How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Soccer Season
You've signed your child up for soccer - now what? Whether it's the first season playing recreation soccer or your child's first time on a travel team, here are some tips to make sure they've got what they need and are ready to go.
Doing anything for the first time can be both exciting and intimidating - playing soccer is no exception. Here are some tips for how to make sure your child is ready to get the most out of their first soccer season:
First Recreation Season
Most kids start playing soccer in a recreation league, so we'll start there, too. The good news is that rec leagues are a great way to ease into the sport since the emphasis is on fun and participation. But there are still a few things you'll need to be sure your player is ready to go.
Get the Gear
For recreation soccer, you just need the basics:
Outdoor soccer cleats
Soccer Ball (be sure it's the right size)
All players, regardless of age or skill level, are required to wear cleats and shin guards. If you want to save money, visit a soccer sports store that carries a range of brands and price points to fit your budget. Also, be sure the cleats you buy are for soccer, which are different from football and baseball cleats.
Mindset – Focus on Fun
Both you and your child should mentally prepare to win some games, lose some games, and tie some games. It's always more fun to win but learning to lose gracefully is one of the most important lessons children take away from sports. Help your child develop good sportsmanship by staying positive, which will also help you get more enjoyment out of watching young children learn to play.
First Travel Season
Travel soccer is more competitive and requires a greater commitment on behalf of both you and your child, but it's still a game and it should still be fun. Here are a few tips that will get your travel season off to a good start.
Get the Gear
Footwear (Outdoor cleats and Turf Shoes for indoor if necessary)
If your child is playing in a competitive league, you should invest in gear that is durable enough to take a beating through the entire travel season. With more communities opting to install turf fields, it's also a good idea to have both cleats and turf shoes so they're ready for whatever field they play on. For soccer bags, you can choose between a backpack or a duffel.
Consider a Carpool
If it's an option, explore possibilities for carpooling with other families. Travel teams often practice 3-4 times per week so having someone to share driving duties with can make your life a lot easier. Even if you plan to go to every game, players are often expected to arrive one hour early - so taking turns with another family can simplify your schedule.
Mindset - Positive Development
Kids who move from a rec league to a travel team need to adjust to the higher level of competition, and it can take time to make that transition. Remind your player that some things take practice to get right. Meanwhile, continue to model good sportsmanship during games by keeping your comments positive, as well as showing respect for the referees, opposing team, and their fans.
If you have questions about what's the right gear for your player, visit one of our soccer specialty stores conveniently located in Schaumburg, Glen Ellyn and Naperville. European Sports has been family owned and operated since 1997 and our customers are part of the family!