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Could Soccer be the Best Team Sport for Kids?

By Joe Ulm

All things considered, I think soccer is one of the top team sports for kids and possibly, the best team sport. I’m biased, of course, but I think the case for soccer is pretty strong. However, before we get into all that, let’s establish a few things, first…

  • This article is meant to be fun and maybe even generate a little banter – it’s NOT meant to disparage any sport. In fact, given the different values each sport provides, the best option for many kids might be to play multiple sports.
  • No sport is objectively better than another because the “best” sport depends on what the player enjoys.
  • By “team sports” I mean:
    • Sports where two teams compete against each other (as opposed to both teams competing against an environment).
    • Each team has at least four players playing at any one time.
  • Individual sports like golf are fantastic – as are non-sport activities such as playing a musical instrument – they’re just outside the scope of this article.

With that said, here’s why soccer could be the best sport for kids:

  • Physical advantages are minimized. In comparison to sports like football where size, speed, and strength provide huge advantages (for most positions) – or basketball where height provides an enormous advantage – soccer players just gain less of an advantage from those same abilities. For example, a player with average speed and strength can develop strong ball skills or great defensive technique and be a better player than other players who are faster or stronger. Baseball enjoys this same distinction. Size, speed, and strength are definitely helpful, but there are plenty of good baseball players who don’t have these advantages.
  • There are two, distinct, organized levels of play: Recreational and Select, giving kids the option to play at the level that suits them best. They can have a blast playing recreational soccer with friends, or they can play select soccer, learn from licensed coaches, and work to become the next Pulisic.
  • Very little equipment is needed. In terms of practicing, players need a ball and flat ground – that’s it. Goals are needed for games, sure, but in comparison to the equipment needed in hockey, baseball, lacrosse, or football, soccer requires very little. If you include all the parks that have basketball courts, basketball is another sport where very little equipment is needed to practice or to play games.
  • More players playing at one time. Once players are 12 years old, each team fields 11 players. This means more roster spots and more opportunity for a greater number of players. Football is similarly great in this way – lots of kids playing at one time, larger rosters, etc.
  • Everyone is engaged. Like hockey, lacrosse, and basketball, every soccer player is involved when the whistle blows.
  • Soccer is a lifetime sport. Much like basketball, soccer can be played well into a person’s adult years AND there is ample opportunity to do so. There are tons of soccer leagues which give people the opportunity to play with other players at similar age and skill levels.

So there you have it – the reasons why soccer could be the best sport for kids. What do you think? Are there other criteria I missed? Is there a team sport I didn’t consider? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep it fun and stay United.

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street soccer

In our Street Soccer program, players have the opportunity to create their own teams, make their own calls, and unconsciously develop their technical and tactical awareness–all while expressing themselves with the ball at their feet. We believe players should be able to manage themselves and have the freedom to play, interact, problem-solve, innovate, and take ownership of their participation in the game. Teams are created the day of to promote diversity, and games are played without referees to reinforce positive conflict resolution techniques. Our I-Mentor coaches will supervise each field making sure that players and facilities are safe while maintaining a fun and challenging environment.

PSU’s Street Soccer is open to all 9U to 19U players. Our Old School Street Soccer is open to any parent, soccer coach, and their significant others. Bring the whole family!

Sign up required for waiver completion. But then just lace up and show up!

 

Fall Details

  • Fridays: September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8
  • Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
  • Location: Pewaukee Sports Complex

Rules

  • Games are 7 minutes long
  • Players must play within their age range
  • Sliding or going to ground is not allowed
  • There is no offsides, but all other soccer rules apply
  • There are no referees – players call their own fouls
  • Profanity of any kind is not allowed

Important Information

  • Games will be played by gender (girls vs. girls / boys vs. boys) whenever possible.
  • Players may be required to wear provided pennies (pinnies are washed in between sessions).
  • Cleats, shin guards, socks (covering the shin guards) shorts, and shirts are required.
  • Players may be asked to conform to specific guidelines (using hand-sanitizer, etc.) to support the safest possible environment for everyone.
  • Teams may be adjusted by PSU team members multiple times during each session, including during games.
  • Players are expected to play with great sportsmanship and consideration for their fellow players at all times.
  • PSU reserves the right to disallow the participation of a player (or players) in PSU’s Street Soccer program for any reason. Players who are disallowed from play may not participate in future Summer Street Soccer sessions.
  • Participants are highly encouraged to check the website for the field status prior to traveling to participate.
  • Signed waiver is required.