Soccer is often named the most popular sport in the world. Unlike baseball or cricket, soccer has over 250 million fans in 200 countries around the world. Nothing beats the thrill of a fast paced game or the beautiful way the ball soars through the air off a strikers foot and into the back of your opponents net.
The love of the game has encouraged over 11 million children and adults to attend summer soccer camps and indoor soccer skill clinics each year. Perhaps part of the sports popularity is that when you learn soccer moves, it’s not just a way to improve your game, it’s also a way to improve life skills.
Here are four 4 life skills that you can learn from playing soccer.
You can’t learn to play soccer over night. It takes a lot of patience and hard work. Once you learn soccer moves, those skills need to be practiced over and over again before you can take them into a game.
The same could be said for any skill–musical instruments, reading, and chemistry are all challenging skills that take hard work to master. Teaching soccer to kids teaches them the life skill of diligence and grit.
On the field, soccer players travel back and forth, following the field of play. They may run as many as five to seven miles during a 90-minute game. Even before the game starts, players will warm up, stretch, and run through drills to prepare for the physical strain.
When players learn soccer moves, they aren’t just practicing a sport, they’re building the life skill of physical fitness. Soccer training prepares players to prevent injury, build muscle, and physically challenge themselves to remain healthy.
Soccer players use their feet, legs, torso, and head to control the ball. Players walk, run, sprint, jump, and dive to participate in the game. While the game is fast paced and high energy, the best players learn to play soccer with precision and grace. They cradle the ball gently with their foot so that they can control it and send it down field to their waiting teammate. To master these skills, players need to be alert and in control of their bodies.
Professional soccer training requires great balance and dexterity. Soccer coaching can help children master fine motor skills and keep adults healthy and nimble.
In a game not enough to know how to dribble, punt, and pass, soccer players also need to know when to use these skills. Elite training camps help players understand the flow of the game. Players need to understand how to position themselves strategically and work as a team in order to win.
Just like learning to drive a car a player needs to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Players need to be ready to adjust their approach and react to sudden changes as they arise. Soccer is a game of the brain and the feet, and when you learn soccer moves, you build your ability to think strategically.
Okay, let’s be real, soccer is about hanging out with friends. Nevertheless, making and keeping friends is an important life skill, and because soccer is such a universal sport, your passion can help build connections the world over. Many players have stories of how their juggling skills impressed the host family while they were studying abroad or how the adult league they joined helped them feel at home in a brand new city.
In addition to new friends, soccer tournaments and training camps are a great way to be noticed by college coaches and recruiters. New friends are great, but in some cases a passion for soccer can lead to really important connections.
Soccer is fun, but it also relies on the fundamental life skills that can make kids into confident and healthy adults. It’s no wonder then that the game has gained popularity in the United States, with an estimated 493,000 high school students joining teams each year. These students will compete for athletic soccer scholarship available at the college level, but even those who don’t make the team will have learned valuable life lessons.