrepreneurial spirit, a deep love of soccer, and a passion to inspire children to live fit and healthy lives.

The success of Soccer Shots in Charlotte, NC and Harrisburg, PA, where Sorzano and Webb first launched their businesses, led to several of their friends and former teammates wanting to get involved. In 2005, Soccer Shots began franchising and opened its first four franchises in OH, DE, FL, and PA. The business opportunity began to attract more soccer entrepreneurs, and Soccer Shots has enjoyed growing around the country and into Canada.

In May of 2009, Justin Bredeman, another former college soccer teammate, became the third Soccer Shots partner. Justin brought with him eight years of experience from Auntie Anne’s, Inc., a pretzel franchising company, where he led a team that supported nearly 800 franchise units. His deep understanding of the franchise business model also comes from the knowledge gained from his five years of owning and running a Soccer Shots business of his own.

In August of 2009, the Soccer Shots partners founded the Soccer Shots Foundation, the non-profit arm of Soccer Shots. The Soccer Shots Foundation provides opportunities to economically challenged children within the U.S. and around the world through the game of soccer.

From its humble beginnings, Soccer Shots has grown beyond Jeremy and Jason’s biggest dreams, with over 180 territories across 37 states and Canada. In 2016, more than 335,000 children participated in Soccer Shots.

The business is consistently recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise in the U.S. And today, Soccer Shots is positioned as the best-in-class children’s soccer program with a focus on character development.

And while the accolades are appreciated, our mission remains focused – positively impacting children’s lives.

Soccer Shots Franchising, LLC is based in central Pennsylvania, just east of Harrisburg.

Stronger Youth. Beyond the Game.

We believe that soccer is a powerful vehicle for positively impacting youth. Through our partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we aim to impact children who live in underserved communities through quality soccer programs that support their physical and personal development.