The sport of soccer continues to grow in the US as evidenced by the increasing number of kids getting involved in the game and the attendance numbers at MLS soccer games throughout the country. This is a good thing because it provides a great opportunity for all kids, no matter how tall, short, skinny, plump, shy, smart, or whatever, to gain the benefits of being part of a team where anyone can be a super star on any given day.
All sports provide physical and other benefits for those involved in them. But soccer offers much more to help youths develop, interact with others, and just plain enjoy themselves, something kids should do, after all.
One of the greatest things about soccer is that any kid can kick a soccer ball and learn to do it well within a short period of time. There are no special talents required. If a boy or girl can run, he or she can do so with a soccer ball at his or her feet. Any kid can gain basic skills in dribbling, passing, and shooting a soccer ball with minimal time and effort expended. This means that any child that wants to play soccer can do so and be at a level of most of the players on the field.
Kids don’t need to be 7 foot tall leaping gazelles or refrigerator-sized brutes or multi-talented athletes to play on a soccer team and perform at least as well as most of the teammates. Soccer is a pure team sport. No one player, no matter how talented, can win a game on his or her own. Winning a soccer game requires the participation of every one of his teammates out on the pitch. This allows every kid on the team to touch the ball often and contribute to making plays, no matter what his or her skill level is.
This really helps build a child’s self-esteem, which can be seen in the confidence displayed on the field. Something as simple as a good pass or stopping the ball from getting to an opponent can make a kid feel good about him or herself and that makes them perform even better. And they have lots of chances to do this. One good play washes away any and all misses.
I have seen timid boys and girls blossom into assertive soccer players in just a few weeks. All because they got to touch the ball and contribute to the team. And when they win, every kid feels part of that win. And when they lose, they feel proud of having played as well as they could and look forward to the next game when it starts all over. Every kid knows that in the next game he or she will be right out there in the middle of things helping her team win and maybe even score the winning goal or make a winning save.
There is also something about the parents at soccer games. Only the sport of soccer has a “Mom”, a Soccer Mom. These wonderful ladies, who shuttle their kids back and forth to soccer games every weekend, are the soul of youth soccer in America. Soccer moms have played a big part in the popularity of youth soccer and their involvement in the sport has helped many a youngster enjoy being part of a team.
There are many resources on the web about other benefits of youth soccer including physical conditioning and injury prevention. One of my favorite soccer websites is http://www.SoccerCountry.com where you will also find all kinds of stuff about soccer, like soccer news, stats, and soccer game schedules.
In addition to those highlighted in this article, soccer provides other benefits for youngsters. Think about all that running and stopping and turning. Great for the lungs, muscles, and the mind. And there are so many more.
If your child is not playing soccer, what are you waiting for? It’s going to be the number one sport in the US eventually, just like it is in every other country in the world. Get your son and daughter out on the soccer field as early as possible. It keeps them out of trouble, builds their confidence, keeps them healthy, and helps them grow the right way. I know. I raised four soccer kids that started playing at five years of age and I saw the development provided by soccer through their teen years as the coach of their soccer teams. High Performance Football Socks