Soccer is a great sport for your kids to play. If you’re on the fence about whether you should sign your children up for the local soccer league, hopefully, the reasons below might convince you to do so.
These are 15 reasons your kid should play soccer (aka football).
1. Improves cardiovascular health.
Soccer involves a lot of running. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Professional soccer players run an average of 7 miles during a 90-minute match.
While kids aren’t going to run anywhere near that much in a typical game, the substantial amount of running kids do during soccer games and practices definitely have a positive impact on their cardiovascular health.
In addition to improved heart health, forming a running habit will also benefit kids far into the future. It will keep them happier, enabling them to live longer.
2. Improves coordination.
Playing soccer requires a lot of coordination. At any given time during a soccer game, you might have to do all of the following things simultaneously:
- Remain upright
- Dribble a ball
- Run at a full sprint
- Look around for teammates to pass to
- Look around for opponents to avoid
- Remain control of the ball while opponents attempt to take possession
Even the most uncoordinated child will see a marked improvement in their coordination skills if they play soccer.
3. Teaches teamwork skills.
Learning how to successfully operate within a team is one of the most essential life skills a kid can learn. When they grow up, their ability to be good team players will play a significant role in their employability. Playing soccer provides a valuable foundation for these teamwork skills.
To be adequately prepared for adulthood, kids will also need to learn how to be team players while someone else tells them what to do. The coach of the soccer team fills this role.
So, while playing soccer and having a job have some key differences, the organizational structure and teamwork skills necessary for success are basically the same.
4. It’s a relatively safe contact sport.
Compared to particularly violent contact sports like football and hockey, soccer is quite safe. While collisions between players are possible, the rules of the sport expressly forbid them, which means most players will avoid hitting each other at all costs.
Although it’s relatively safe, you need to remember that soccer is still a contact sport. Injuries are rare, but they are possible, and they do happen. The lack of padding in soccer can actually make certain situations more dangerous than in other sports.
That being said, soccer is still a relatively safe option for kids who want to play a team-based outdoor sport.
5. Teaches perseverance.
You can’t complete a season of soccer without learning something about perseverance. This is especially true of kids who have never played the sport before ‒ they start off knowing absolutely nothing about how to kick a ball, shoot a ball, pass a ball, or any of the other skills you need to know to play soccer.
By the end of the season, they’ll have learned all of this. And the primary reason they’ll have learned it is that they persevered through the struggle of not knowing how to do something and continuing on in it anyway.
Playing soccer forces kids to interact with tons of different people, including both others their own age and people older than them. This can be particularly beneficial for kids who are shy, as the team-based nature of the game makes sure they engage with others despite their shyness and discomfort.
7. Increases focus and attention.
Your mind needs to be “on” all the time when playing soccer. No matter which position you’re playing, the ball could come flying toward you at any moment. The social pressures of contributing to the team will help even the most flighty, inattentive kids to remain focused on the game.
8. Teaches kids about the international world.
Soccer is one of the only sports that is universally popular in every single country in the world. If your kid starts getting into soccer and learning about the top professional teams, they will inevitably also learn about the countries those teams play in. They might even pick up some information about the cultures in those countries, which will make them a more well-rounded and educated person.
9. It can get your kid a college scholarship.
Few parents are thinking much about college when their kids are young enough to have just started playing soccer. But the scholarship potential is definitely something to consider when deciding how your kid should spend their time.
It’s true that most kids who play soccer won’t become good enough to earn a college scholarship. But it’s a life-changing opportunity for the players who are good enough, so don’t write it off as an impossibility just yet.
10. Teaches how rewarding hard work can be.
Succeeding at soccer requires hard work ‒ and that hard work is often quite rewarding.
Winning soccer games is the first reward for their hard work that comes to mind, but there are other rewards that kids can enjoy too. The joy of comradery, a sense of accomplishment for completing a full game, and some tasty ice cream after a hard day’s work are all excellent examples.
11. It’s an excellent way for kids to make friends.
Developing social skills to help with the future challenges of adulthood is all well and good, but soccer provides another major socialization benefit ‒ it makes it easier for kids to make friends.
If you place your kid with a group of other kids the same age multiple times per week, they’re bound to find at least one other kid with similar interests. And when you add in the shared hardships difficult soccer practices and games offer, they’re even more likely to form a strong bond with some of their teammates.
12. Teaches kids about healthy competition.
Competition is everywhere in our society. There’s competition for the best grades in school, competition to go to the best colleges, competition to make the most money… the list goes on and on.
Naturally, there is also competition in soccer. However, soccer is a game with relatively minor consequences. It doesn’t really matter whether your kid’s team wins or loses. Either way, they get to go home, relax, and forget about the game.
Because soccer lacks real consequences, it’s a great way to teach kids about healthy competition. The low stakes make it easier to teach them that you can be competitive without getting overly emotional or upset.
13. Gets kids playing outside.
Convincing kids to play outside seems to be getting harder and harder as the years go on. As technology keeps advancing and video games get even more interesting, the wonders of the outdoor world seem to interest kids less than ever before.
Soccer offers a possible solution to this problem. Many kids who aren’t fond of playing outdoors actually look forward to soccer practice, as it gives them the chance to run around and play with their friends. They might also start to look forward to the dopamine that comes with exercise and socialization.
14. Gives you a chance to be a coach.
If your kids are on a local soccer team, you get the opportunity to step in and help coach them. Depending on your schedule and how you feel about taking responsibility for a bunch of other people’s kids, you might not be too interested in this gig. However, it’s still a benefit of your kids playing soccer that should be mentioned.
15. Improves the parent-child bond.
Soccer gives you the opportunity to support your child in an immediate and present way. Every soccer game they have is a chance for you to sit on the sidelines and cheer them on. The encouragement you offer them will not go unnoticed ‒ every time you congratulate a good play or applaud a goal-scoring attempt will bring you and your child closer together.