Parenting is not an easy job to do. The basic requirements already make it a difficult task, and it’s even harder when you have a child who wants to play sports.
With the number of children interested in soccer steadily on the rise, there’s a higher chance than ever that you’ll need to be a good soccer parent.
To help you accomplish that, here are several tips to guide you in helping your child achieve soccer success.
These are 14 pieces of advice on how to be a good soccer parent.
1. Believe in your child’s ambition.
The first rule is to believe in your child’s goals and use all available resources to make their dream a reality.
If a kid does not get the support of his parents, he’ll most likely lose his motivation and trust in himself – and his attempt to become a professional soccer player ends before it has even started.
2. Learn the rules.
Yeah, you might have to become a soccer geek. Although soccer is not popular in the United States – particularly not among the older generations – it’s never too late to learn something new.
Knowing the rules will help you guide your child both on and off the field. They will also appreciate that you took the time to help them in such a direct way.
3. Let them know that hard work counts.
If your child has decided to pursue soccer, they will have to do their absolute best to be successful. Training and hard work are the most basic principles for success in any sport in the world – and that includes soccer.
As Albert Einstein once said, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” Your job is to make your child understand that.
Of course, talent is always crucial in soccer, but if you do not develop it, you will never get far as a professional. Some people give their absolute best on the field – and those are the players who get to play on the highest level.
4. Send your child to summer soccer camps.
Summer camps are a common thing in soccer. If you choose the right one, they could make the whole career of your child. Many scouts from the biggest soccer clubs attend those summer camps, seeking for raw talent for their academies.
If your child catches the eye of these people, they will have the chance to train with the very best coaches and learn a lot from their experience in the game.
5. Do not stand in their way.
If your child catches the eye of a top soccer club, they will probably have to move out of town to train there. In the boys’ cases, it would mean they’ll have to go to Europe – where the best men’s soccer teams in the world are.
While it is never easy to get separated from your loved ones, you’ll have to accept it, as it’s the only way for them to develop into world-class soccer stars in the coming years.
6. Attend the games.
Attending the games is one of the most meaningful ways to show your support for your soccer child. Your presence will show them you genuinely care, and it will bolster their self-confidence in their abilities.
It won’t be possible to attend all of the games, but coming to as many as you can will still be appreciated. It will also give you the opportunity to give your child a pep talk before each game, which they will definitely appreciate.
7. Do not coach from the sidelines.
When you attend your child’s game, one of the things you want to avoid is the sideline coaching. Children tend to listen to what their parents say, and it could be completely different from the coach’s instructions.
Remember, soccer is a team game, and your kid has to adapt to his side’s tactics. If you give them the opposite instructions, you will make things worse for both your child and the whole team.
8. Respect the referee’s calls.
The referees are people, just like everyone else. They are prone to making mistakes, and they don’t hate your child’s team.
There may be calls you won’t like – some of them directly affecting the result of the game – but you don’t want to be the parent that is always screaming at the officials.
You won’t change anything by yelling at the ref, and your behavior won’t set a good example for your (or any other) child on the soccer field.
9. Do not argue with the coach.
The coach is the one who selects the players and sets the tactics. You may disagree with them, but you should never confront them in front of your child and their team.
You can always talk to the coach after the game and express your concerns regarding his approach. But you must solve these kinds of issues in private.
10. Do not argue with other parents.
Another thing you should avoid at your child’s soccer game is arguing with the other kids’ parents.
Each parent wants to protect their own child. However, arguing with the people around you – especially those who criticize him/her – will only embarrass them.
Seeing you arguing in the stands, could also distract them from the game – and that’s the last thing you want to do if you want your child to play at a high level.
11. Stay in your area.
It doesn’t matter if you are up at the stands or down at the sideline – you always have to stay in your area.
There are restricted parts of the soccer grounds where only officials and players are allowed to go. These include the playing field, the bench, and anywhere outside the stands if you’re at a bigger stadium.
You can be as passionate as you’d like in your seat, but you can’t run up and down the touchline encouraging your child to do better. Even the coaches, in most cases, are not allowed to do that. And don’t even think about rushing onto the field, because it is almost certain that you will get a fine and suspension.
The best thing you could do at a soccer game is to cheer for your child and his/her teammates. Give credit where it is due, encourage the kids to do better, and yell their names for additional motivation.
Just try not to be too braggy by only praising your child. Remember, there are ten other teammates on the field, also, trying their very best to succeed and win the game.
13. Push them when needed.
Kids can quickly lose motivation sometimes, and you need to be there to support them. A bad game, a coach’s criticism, or even their teammates could make kids lose trust in themselves. It’s your job as a parent to encourage them.
Sometimes you’ll also need to push and encourage them to play on another level, work harder, and improve as soccer players. Encourage them in a kind manner, and you will see them grow as players and enjoy the game more.
Just make sure you have your boundaries and avoid putting too much pressure on them. Kids don’t deal with pressure well, and it could cause them to be discouraged instead of encouraged.
14. Be patient.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and neither is a star athlete. Becoming a professional soccer player takes a lot of effort and time – but most of all, it requires patience.
Some players peak early, while others develop on pace with their maturity level. Some players make their breakthroughs a little bit later than expected – these are known in the soccer world as ‘late bloomers.’
Your child could be one of the late bloomers. That’s why you need to be patient. Their teammates from the youth leagues can break into the first team earlier, but it doesn’t mean they will develop into the players they are expected to be.
If you have patience and provide encouragement and support, your child may end up as the best one on the pitch. All it takes is time.