Soccer’s Shining Stars: World Cup Mania aside, what this growing sport can do for your kids

(By Suzi Mitchell) Soccer may have been around for centuries, but here in the US it’s a relatively new phenomenon. And it’s getting more kids outside than ever before…

The game’s origins are unclear but it’s widely believed the first official match was played in 1863 on English soil before gathering global popularity becoming an Olympic sport in 1908. During this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, soccer’s 265 million registered players, 5 million referees and countless international sports fans were either glued to their televisions or at a game supporting their home teams.

The US versus Portugal drew the highest viewing figures ever on record for a game.

World Cup fever may have passed, but our parks are filled with future footie stars perfecting their own skills, and clubs are seeing a rise in enrollment. So what makes soccer the perfect pastime for our kiddoes?

Starting at the toddler level it is a great way to channel their energy and motivation for play into enhancing balance, motor skills, co-ordination and sharing.

Soccer requires agility, speed and stamina. Players need to keep on their toes and sprint throughout a game.

Players need to communicate in order to succeed therefore building excellent teamwork skills.

Soccer promotes a good self-image as it can attract less athletically inclined children. Unlike other sports such as baseball there is not the same level of attention drawn to each player as an individual. Again it relies on each person in the team to work together throughout.

Most soccer clubs offer a recreational or competitive league making soccer a fun game for everyone.

It requires very little equipment making it a relatively affordable option. Shin guards and soccer cleats, plus a size appropriate ball make up the basics. At the toddler level sneakers will suffice.

As a physical activity it can decrease the chances of a child becoming overweight or developing Type 2 diabetes.

For more information the following websites offer a host of information. At US Youth Soccer you will find information on local club directories, tournaments, their disability program, equipment, coaching and more. What are you waiting for?

Posted in: How To, News, Outreach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *