What are the benefits of soccer?
More than 18 million children participate in soccer leagues and
programs each year, making it the most popular and fastest-growing
youth sport in the United States today, according to the United
States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA). Why is it so popular? Here
are three reasons:
1. It's easy to learn. Children don't need to be taught to run or
kick a ball (okay, running and kicking in the right direction does
take some work), and the object of knocking the ball through a goal
is simple to grasp. And soccer's fast pace allows it to hold the
attention of kids who would frequently get bored playing other
sports. Kids as young as 4 years old can participate -- albeit with
a smaller ball and on a smaller field than older children.
2. It doesn't discriminate. Boys and girls of all shapes and
sizes can play.
3. It's an excellent form of exercise. Its continuous action
helps kids build stamina, strengthen their heart and muscles, and
develop coordination. Soccer can also help keep kids fit and trim --
an important benefit now that one in every five children in America
is overweight. Studies show that children who play organized sports,
such as soccer, at an early age are more likely than nonathletes to
adopt healthy habits that stick for life.
Some of the physical benefits include:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscle strength
- Weight control
Other benefits include the development of social traits such as
discipline, teamwork, leadership, fairness and self-esteem.