More than one and a half million children participate in soccer, and over 220,000 adolescents are on soccer teams. The game has surged in popularity since the 1970's, and is now the second most popular youth sport in the country behind baseball. Soccer's benefits for your son or daughter can be tremendous.
Soccer builds healthy kids
From a physical standpoint, soccer offers one of the best ways, if not the best way, for a child to get in top physical shape through participation in a youth sport. The average soccer player runs approximately seven miles throughout the course of the game; the mix of sprinting with endurance running develops long and short muscle fibers and also aerobic as well as anaerobic capabilities. Playing soccer improves flexibility, cardiovascular capability, body composition (lowering the percentage of body fat while increasing muscle mass) and does not jar the body in the way that basketball or baseball can do.
Body type isn't as important
Soccer grows self confidence
In addition to these physical benefits, your soccer player should experience a heightened sense of self-confidence and increased social skills. Playing on a team with other peers forces you to interact in ways you wouldn't learn at school. To win as a team, you must play as a team, which includes passing and communicating on the field. Your child may learn he is better at communicating on the soccer field than he has been anywhere else up to that point. There are fewer chances for individual humiliation on the soccer field (although it can happen). Generally, team actions are noticed more than individual actions.
Even though, as a parent, you may be worried about your child finding time for schoolwork when he or she is also juggling going to soccer practice or games, studies have shown that children who play competitive sports generally also perform at an above-average level in school. Whether this results from an increase in self confidence, or an increase in physical energy which helps mental energy and stamina, it is good for your child to learn the lesson of balance in his or her daily life.
Soccer builds balance in life
As an adult, your child will have to balance work, family, health, and personal time in a very busy schedule. So it is always a good idea for your child to start early. Assist them in setting up and following a schedule, and they will begin to learn how to prioritize all of the necessary tasks and obligations that make up our daily lives.