The Benefits of Soccer: 10 Reasons Why Soccer Is Great for Young Kids
At Fold-A-Goal we sell high quality, lightweight, long-lasting soccer goals, and everything else you need for soccer. Everything money can buy, that is. There are some benefits of soccer that money can’t buy. Today, that's what we're looking at. Join us for our top 10 reasons why soccer is great for young kids!
10 Benefits of Playing Soccer
1. Soccer Is a Great Way to Make Friends
One of the greatest benefits of soccer is that it provides an "occasion" for kids to come together. And, when you get kids together, friendship happens!
Believe it or not, many kids struggle with making friends. This has always been true. Many kids just need a little extra help to engage with others. Some are shy or socially awkward. Some suffer from social anxiety, separation issues, or agoraphobia. Some kids can make friends, but they have trouble keeping those friendships because they don't have a good idea of what maintaining a friendship looks like.
One of the top benefits of playing soccer is that it gently forces teammates to interact with each other, over and over again. This structured environment, where the same kids have regular get-togethers and regularly interact with each other, is perfect for helping kids overcome the obstacles to making new friends.
And what if your kid doesn't have trouble making new friends? The friendship benefit of soccer applies to them too! And teammates make for some of the strongest friendships. When a couple of friends stick around after the game to help the grownups take down the portable goals and nets, they're sharing a bonding moment that won't soon be forgotten.
2. Soccer Builds Trust & Communication on the Field
Cooperative team sports like soccer, where the team is out on the field all at once, working together, are great for teaching personal skills like trust and communication. Sports are a form of play, and humans play because it gives us the opportunity to learn and practice essential life skills that will help us survive and fit into society. That's right! One of the key benefits of soccer is that it's practice for real life.
On the soccer field, if you don't trust your teammates, and don't communicate with them, your team will lose the game. Even if we say the score isn't important, the fact is that human beings don't like to lose. Especially kids! The experience of playing on a well-performing, victorious team creates an incentive for kids to work together and develop these vital interpersonal skills. One of the benefits of soccer is that it teaches kids to know when to let go of the proverbial ball and give it to someone else.
3. It Builds Skills Off the Field, Too
Off the field, there are important benefits of playing soccer as well. Being on time for practices, sharing locker room resources, helping teammates with their gear. Performing these tasks aren't as glorious as winning a game, but they're the vital glue of what holds a team together. And, someday, when these kids grow up, those skills will be essential.
4. An Athlete's Responsibilities Helps Them Learn How to Maintain Relationships
As you can see, there are so many benefits of playing soccer that revolve around building character! Again, sports are play, and play is practice for real life. We'll get to the fitness benefits of soccer soon, but we really love the character-building aspects too.
It's important to a child's development to give them increasing responsibilities as they get older. When done properly, this forces kids to make decisions and then be held accountable for their decisions.
We've already talked about specific responsibilities like sharing resources, being on-time, setting up for games, and helping with the takedown. But there's another, more general kind of responsibility: maintaining relationships.
In a sense, the specific responsibilities don't really matter. What it's really all about is that the responsibilities in our lives are how we maintain our belonging in society and our relationships with other people.
One of the benefits of soccer is that it teaches this in a really elegant way. That's why so many kids look up to their coaches for their "life wisdom", even though a lot of it really just boils down to simple things such as "If your jersey isn't clean, you're not respecting the people who have to smell you".
5. Soccer Teaches Independence
All right, so we know this one hits some parents hard. Many parents and children alike have separation issues that make it hard for the kids to get out from under their parents' wings and start living their own life.
Even so, it's critically important for a child's healthy lifelong development that you begin teaching them independence from a young age. One of the benefits of soccer is that it helps this process along.
In one sense, soccer teaches independence simply because, when your kid is at practice or on the field, they're not under your direct supervision. Sure, they're under their coach's supervision instead, but it's a start. Even if you're physically present, watching from the bleachers, it's different when you're not the one telling them what to do.
In another sense, the benefit of soccer is that it teaches independence as part of those responsibilities we've talked about. When a kid sees that one of the soccer balls isn't properly inflated, the day will come when he or she realizes that they should just inflate it themselves rather than asking an adult what to do. That's the beginning of a long and beautiful road to self-determination and personal excellence.
6. Soccer Gives Kids an Alternate Support Structure
Another of the many benefits of soccer: it's a support structure!
Kids, like adults, need multiple support structures. They need their parents or guardians. They need their teachers. But they also need a support structure that feels to them like their own, like it's something they control. That's because parents and teachers, as authority figures, are often the source of frustration for a kid. (Never take it personally when your kid vents about you! That's just a healthy part of growing up.)
Soccer is perfect for providing an alternative support structure. One of the benefits of playing soccer is that it creates peer support as well as adult friendships with the coach and other parents. These supporting people aren't subject to the direct supervision of a kid's parents and teachers. That makes a kid's soccer team, and its miniature community, the perfect place for a kid to vent.
The younger in life kids begin building this kind of a support structure, the better. A team sport like soccer is a great setting for it to take root in.
7. Soccer Builds Fitness
We got there! Fitness! You saw this one coming. Building fitness is probably among the most recognizable benefits of soccer. Kids nowadays don't have the opportunity to spend as much time adventuring outdoors as kids in the past often did. That makes it especially important for them to get outside and get some exercise in.
Building fitness has its own rewards. Fitness can boost health and improve confidence. Most importantly of all, though, building fitness teaches a child to be more in tune with their own body. At the end of the day, health is not something that's going to last forever. But being in tune with your own body, and listening to what it has to say, really is a skill that lasts a lifetime.
Here's where the benefits of playing soccer when you're young really shine. The younger children learn how to do this, the better off they will be, especially if you get them started in soccer before the changes of puberty begin to occur, since these changes often bring self-doubt, body image issues, and eating disorders.
8. Soccer Proves That Building Fitness Doesn't Have to Be Boring
If fitness and exercise are a chore, most people aren't going to stick with it. For most people, exercise only happens as part of their job, or because there's some other reason to do it.
One of the best benefits of soccer is that it creates the perfect excuse for kids to get some exercise!
9. Young Minds Are Easier to Shape
At Fold-A-Goal, you won't be surprised that we think soccer is a wonderful sport and hobby, for all the reasons we've listed here today, and many more.
There's no better time to introduce kids to the benefits of soccer than when they're young. Young minds are easier to shape. Want to build those fitness habits? Start young. Want to help your kids socialize better? Start young. Teaching responsibility? Building support structures? Giving kids independence? Start young.
That's the real lesson, here. The lessons that soccer can teach a child will last a lifetime, and these early years of childhood are some of the most important of all because these are the years that really set a kid's expectations and style.
10. It's Fun!
Here's the most important of all the benefits of soccer, and the reason why kids play it in the first place: soccer is fun.
Even if you're just setting up a few corner flags in the back yard for your kid and a couple of their friends to come to play with, it's a start. We think every kid should have the chance to at least try soccer out, and see what they think about it! If they take to it, find them a soccer team.
It's a great way to spend those hazy afternoons of youth that will never come again.