There is an indefinable mystique that surrounds the game of soccer. Nearly the entire world loves soccer. They don’t just like soccer; or enjoy soccer; they have a passionate, almost aggressive adoration of the game. It is little wonder that some degree of that affection rubs off on their children.
But the reason that kids love soccer goes beyond simple osmosis. Kids love soccer because it has an intrinsic magnetism that starts attracting people from a very young age and grows stronger as the years go by. What is it about the sport that makes it the most popular game in the world and has given it such a universal language among kids of virtually every nation for generations?
Why so popular?
Nearly three times as many people watch the World Cup each year than do the Super Bowl. But it’s not just watched worldwide; it’s played worldwide. From the most desperately impoverished country in Africa to the gold-plated streets of Dubai; from the sun-parched roads of the Middle East to the thin air of the Andean mountains, kids can always be found kicking around some form of a soccer ball. The sport is ubiquitous; how can it not be popular?
It is highly accessible
Most elementary and middle schools, even in the baseball and football weighted United States, offer soccer as part of its sports curriculum. Otherwise, it is available as an extra-curricular part of the school’s offerings. National and regional programs can also be found. For instance, the organization Kidz Love Soccer has been providing soccer camps and classes for the Western United States for over 30 years.
One of the greatest reasons why kids love soccer is because it is such an easy game to learn at an early age. Children as young as three or four can be introduced to the sport through local schools and community programs. And as the children grow, so does their skill level. Professional soccer is such a highly-skilled game that it can take years or even decades to play at that level. So it is a sport that can keep kids “in the game” for years beyond their high-school education.
Benefits of kids’ soccer
Aside from the established fact that kids love soccer, there is much good that can be derived from getting the young ones involved in this sport. It’s great exercise. There is a lot of running in soccer, and running is an excellent way to blow off some of kids’ seemingly inexhaustible energy supply. It’s a highly social game. The children often go to the same elementary schools, but they also get to make new friends; and their parents also make friends with other parents. As mentioned, it is an easy game to learn as it doesn’t require nearly as much hand-eye coordination as baseball or football. But it certainly helps in improving that coordination. Also, it is a team sport and it gives kids the opportunity to learn how to work together to a common end. But probably the biggest benefit, especially from a child’s perspective, is that it’s just plain fun!
Soccer is a fulfilling game on so many levels. It’s true that not everyone can be a Pelé—or more currently, a Lionel or Cristiano—but everyone can be a Josh or a Dylan or a Peyton or a Sadie. Although some may aspire to greatness, being great is not why kids love soccer. It’s because they can be themselves and embrace what they are, and have fun doing it. It is little wonder why, even on such an elementary level, soccer is known as the Beautiful Game.