Soccer is one of the most popular youth sports around the world. Its popularity stems from the fact that it requires very little equipment. However, the continued growth of the sport, especially in the United States, also comes from the many benefits it provides to its players. 

Children can start playing soccer as young as 2-3 years old. Soccer is a sport that can grow with your child and as they continue to play, they gain important life skills. In this article, we’ll outline some of the physical, mental, and social benefits that children can gain when they play soccer.

If you are looking to get your child started with soccer, Sawyer has wonderful providers in your neighborhood that can help your child learn and play. Keep reading to learn how to find them!

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What are the physical benefits of playing soccer?

When you think about the benefits that come from playing a sport, your mind probably starts with the physical benefits. Soccer is a very physical sport and comes with a lot of physical benefits, especially when children start playing at a young age. Here are just some of the many physical benefits of playing soccer.

  • Increased coordination. When young children start playing soccer, the first physical benefit they gain is increased coordination. Toddlers start by tripping over the soccer ball (and their own feet!) and then gradually gain a better understanding of their limbs and the world around them. Better coordination will help them as they continue to grow and try more activities.
  • Better balance. Like coordination, children are often not the most balanced, since they are just learning how to interact with their bodies in space. Practicing soccer is a great way for them to improve their sense of balance.
  • Strengthened cardiovascular health. Soccer requires a lot of running and running is good for the heart. When children start playing soccer, the field is smaller. As they grow up and continue playing, the field gets larger and they have more space to run. This helps them improve their cardiovascular health and physical strength.
  • Improved endurance. Running also improves endurance, which is the ability to keep going with a task even as it gets harder. When children play soccer, they need to practice endurance so they can get up and down the field without stopping. Endurance is both a physical and mental trait and can prove very beneficial for children.
  • Better bone and muscle strength. Playing sports helps children strengthen their bones and develop muscles. As long as your child is being safe while playing, sports like soccer can help them grow stronger bones and increase their muscle mass. Just make sure they get plenty of fluids and rest between practices and games.

Mental benefits of playing soccer

Soccer is not just great for the physical aspects. There are also many mental benefits of playing soccer (and any team sport!), especially for children who start at a young age. 

  • Improved mental health. Studies show that when children and adults engage in physical activity, like playing soccer, they get a boost in endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that tell the brain to feel good. Therefore, win or lose, playing soccer can help your child feel happier.
  • Decreased stress and anxiety. Another benefit for increased endorphins is decreased feelings of tension, stress, and anxiety. By playing soccer and regularly increasing their level of endorphins, children are in a better place to manage their negative emotions like stress. 
  • Better emotional control. Team sports like soccer require teamwork, of course. When your child plays soccer, they need to be in control of their emotions so they can work together with their teammates. Getting a handle on your emotions as a young child is a huge benefit and helps them grow into stable adults.
  • Increased focus and concentration. People always say that children have short attention spans. Playing soccer can actually help your child increase their focus and concentration since they need to keep their eye on the ball and the other players for an extended period of time. Once they get used to this feeling of focusing, they can take it back with them to school, reading, and more.
  • Enhanced problem solving skills and analytical thinking. Soccer requires players to always be one step ahead of each other. They need to plan out plays and passes in order to move the ball forward. Practicing this type of thinking while playing soccer helps children improve this part of their brain.

Social benefits of playing soccer

As a team sport, soccer is inherently social. But what are the social benefits of playing soccer? Why is it helpful for children? 

  • Increased cooperation and teamwork. The most obvious social benefit of playing on a team is cooperating with one another and learning to practice teamwork. A team can only succeed if everyone works together. This is an important skill that children can take with them back home, to school, and eventually, into their careers.
  • Strengthened friendships. Playing on a team together is a great way for children to make, and strengthen, friendships. Whether their teammates are from their school or not, they can grow their social groups and learn important social skills from playing soccer with other children.
  • Improved conflict management. Young children are not usually the best at managing their emotions during a conflict. Experiencing conflicts with their teammates and opponents on the field can help them learn better coping mechanisms and improve their outcomes during conflicts.
  • Better empathy. For a lot of children, soccer is the first team sport that they will play. That means they are often learning about sportsmanship first hand on the field. Treating teammates and opponents with respect is a type of empathy. Children can benefit from learning sportsmanship and improving their empathy early on.
  • More opportunities to lead (and follow). Some children are natural born leaders and others are not. When playing a sport like soccer, everyone gets a chance to be a leader. Shyer children can benefit from a chance as a leader and more outgoing children can learn a lot from following along and being a good team player. Plus, sports like soccer introduce children to potential mentors in the form of coaches and older players.

Soccer for kids, toddlers, and teens: How to sign your child up

Convinced of the many benefits of playing soccer from a young age? Now it’s time to sign your child up and get them out on the field! Luckily for you, Sawyer makes it easy to find great soccer providers for kids, toddlers, and teens in your neighborhood.

Here’s how to find soccer activities for your family

Step 1: Pick your filters

Using the filters, you can save time by only pulling up the soccer activities that are right for your child’s age, location, and more. These are the types of filters that you can utilize on Sawyer.

  • Location: Make sure you are on in-person activities and the location is set to where you live.
  • Age: Save time by only seeing programs that are for your child’s age range.
  • Booking type: Maybe you want your child to try soccer out before committing to a whole semester. If so, you can choose “drop-in classes” only. If you know that you want a soccer program that runs for multiple weeks, you can choose to just search for “semesters.” If you are interested in seeing drop-in classes, semesters, and camps, keep all of the filters.
  • Category: This is where you can filter for the type of activity, so only soccer will come up.

Step 2: Explore your options

Once you have added your filters, you will see the soccer options that fit your needs. Now, it’s the fun part! You get to explore all of the wonderful activities that our educators offer. When you review the options, we recommend looking at these important elements to make your decision.

  • Dates and times: Does this program run during the right dates for your family’s needs? What time does it start and when does it end? Do they offer pickup and drop off if you need flexibility?
  • Booking options: Some educators allow families to book activities in full, by week, or even by day (drop-in). These options provide flexibility and can act as a deciding factor when you are choosing the right program for your child.
  • Class experience: In this section, the provider will write about a typical class in the program and what you and your child can expect. Read this section closely to determine if your child will enjoy this experience and if the structure is right for them.
  • Reviews: Have other families like yours enjoyed this program and/or this provider? What do others have to say about the experience? Reading reviews will help you make an informed decision.

Step 3: Make your decision

After researching soccer programs in your neighborhood, you should be ready to register! If you book multiple activities (soccer and otherwise) for different days of the week, keep yourself organized in the calendar section of your Sawyer account. 

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We hope this guide has helped you learn about the many benefits of playing soccer. Even if your child is not the most athletic, signing them up for soccer, or another team sport, can help them grow physically, mentally, and socially. 

If you are looking to sign your child up for sports, look no further than Sawyer! Families can sign their children up for soccer, basketball, martial arts, baseball, yoga, swimming, and so much more. Check reviews from families like yours, then find the right type of programming for your schedule. Now you’re ready for your child to explore the beautiful game and even more sports!

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