Signing a Child Up for Soccer: What Parents Need to Know

Kid soccer leagues are the first steps toward playing the sport professionally. Even if you have no aspirations to push your child toward soccer, a club can be great for their self-esteem and discipline. The game of soccer tests a child’s physical limits, gives them a healthy outlet with a sense of accomplishment, and teaches them to become team players. If you plan to sign your child up for soccer, here is what you need to know in terms of soccer equipment to buy and how to find leagues.

Finding Leagues

Most people have access to more than one soccer league, even if the live in smaller towns. Actually, competition may be even fiercer in smaller towns with larger populations of children. Child leagues are divided by age group, and younger kids have a separate group that is less competitive. Rules may change as children age, getting progressively more physical as they get older. A great place to start looking for a league is your local park system. The Web may have other leagues at smaller fields not related to the park system. Schools are another place that often holds soccer try outs, so consider testing your child’s skills there.

Basic Equipment

Most leagues will have a cost that covers the soccer uniform your child will use on game days. You’ll want a few extra items to practice and maneuver. Soccer shoes with small studs are good for traction, and there are rules dictating the size of spikes that are allowed on the field. Make sure you review your soccer league dress codes before you go shopping.

Training equipment is another good idea for home use. Cones are inexpensive and serve as excellent tools for dribbling practice. You should also consider a small goal net, which will remain a good practice tool as your player ages.

Some parents also find it helpful to get a manual full of soccer drills and tips that you can run with kids at home.

Your Role

Parents are expected to help out as much as possible to keep the league running. It may be a good idea for you to take some classes to learn how to be a referee, and it would help if you could pitch into organizing team events. Kids will remember the pizza parties and trophy gatherings that celebrate their achievements for the rest of their lives. The more involved you are, the more fun the game becomes for everyone.

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Related Story: US Youth Soccer Rules
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