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Right from the start, most kids love to be active. Whether kicking a ball around the garden or jumping across the furniture over a sea of carpet lava, children have so much energy and a need to be entertained. When life is so demanding and days are so busy, the temptation to increase screen time and get your child to sit quietly with an iPad becomes even stronger.

You may feel a sense of trepidation as the summer vacation draws nearer as you desperately try to come up with ideas to keep the kids busy and happy without breaking your bank and running yourself into the ground. However, if your kid is interested in football, have you considered getting them involved in a local youth football program?

Why Soccer Is So Good for Your Kids

From simply keeping the kids busy to even discovering a skill that could take them to a career, why is a local youth soccer team a good place to look to when finding activities for the children? Toca Football, a local madison soccer league training facility, explains how fun and inviting training programs can attract people of all ages and help them to develop excellent interpersonal skills, learn how to work as a team, and improve themselves through discipline and self-motivation. In this article, we will consider the benefits that come from getting kids involved in fun, team sports like soccer.

The History of “the Beautiful Game”

There’s no accurate way of knowing when the sport of kicking a ball began. However, historical evidence indicates that a Chinese game called cuju was established between 206 BCE and 220 CE and closely resembles the modern game we know today. Later, in Ancient Greece, other ball games emerged though they tended to use hands and violence, hopefully not elements of a football game in this modern age!

Around the world, from Japan to Korea to North America, games that resembled what we now know as football began to emerge, and the fascination with the game grew. The modern rules associated with football began to be standardized in the mid-19th century to allow a level playing field for the schools of England. In 1848, the Cambridge rules were first drawn up and became incredibly influential in the game’s development.

The ongoing efforts of multiple schools and universities developed to the point that in 1863, the Football Association (the FA) was officially formed in London. From this came the FA, the world’s oldest football competition, played by English teams since 1872.

Football is played professionally worldwide, drawing millions to watch the matches. For example, just last month, a record-breaking 17.7 million people tuned in to watch the England Women’s Football Team bring home the win in the final match of the Euros Championship 2022. The beautiful game has captured minds and hearts for decades, and the obsession goes beyond just viewing others play the game at a professional level. Millions more people get out and play the game themselves – why should your children be among them?

The Benefits of Soccer for Kids

The great thing about football – or what is referred to as soccer in the US – is how truly accessible it can be. It’s a sport for everyone; all you need to get started is some space and a ball. The former UN assistant secretary general and women deputy executive director states that “sport has enormous power to generate real social, economic and environmental change… even to challenge mindsets and prejudices.” Considering how a straightforward game could hold such power is fantastic. Let’s delve deeper into several critical benefits for kids who play soccer.

I am making lots of friends!

Friends don’t just make life fun, but they contribute significantly to the social development of children. When kids are on a soccer team, they have an opportunity to make friends and feel at home, building up their self-esteem and finding the confidence to talk openly about their concerns and problems. Feedback from peers is constructive, and the opportunity to solve problems empowers team members and aids their personal development as valuable members of society. 

We are building essential skills for life!

When kids are part of a soccer team, they learn to work diligently, make decisions, communicate efficiently and solve problems correctly. They learn valuable lessons surrounding teamwork a d cooperation. When they win and lose, they learn the true meaning of sportsmanship. 

They are being active and improving health!

Soccer isn’t just fun; it’s a great way to stay active and healthy. Kids will build up their muscles while learning and practicing their motor skills. Furthermore, the benefits to mental health cannot go unmentioned. Tragically, recent studies show that today’s youth face unprecedented mental health challenges from the many issues and pressures put on kids today.

In a survey done throughout the US, 44 percent of high school students admitted that they persistently feel sad and hopeless. Along with other good habits and possibly medical interventions, staying active is a sure way to improve a person’s mental health. The fresh air outside, the feeling of camaraderie within a team, and the emotional benefits of exercise could be aspects of a coping strategy for struggling youths. 

Promoting equality!

Sports like soccer can help break down barriers, whether racial, gender-related, economic, or otherwise. Team sports help to defy stereotypes and work to eliminate discriminatory feelings and actions. 

Exercise for the Mind, Body, and Heart

If you weren’t convinced about the benefits of soccer before you read this article, we hope you feel that way now! Whatever age your children show interest in the sport, encourage them to put their heart into it, and you’ll see the benefits shaping your child before your eyes!

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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