Soccer is the most popular sport in many countries around the globe and in particular in countries that already have won a “world cup” championship such as Brazil, Italy, Germany, England, Uruguay, France and Argentina, and is introduced to kids at a very young age like 4 or 5 years old, and as fun outside the regular school. In the U.S. the same thing, but the difference is that soccer is not considered “the main” sport or a popular sport as is American Football and Baseball.
During the last two decades, soccer has been increase in popularity in the U.S. and in particular among kids (female and male) from 5 to 15 years old, and with this trend, various “soccer clinics” and “soccer academies” started to proliferate. In Brazil, usually, soccer is introduced to kids at a very young age like 4 or 5 years old, and as a fun play day outside the regular school. In the U.S. it is introduced for kids at a very young age, and through the support of different leagues and soccer academies.
If your child is interested in playing soccer, you’ll want to make sure that he or she is ready for the physical demands as well as learning skills at an appropriate developmental age. With so many kids spending too much time on the couch playing video games and watching TV, soccer is a welcome activity to improve fitness. Learning some basic skills can also help build a foundation for future success in the sport. As kids get older they’ll need to develop more specialized skills.
When children are really young you don’t need to worry about finding a highly competitive team or program. Young children should focus on building fundamental skills. For Pre-K kids, you should look for a soccer program that does this. But it’s still important to start young. The earlier you introduce your child to soccer skills and playing on a team, the better time He/she’ll have later as they begin to compete more often.
At this age, you can look for programs to be coed with a mixture of boys and girls, though there may be some gender-specific programs. At this age a soccer program should focus on: Motor Skills, Coordination, Fundamental Skills and Agility. This is a time when children are still developing their coordination and they should be supported in a developmentally appropriate program.
You may notice that they don’t actually play soccer in this type of program. Instead, you may see kids playing games and doing silly things that are actually teaching skills. To keep the interest of a very young child a class won’t be able to spend too much time on just one thing. As children get older, though, they’ll start to work more on playing the game. You’ll start to see more drills and soccer games being played. You can also enroll your child in a team where he/she can compete with others in a league.