More than 40 million students play soccer each year, making it one of the most popular sports for students. Of that 40 million, almost half are girls, making it a very diverse sport. Soccer is a very popular team sport, and offers many benefits including being a wonderful starter sport for almost every child. Soccer is also wonderful for improving muscle strength, as well as increasing endurance, joint flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.
Other benefits include improved coordination, agility, and balance. The mental benefits of soccer include the ability to help sharpen thinking skills, strategic thinking skills, and even improving mental focus. Soccer is also one of the best sports to help teach teamwork and the ability to work well with others. While there are always star athletes on every team, the overall success of the team relies heavily on teamwork.
Children are also able to learn determination since many become frustrated learning the foot-eye coordination as well as hand-eye coordination that are necessary to success with the game. Soccer games can range from those that are competitive in nature to those that are strictly for fun with no regards to winning or losing. The choice is yours as to which type of team you sign your child up for. Another benefit of soccer is it is a lifetime sport, so this is a skill that will last your child a lifetime.
Virtually any child can play soccer as long as they can kick and run, the skills needed to play can easily be learned without a whole lot of problems. Children who are small can make up for their size easily by improving their mental skills of the game. Your child needs to be willing to be a bit aggressive for the ball in order to succeed as well.
Children are able to start successfully playing soccer when they are around 6-7 years old. You should make sure your child is physically capable of playing before signing them up; you do not want your child discouraged because they are behind their peers. For young children you want them to learn the basics and how to improve those skills, a child should not start playing in a tournament until they are closer to 10 years old. Once your child is 11 and older, the standard set is 2-3 practices a week with one or two games on the weekends.
Soccer from a cost standpoint is not very expensive; the equipment can typically be purchased for less than $100, with the team fees being less than $75 typically. Once a child becomes heavily involved the costs can rise dramatically, by dramatically they can rise to up to $2,000 a year per player to cover the league and team fees.