Although baseball is the national game of the USA, soccer is gaining popularity faster than you could imagine. According to statistics, only 2% of Americans named it as their favorite sport in 2004, but the figure was up to 8% in 2022. That’s a giant leap, considering the baseline. Even as the US team lost in the 2022 World Cup, it returned home as a winner.
A survey suggests that soccer fans in the US are younger and more diverse than general sports enthusiasts in the country. As the craze for the sport grows, don’t be surprised if your kids profess a love for professional soccer. They may even dream of making it into the national team.
You should take pride in parenting an aspiring soccer star and do your bit to support them from the outset. Here is the best parenting advice to raise a budding soccer pro:
Start Training From a Young Age
Professional soccer often starts when a child is a teen, but some clubs accept younger players. If you have a young prodigy, consider training them from a young age. You can begin the training process with soccer games for kids to understand their inherent skills and potential. Once you think you have a pro in the making, consider enrolling the child for professional coaching.
According to TOCA Football, games like “Red Light, Green Light”, “King of the Ring”, “Tag”, “Simon Says”, and “Musical Chairs” are ideal for little ones. You can leverage them for initial training of children in the age range of 3-5 years. Gradually, you can move to the next level of soccer skill development with a professional trainer.
Collaborate With the Coach
Millions of young players play soccer with school and college teams in the US. High-school participation increased 32% from 2002 to 2019, beating sports like hockey and baseball by impressive margins. These players get coaching as a part of the team. Some even take up private training to gain an edge.
Either way, you should work closely with your child’s coach to establish familiarity and trust. Developing a rapport eventually helps you to give up control and let the coach steer your child’s growth and development.
Set the foundation early with positive communication as it fosters a comfort level and a good relationship. At the same time, avoid micromanaging because it may not go well with a professional trainer. You may have the best interests of your kid in mind, but going too far means not respecting the leadership of the coach.
Foster a Soccer Culture at Home
Raising an aspiring soccer player as a parent is also about fostering the right kind of environment at your home. Integrating the sport into your everyday life sets the foundation for soccer excellence. You can take them for viewing matches, encourage backyard games, and prioritize fitness. Also, create a supportive and relaxed environment for your child to enjoy the sport with siblings.
For example, invest in multiple balls and encourage regular dribbling, juggling, and manipulation exercises. These activities make them comfortable with the ball from a young age. As you create a soccer culture, don’t forget the interests and capabilities of other children in the family. Aim to foster a healthy environment where everyone can be their best without comparisons.
Emphasize Positive Attitude and Behavior
Soccer players need more than skills and techniques to ace the game. The right attitude and behavior are essential for performance, motivation, and outcomes. Parents can play a crucial role in this context, even if they know nothing about the rules and technicalities of the game.
Ensure that your child respects everyone on the field, from coaches to teammates and opponents. They should also be positive enough to take failure in a stride and learn from it. Someone who holds grudges against teammates and opponents cannot be successful in the long run.
Being a good role model is the key because children emulate actions more than listening to words.
A Final Word
Parents can play a foundational role in a player’s growth because they are often the first people to recognize the talent in their kids. If you have a budding soccer genius in your family, support them from the start and help them navigate the road to a professional career.
Besides following these actionable tips, be there for your child all along the way. Motivate them during challenging times and guide them to stay level-headed after they achieve success. You can influence them silently with your attitude, values, and beliefs.