Blaine couple brings ‘Kick Like a Girl’ to USA CUP

A Blaine couple is ready to show what it means to  “Kick Like A Girl.”

Anyone affiliated with youth soccer in the Blaine community has crossed paths with Tommy  and Jean Soehn or one of the couple’s four children either at the National Sports Center or other soccer complexes.

Kick Like a Girl is a way to display achievements on and off the field. Different from a tournament trophy, Kick Like a Girl uses a magnetic wrist band to display charms called pentas for 30 different achievements including team dedication, fair play and most valuable player.

The Kick Like a Girl band system offers more than 30 personality and award pentas in the shape of a pentagon, a panel on a soccer ball.  Submitted photo

The Kick Like a Girl band system offers more than 30 personality and award pentas in the shape of a pentagon, a panel on a soccer ball. Submitted photo

“We wanted to have something fun and interactive for the kids,” Tommy said. “So many things take kids away from talking to each other but this is about teaching lessons and incentivizing them.”

They focused on personality pentas first, like the Kick Like a Girl logo, United States Flag and United We Stand in support of the US men’s national team at the World Cup. Jean hopes that passion continues through the USA CUP affiliation.

Other pentas include: Goal, I heart soccer, I play soccer and will debut 16 more pentas at USA CUP including an official tournament-logo penta and Blaine Soccer Club.

The company offers a coaches pack where they can hand out awards after a game or practice for things like best communicator, listener or other notable achievements.

“A couple other clubs have asked us to develop one for them and right now the sky is really the limit,” Jean said about the response from teams leading up to the largest youth soccer tournament in the western hemisphere.

Background

Tommy has been a part of professional soccer in America for more than 20 years, including time in Major League Soccer, playing alongside Minnesota United FC manager Manny Lagos with the Chicago Fire.

The Kick Like a Girl band system offers more than 30 personality and award pentas in the shape of a pentagon, a panel on a soccer ball.  Submitted photo

The Kick Like a Girl band system offers more than 30 personality and award pentas in the shape of a pentagon, a panel on a soccer ball. Submitted photo

Tommy has had a long career with Major League Soccer as a player, assistant coach, head coach and front office executive with Chicago, D.C. United and Vancouver and is now with New England Revolution. He was released as manager in Vancouver in 2012, which helped the family move to Blaine to be closer to family.

He’s coached at several levels including a position with the Schwan’s USA CUP before returning to MLS with the Revolution for the current season.

Jean grew up in Roseville, graduating from Roseville Area High School and will return to the 30th USA CUP as a vendor after playing in the first-ever cup as part of the North Suburban Soccer Association’s U16 team as a 14-year-old.

Jean came up with the idea while the family lived in British Columbia.

“I wasn’t working at the time and it hit me after that the kids were getting medals (from soccer tournaments) but they immediately went on the floor of the Suburban,” she said. “It got me thinking there’s gotta be a way to do this better.

“I’d like the kids to understand these are awards they earn and are proud to display them.”

As for a launch at USA CUP, Jean said the tournament holds a spot in her heart and offers them a huge audience that made the decision to roll out the concept in Blaine.

“We have the tools in place now and the chance to reach 10,000-plus people is a no-brainer for us,” Jean said, after taking the concept to three other tournaments so far with another scheduled for later this summer in Maryland.

The Soehns are working on a partnership with a member of the US women’s national team and hope to be part of MLS before the 2015 season.

Kick Like a Girl

Like with any good idea, the Soehns have gone through an extensive process to get to the point where they are selling what they describe as a wearable trophy case. “Being an entrepreneur is so exhilarating, exhausting scary and fun at the same time,” Jean said. The biggest challenge for the couple right now is balancing the time between developing a company and raising four children with Tommy’s commitments to the New England Revolution.

“All of the challenges we’ve faces have been positive and forced us to be creative,” Jean said. “It makes you resilient and finally happy with the challenges with some stumbles along the way, but the learning has been great.”

They found the instant gratification that goes along with the pentas and bracelet shows them how this is more than just a business.

“We’re trying to create a positive culture where they can really own what they earn,” Tommy said.

Jean added: “I want them to learn how to earn it, then wear it and not just stick it up in their bedroom with other trophies.”

Check out Kick Like a Girl at kicklikeagirl.com.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

up arrow