Entrepreneur of the Year – Amy Schweizer, Tiny Troops Soccer

Tiny Troops Soccer
Amy Schweizer
Entrepreneur of the Year

          A Danville native who developed a program for children of U.S. military families stationed around the world says she is humbled by its success. Amy Schweizer says her Tiny Troops Soccer program grew out a desire to advance her interest in sports while moving with her Marine husband from base to base…

          {“I was kind of left to create something that I was passionate about, which was soccer. My career started there at Danville High School. I was on the first girls’ team there,” said Schweizer. “I was able to turn that passion and my experiences in the sports industry into an opportunity primarily for military kids across the country to be able to belong to a team no matter where they live throughout the country or overseas.”}

          Schweizer’s Tiny Troops Soccer program is based in Danville but now operates at about thirty-five locations near military installations across the United States and overseas. The program is one of this year’s Small Business of the Year Award winners selected by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at DACC.

          Schweizer says her program is a developmental soccer program for primarily ages two through five…

          {“I know some people think ‘how can you do soccer with two-year-olds? They don’t get it.’ – And that’s why we are a developmental program,” said Schweizer. “So we focus on laying the foundation so that when the kiddos get to the age of moving into recreational soccer – like with Danville Soccer Association – they’ve already had experience learning that ‘a soccer ball goes at my feet and not in my hands,’ and that ‘when the coach is talking I have to turn on those listening ears and listen.’ So we prepare them to move successfully into those programs.”}

          So how has the COVID pandemic affected the program this year?

          {“We were completely off the field mid-March through July. And then we have locations in fifteen different states, so the regulations from state to state, city to city, base to base, park to park, it’s different – and changing every day. So my teams have had to stay on top of that,” added Schweizer.}

          But Schweizer says the program has slowly bounced back using social distancing and other steps to keep the kids and families safe.

          The first annual Tiny Troops Virtual Run is planned later this fall, and Schweizer says anyone – including civilians – can participate….

          {“We’re partnering with a group called ‘Angels of America’s Fallen;. And that is a non-profit organization and their mission is to support the children of fallen service members and fallen first-responders. So they know it is important to keep those kids engaged in extra-curricular activities, not only for physical reasons but, of course, to help them emotionally and mentally as well,” added Schweizer.}

          Amy and her Marine husband have three sons. Her husband has been in the Marines for almost 19 years and is currently deployed for what Amy says is “the sixth or seventh time.”

          If you would like to learn more about the Tiny Troops Soccer program or the upcoming virtual run visit www.tinytroopssoccer.com.

          She says she appreciates all of the support her program has received from citizens in the Danville area and from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Danville Area Community College.