What Are The Benefits Of Playing Soccer?

Kids playing soccer
Kids playing soccer

Some people think of money every time they hear about playing soccer without realizing other important benefits of soccer. In this post, I will highlight 24 benefits of playing soccer.

This covers benefits for toddlers, health benefits, social benefits, benefits for parents, and more.

Let’s dive in and discover why is soccer good for you and your whole family. 

 


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1. Develop Gross And Fine Motor Skills

If you read my post on 10 Incredibly Simple Soccer Drills For Toddlers I actually encouraged parents to allow their babies to play with a soccer ball from 1 to 3 years old.

Part of the drills I suggested is to prepare them for soccer when they turn 4.

But the most important thing is that it also develops the child’s gross and fine motor skills, balance, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination.

Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.  

And fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in the fingers and toes. 

When a child plays with the ball as described in the drills all the muscles come into play. 

Activities such as picking up the ball, throwing it around the room, rolling, and attempting to kick it all works in developing gross and fine motor skills.

Baby girl play with soccer ball
Baby girl play with a soccer ball

2. Develop ABCS 

The toddler soccer drills also improve skills such as agility, balance, coordination, and speed known as the ABCS. 

Agility is the ability to change and control the direction and position of the body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion.

Balance is the ability to control or stabilize the body when a person is standing still or moving.

Coordination is the ability to use the senses together with body parts during movement.

For example, hand-eye coordination skills improve movements such as picking a rolling ball. 

Speed is the ability to move your body or parts of your body swiftly or quick to respond in a limited time. 

For example, when you roll the ball to your kid’s hands he or she has to decide in a few seconds to extend his or her hands to corral it. 

The best age to start playing soccer is when your kid turns 12 months because it will assist in his or her overall development.

3. Player Develops Strong Bones

Studies published by PubMed showed that children who played soccer have better bone mineral content (BMC) and density (BMD). 

This is compared to kids who are not active and also their BMC is higher than other sports such as tennis, weightlifting, and swimming. 

For those who play soccer, increased BMC and BMD are present in the overall body, lumbar spine, hips, and legs. 

This study shows that soccer has positively affected bone growth in children adolescents. 

Building strong bones during childhood is important to avoid bone diseases such as Osteoporosis.

This is a condition where the bones lose density and become fragile. 

4. Improves Muscles Tone, Ligaments, and Tendons

Boy dribbles a soccer ball
Boy dribbles a soccer ball

Due to the demand for soccer training and games, the body will gradually develop muscle mass, stronger ligaments, and tendons, especially in the lower body.

However, there will be an overall improvement in strength in the whole body that will reduce injury and keep you active.

5. Increases Aerobic Capacity and Cardiovascular Fitness

Aerobic capacity is the highest amount of oxygen consumed during the peak of an exercise in training that uses the large muscle groups in the legs or arms and legs combined.

In soccer, a player does not have plenty of time to pause and catch his or her breathe.

For the duration of the game, the player is constantly moving by either jogging, sprinting, or burst into action which requires a high level of stamina.

The increased aerobic capacity resulted in what we know as fitness which is defined as having the ability and strength to perform physical activities.

The fitter you became through playing soccer the healthier you become.

6. Less Time On TV And Video Games

kid on tablet
A kid playing with a mobile device

According to the University of Michigan children aged between 2 – 5 years old spent 32 hours a week watching TV and kids between 6 – 11 years spent 28 hours as well.

Too much time on TV and video games take away the time you should spend with your kid, get exercise, fresh air, and doing homework.

It also slows down your child’s development and contributes to behavior issues, and obesity.

Lastly TV exposes your kid to unsuitable content such as violence, alcohol, and junk foods.

Children playing soccer is the perfect and healthy alternative that will keep your kid occupied.

7. Reduce Obesity 

With regular soccer training and exercise, your kid will burn the excess fat in the body thus reducing the chances of getting overweight.

Soccer encourages players to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and meat so that they build strong bones and muscles

8. Soccer Improves Academic Performance

A boy doing the bicycle kick
A boy doing the bicycle kick

According to BBC, The University of Strathclyde and Dundee studied 5,000 kids and results confirmed that children between 11 and 16.

The study also found students who exercise regularly performed better academically than those who don’t exercise.

Also, they attended more classes than those who don’t exercise because of improved health.

Understandably playing soccer develops other skills such as time management, goal setting, teamwork, and determination.

These skills can be applied in the classroom and result in improved academic performance.

9. Relieved Stress In Kids

Soccer can boost your mood and relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, including kids.

According to WebMD Some causes of stress in kids includes life events, physical health, family history, and environment.

Physical activity like soccer produces endorphins a feel-good neurotransmitter which reduces stress and the person started feeling positive.

This also improved sleeping and concentration.

10. Develop Healthy Eating Habits

apples-bananas-grapes
Fruits are the best

Soccer puts a lot of emphasis on proper nutrition and discourages eating junk foods.

Proper nutrition produces high performance in the field and players eat a lot of carbohydrates and protein but low in fats.

These types of food include fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Players also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated during games and in recovery times.  

11. Develop Healthy lifestyle As Adults

When kids playing soccer become adults they will develop the habit of regular exercise, fitness, and good nutrition.

They will also stay away from drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs and have fewer chances of developing heart diseases, overweight, and stroke

12. A Lot Of Teamwork

Teamwork is an important component of a soccer team. It is when individual players with defined roles contribute to winning the game. 

And eventually winning the soccer season. 

This is the result of players developing trust amongst each other in the team. It also shows that the players do not have selfish motives for their own glories. 

In professional work-life teamwork is one of the most sought after characters of an employee. 

You must show that you can work with others in order to achieve a target. 

13. Sharing Is Caring 

In soccer, you will learn to share, whether it’s a candy or sharing the ball when your teammate is in the best position to score a goal. 

Your coach will not allow you playtime if you keep the ball to yourself all the time. 

In real life, sharing is a good character that will bring you much satisfaction. It could be donating to your local charity or sharing your knowledge to help others. 

Bill Gates shared his wealth to fight disease and promote education in poor countries. 

14. High Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Being part of a team makes one feel important as your coach and teammates will listen to your feedback and take on your suggestions.

Soccer depends very much on teamwork and your teammates put their whole trust in your skills and capability to help win the game.

This will boost your self-confidence as you trust your own potential and skills to achieve your goals.

15. Self-Discipline

Soccer players know that self-discipline is an important part of becoming successful.

They stay away from activities that can be harmful to their health and choose carefully what they eat and drink.

They know that taking drugs, eating junk food, smoking, drinking alcohol, and not resting enough will be detrimental to their health.

They can apply self-discipline to other areas of their lives such as the workplace, school at home.

16. Meet New People And Make New Friends 

Soccer brings people of all backgrounds together to play as a team. As a soccer player, it is a good time to make friends and know about other cultures.

This help educate your kid that they will meet and work with people of different background in their adult lives.

17. Meeting Other Parents CertifiKid

Soccer provides a venue for parents to socialize and interact with other parents.

18. Volunteering In kids soccer 

Any parent can volunteer to help out with their kid’s soccer training. 

This can be beneficial in a number of ways. 

Firstly, it brings satisfaction knowing that you give your time to help. 

Your time is your valuable asset and it will be greatly appreciated by the team management if you can spare it. 

Secondly, some organizations value volunteering work so including it in your CV is a great way to add value to your work experience. 

If you work in a similar environment as a kindergarten teacher or youth coordinator then volunteering in kids soccer adds to your work experience. 

Lastly, your family will be proud of you, especially your kid who is playing. 

You will show your kid that you are supporting his dreams of becoming a soccer player. 

This will encourage your kid to train harder. 

19. Develop A New Hobby

Parents can develop new interests and hobbies when they participate in their children’s soccer programs.

They may end up become coaches themselves.

20. Soccer Equipment Is Cheaper

soccer-cleats-and-bal
Soccer cleats and ball

Good quality soccer equipment is relatively cheaper compared to other sports and can be bought from any sports shop. 

The most basic equipment required by soccer is a good soccer cleat, shin guards, socks, jersey, and shorts. 

If you are a goalkeeper you will need gloves to protect your hands. All these combined you might be looking at spending $150 at a minimum. 

You can read more about this topic on my post 10 Soccer Protective Gear For Kids – Parents Guide

21. Can Be Played In The Backyard Or Park

One advantage of soccer is that does not need special playing field or court to play it. You can play in your backyard, or at the park or at the beach with your whole family. 

Actually, playing in a small space improves your ball-handling skills. Even professional teams sometimes practice or train in small spaces. 

So, do not worry about space too much, just roll the ball around with your kids. 

22. Soccer Is Easy To Learn 

For a beginner, soccer is very easy to learn and the rules are simple for you to follow. 

The aim of soccer is to score goals in your opponent’s goal and to defend own goal from conceding goals. 

If you score more goals than your opponent then you win the game.

A kid playing with the soccer ball
A kid playing with the soccer ball

When playing soccer remember these rules:

  • Do not touch the ball with your hands during the game
  • Only the Goalie can touch the ball.
  • If your opponent is the last player to touch the ball before it goes outside his goal line, then you will take a corner kick 
  • If your opponent is the last player to touch the ball before it goes outside the sideline, then you will take a throw-in. 
  • If your opponent commits a foul, then you will take a free-kick
  • If a foul is committed in the penalty area, then you will take a penalty kick (high scoring chance).

Soccer is a free-flowing game with less interruption and a lot of strategy on how to outplay your opponents. 

Your only limit is your level of fitness and ball-handling skills. 

23. You Can Travel To See Different Places 

For players who loved to travel and see other places, you will not be disappointed. If you are a player for a local or regional team, then chances are you will be traveling. 

If you get selected to represent your country then you will be traveling a lot. 

By this time you are already a professional player and you might be signing a contract with a club in another state or overseas. 

You will learn about other cultures, food, and people. 

24. You Might Turn Pro And Earn A Living

Lionel Messi is the highest-paid sportsperson in 2019. He earned $127 Million.
Lionel Messi is the highest-paid sportsperson in 2019. He earned $127 Million.

According to Forbes 2019 List, the top 3 richest athletes are soccer players.

Soccer provides the opportunity for a player to turn professional and play for big soccer clubs in the US and Europe. 

This path requires a good foundation in training at a young age. 

At 5 any kid who shows passion and potential should join a junior club with a good coach. 

Continue to train hard with the team or individually and progress to school. 

After that, you will make it to the youth team and might represent your country if you display great soccer skills and character. 

You might progress to senior team or picked up by a talent coach to make your break into the pro level. 

All these require commitment from yourself and your parents. 

Please read my player profile post on David Beckham and Alex Morgan as they provide the best insights on how to turn pro. 

Soccer players retire around 30 due to the competitiveness of the sport as younger and faster players joined the team.

Some “old” players turn to soccer coaching and game officials to continue to earn a living.

There you go, I hope you learn something from this post and would consider playing soccer.

Read about 5 Fun Soccer Warm Up Drills (and Warm Down) here

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

 

Images: Wikimedia | Pexel.com

 

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2 thoughts on “What Are The Benefits Of Playing Soccer?

  • September 11, 2019 at 2:52 pm
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    Hi,

    I can tell you love soccer a lot. Although I do not play soccer any more, and I was never a good soccer player, I still love watching soccer games, especially world-class games. Some examples are World-Cup & European Champions League games. My favorite player is Messi like many other soccer fans in the world.

    Thank you for pointing out so many benefits of soccer for young kids. I totally agree with you on most benefits. But, I am not sure of several points such as “22. Able to Travel To See Different Places” & “24. May become Pro And Earn A Living”. These benefits are more appropriate for the very best players rather than most average kids. So, can it be called as a benefit? Also, distinction between Physical benefits and Health benefits is a bit ambiguous to me. Another comment: I am not sure if “8. Improving academic performance” is a Health benefit. I will appreciate if you can make a comment on my questions.

    Anyway, this article gave me a motivation to let my daughter play soccer. She will become 4 years old in a couple of months and she is very active – physically and socially. According to your advice, it is the right time to start playing. Right?

    Thank you for your article.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 7:33 pm
    Permalink

    Wow, great post! Very thorough and lots of points most of us don’t think about!

    Reply

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