By Eric Heinz
Joe Briganti, inventor of The Sockit, wants to grow the sport of soccer, but he also wants to help children who are struggling with more than their kicking skills.
The Sockit is a product that children, intended for ages 5 to 12, strap around their feet to teach them to kick a soccer ball with the top part of their foot, rather than punching at it with their toes.
When children kick the ball successfully, the product lights up briefly.
“We need to have soccer as soccer,” Briganti said. “I’m in my 40s and didn’t have soccer growing up on the East Coast. My two daughters are both playing, and when they were younger, they did the toe kick. Every practice the coach would gather them around and explain to them. But they eventually went back to the toe kick.”
Briganti said he went to various stores to find a kicking aid for his children, but nothing seemed to fit what he sought. Eventually he started trying to develop The Sockit, and recently his patent for the design was accepted.
His product is lightweight and lasts for about 8,000 kicks, about the life of the product’s battery.
But this isn’t a money-maker for Briganti, he said. This is something to not only help train children, but he said he donates a portion of the revenue from the product to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. His goal is to raise at least $50,000 for the hospital.
He said he wants each patient upon release to receive a Sockit.
So far, Briganti estimates they’ve sold about 2,000 units. He said he’s also been contacted by directors from the show Shark Tank to try to convince millionaires and billionaires who participate in the show to invest in his product.
“We’re just now going into retail, and it’s been a great experience for my kids, and my kids love it,” Briganti said. “If you think about any country in the world, each has some kind of youth soccer, and we hope to be part of it.”