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About Joy of the People






Joy of the People is a 501 (c)(3) that promotes the idea of soccer free play as a way to build healthy kids and communities.  In 2009, JOTP partnered with the City of St. Paul to provide programming at South St. Anthony Rec center where we created an inviting environment of play.  In 2012, we provided more than 1,200 hours of safe monitored Free Play soccer  for kids of all ages at no cost. At JOTP, we believe that soccer should be inclusive, fun, creative, and cooperative long before it becomes competitive, growing their love of the game, discovering the Joy of play, Joy of friendship, Joy of creativity, and the Joy of the people.

Change the world

Our vision is to create a better, simpler way of enjoying soccer, building life skills, a healthy, lifelong love of the game.  By focusing on a better environment and thus a better delivery system, we will create the next generation of skillful players.  By focusing on quality hours close to home rather than travel kids will play more  Improving the soccer experience for the recreational player as well as the elite athletes. 

JOTP will serve as an advocate-ambassador, teaching players, parents, officials, coaches and youth associations by example, how to make soccer less structured and more fun while helping build the base of the pyramid. This method will increase the number of kids playing and increase their skill level at the same time. JOTP will be widely recognized as a leader and an innovator, providing a place where players and leaders share a common vision of what is really important for our youth playing soccer and other sports.

Already you can see the results,  with several kids putting in up to sometimes 3-4 hours in a session, logging many many hours of productive free play.  JOTP offers a safe, secure, monitored enviroment with code of conduct and core values.  It's really simple: kids that play more will enjoy it more, learn social and leadership skills, and have a better chance of reaching their potential.  JOTP offers measured programs and free play for all levels and ages.  Joy of the People is changing the way we think about youth sports.  Sign up for our newsletter and join the movement today.


What is Joy of the People? It is a facility, a movement, an idea, a passion, a way of life.


Alegria do povo


“Alegria do povo,” Portuguese for “Joy of the people,” is the Brazilian expression for soccer at it’s best: played by everyone, played with skill, and played with joy.  At JOTP we believe that soccer should be inclusive, fun, creative, and cooperative long before it becomes competitive. Through the patient building of skills kids are allowed to accept and expand on each challenge, growing their love of the game, discovering the joy of play, joy of friendship, joy of creativity, and the joy of the people.



The Mission of Joy of the People is:
  • To support the idea of play as important part of a child’s development;
  • To build small soccer spaces for kids to play;
  • To serve disadvantaged youth; and
  • to build community spirit.


Ted Kroeten, JOTP Founder/Artistic Director


Lifelong friends


Started by lifelong friends in soccer, Joy of the People was put together under the idea that soccer is a game of life long skill mastery.  The idea is that the best players have always developed by playing a lot, with and amongst friends. Travel soccer is not the best way to develop, much less have fun, learn, and enjoy the game for life.


Because time is everything, clubs and travel and limited dome and field time cut into the players development.  Coaches work on team problems, little is attention is provided to the individual.


 Simple idea


The idea is a simpler, idea that players can come to one location for all they need: A ground zero of play, where the very best in skill development meets the excitement and energy of free play.


"What I notice particularly is that policy-makers in football are never really concerned about individuals, all they're interested in is the team as a whole. Yet a team consists of eleven individuals who each need attention. I often wonder if we're making the most of the qualities players have to offer."

                               --Johann Cruyff   


Joy of the People promotes the idea of soccer close to home, soccer for everyone. The JOTP's primary goal is for participants to exercise and have fun. JOP focuses on two goals: Programming and the building of soccer spaces: Mini courts, futsal courts, basketball and tennis court conversions to promote the participation in unstructured free play.




JOTP is about two simple, back to the future ideas:

   1. Lots of free play
   2. Individually based skill development.


 1. Free Play


The Brazilian model of player development dictates to "Change the ball, change the surface."  Thus JOTP will incorporate more ways to play soccer than you can imagine.  From sand to street to Futsal to FDS futsal, to soccer tennis, to soccer volley (think soccer tennis on sand).   The JOTP soccer and Futsal center will set aside 1000 hours of indoor and outdoor space-time dedicated to free play.   Just as important is the leadership, social, emotional and creative skills that develop on the playground and will become a core-teaching element of JOTP.


2. Skills development


JOTP recognizes that free play is merely a part of the picture.  Deliberate practice, the inherently "not fun," part of training will be dosed in correctly with players receiving assessments and given fun assignments to address weaknesses.


"Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder."
— Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers)


Better, healthier players


More and better skilled players will emerge from this model as players and parents are asked less and players are empowered to go after their dreams.


Come join the movement.


Mission: Develop the next generation of soccer players through an individually centered curriculum focused on deliberate practice, free play, creative expression, and the whole person.


Vision: Become the national model for developmental soccer.



The powerful cultural  idea that only elite youth sports programs produce top level players is simply not true.  Studies have shown that high level performers have one thing in common: the accumulation of deliberate practice, the more the better.  The most skillful soccer comes from love, time with friends, and hours and hours on the free play courts, opportunities to make and learn from mistakes, and the joy of play.


"It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.”"
— Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers)


Joy of the People is changing that "accumulative advantage."  It's  a back to the future movement to simpler, better soccer: street play, play with friends, unstructured time. For many years this has been the standard for producing the happiest, most skilled players.

JOTP 101

Why and How we do what we do.  Check out this PDF on JOTP's comprehensive methodolgy.


Learn from the best from the start
Proven experience developing players at the grassroots level.

Founder/Artistic Director  Ted Kroeten--Ted is Architect of some of the most innovative and successful youth training programs. Inovations include  the introduction of Futsal as a youth training tool, club wide comprehensive performance training, and individualized skill assessment and tracking programs. Ted is nationally recognized for his developmental soccer philosophy and method. His programs have developed hundreds of skillful, imaginative players with the philosophy of building the love of the game from the inside out. Ted is an "A" licensed coach with the highest coaching certificates from the US and Brazil.

"Youth soccer development is an individual sport"     --Marcello Lippi

Individual Development. Our coaches have been developing youth for almost 30 years.  From U5 to U19, we have always strongly emphasized  individual development through skills, cutting edge training, and holistic attention to the person.

All players can improve and have fun doing it.   Each program is fun, fast paced, productive, and individually based.

A balanced approach.  Kids today compete too much and don't play and practice enough.  They get good at what is needed in competition: aggressiveness, power, result orientation.  But to  fully develop young athletes require a balanced approach of the correct master coaching, current technique, competition, and free play.  We focus on master coaching, free play and technical skills.

Content and confidence.  The most current, correct content is taught and practiced correctly.  Then players are encouraged to expand and experiment to build creativity and confidence.  

Transference.  simple repitition is not enough.  Many players appear to have skills during practice but cannot always transfer these skills into the competitive enviroment.  Through our well thought-out training  schedules progressing from blocked and constant practice to random and variable practice, our sessions target adaptability from skill aquisition to skill expression in the game.

With skills players can express themselves in the game and start solving individual and small group problems.  The joy of the game begins to open up for them.

 A player with these skills will be successful on any team.  Unfortunately, most of any teams practice time is dedicated to team concepts and game fixing problems such as building out of the back or shadow play.  While these concepts are important, if the athletes do not possess the skills to execute these plays, there is little sense in putting all of the players' time into practicing these systems.

 We train young athletes how to use their mind, body and the ball to express themselves. see our program page to see what we offer for your athlete.

Planning for long term player success!


"We worked on three things only: skills, skills and skills."
--Gerard Houlier, on the success of the famed

Clairefountaine French Youth Academy

The best in Futsal and technical training coming soon! Take advantage of experienced, energetic coaching, in Futsal and Futebol de salao (brazilan form of futsal with an even smaller ball), technical and skil development--right in St. Paul! 

  • Cutting edge skill-based technical training--led by Ted Kroeten Bfut, USSF, NSCAA
  • Long term player development plan, clear milestones, objectives and philosophy to back it up
  • Futsal leagues
  • Futebol de salao
  • After school pick up and skills
  • Hours and hours of play!
  • Custumized individual and small group training, continual and never ending improvement. 

Futsal leagues, technical programs, Futebol de Salao,  testing and assessment, free play and pick up, and so much more.

Click on the age group link to the right for a program that's right for you.





Andrei Gotsmanov


Phone: 651 214-7017

Ted Kroeten

Artistic Director

Phone: 9522151861