Between March and October, soccer fields around the country come to life. Kids are laughing, running and having an amazing time while learning a world-famous sport. While kids soccer may be a sport that is just now coming into its own in the United States, it has been a favorite in other countries for a long time.

Known as football in other countries, soccer is the most widely played sport in the world. Regardless of what you call it, this game provides an excellent physical workout while also teaching kids some valuable life lessons. Teaching your kids soccer is something you can begin doing almost as soon as they have mastered the skill of walking.


There are many reasons why you might consider teaching your kids soccer. Consistent running and movement is a key aspect of soccer, making it an ideal way to keep fit and one of the top benefits of having your child play. During a game or even a practice, kids work out their cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems. Not to mention, the strategizing aspect of the game also gives the brain a good workout.

Kids soccer also has many social benefits. Your child will learn to get along and work well with others. Kids learn to handle disappointment when they lose and how to be grateful when they win. They make lasting friendships and learn how to get along with others with whom they may not see eye to eye.

Soccer allows kids to have fun while also reaping the physical and social benefits. It is a great way to spend some time one-on-one with your child as well. Whether you are teaching your child the sport or running drills with him or her, the time spent together is a nice chance to have quality time together, which often is difficult to fit into a busy life.


Little Boy playing soccer while there is 3 man standing behind him

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You may wonder at what age to start teaching your kids soccer. The consensus is age three is a good starting point. By this age, your child should have a good handle on walking and running to enable him or her to start playing. In addition, this is a time when kids develop motor skills and learn coordination, and playing soccer can help boost that skill development.

One thing to keep in mind is that their bodies are still developing. Parenting Magazine notes that some experts worry that starting kids too early in sports could lead to more wear and tear on the body that results in more serious injuries when they get older. For this reason, it is important to avoid competition kids soccer at this point and focus more on just teaching skills and learning basics individually.


2 Girls and 1 Boy Playing Soccer and an old lady standing at the corner

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You want to start your child out with learning the fundamentals of kids soccer. That includes not only the base skills but also the basic concepts, such as teamwork and being a good sport. You should always start out informally to introduce them to the ball and the main rules of the game. You can then start working on specific skills.

Main skills






2 Boys Playing Soccer

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US Youth Soccer recommends guidelines for what to focus on at each age level. They help ensure you are not going beyond the developmental abilities of your child. In addition, keeping kids soccer practice age appropriate helps reduce frustration to ensure they enjoy learning and develop a lifelong love of the sport.

Ages three to five

Age six to eight

Age nine to 12

Age 13 and older


Boys doing some stretching before playing soccer

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One important thing to keep in mind as you begin teaching your kids soccer is that every child learns at a different pace and has different abilities. Some kids just will not click with soccer, and that is perfectly fine. You should never force your child to play.

You also should avoid being too aggressive when first introducing the sport. Just grab a ball and hit the grass. Let your kid play. Keep it unstructured and loose at first. Just get your child moving and connecting with the ball.

As your child begins to build skills, you should train often. One of the best ways to become good at soccer is to practice as much as possible. Training only when the team has practice will leave your kid behind. Make sure to have some dedicated training time outside of practice, too.


Girl doing some moves on how to play soccer

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Try passing drills against a wall. This lets your child practice alone and still learn this important skill. You also want to practice incoming drills. Help your child to learn how to properly head a ball by hitting with the forehead and pushing the ball. This helps to avoid concussions.

You also do not always need to be playing. Your child can also learn kids soccer by watching older athletes play. Seeing professionals or older kids not only lets your child see different skills but also helps feed the love for the sport. Believe it or not, playing soccer video games can also help your child build skills. These games encourage strategizing and planning that are both good skills for a player to have.


Different colors of soccer shoes

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All you really need to play kids soccer is a ball and some shoes. With that in mind, choosing the right shoes is very important. They can have a huge impact on how well your child plays. If the shoes do not have the right fit or cleat, they can hinder your child's ability to effectively move the ball.

The overall fit needs to be snug but not so tight that the upper presses against the foot or the toe is right up against the front of the shoe. They also need to be made from a durable and lightweight fabric. They should allow your child to feel the ball well through the shoe. Getting a good grip on the ball is essential to controlling it. It also needs the right traction or cleats for the field your child will play on.

When choosing a cleat, make sure to check any restrictions of the club or the field. You can get molded cleats or detachable. Detachable allows you to switch out the cleats based on the field and are a nice choice if you play on different surfaces.

There are some different cleat options. Firm ground cleats are made for grass fields and provide extra traction. Hard ground cleats are for hard surfaces because they do not dig in. Indoor cleats don't actually have cleats, which would tear up an indoor play surface. Soft ground cleats work well for muddy fields, while turf cleats are for artificial fields.

The last consideration is the ankle height. Mid-height provides better ankle protection than low-height. However, mid-height cleats do restrict movement of the ankle. They are best for defensive players. Low height is best for forwards and wingers. Low ankle cleats are what you should choose for a first pair of kids soccer shoes.


Children Practicing on how to play soccer

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When you're ready to get your child into a kids soccer program, you shouldn't have to look much further than your local community center. Most areas have kids soccer programs through local community sports programs, YMCAs, churches, and other youth sports leagues. There are also national programs offering opportunities across the country. These include US Youth Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization. Both organizations offer programs for all ages and have special needs programs as well.


Boy Playing Soccer

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If you love soccer, then it's not a stretch to want your kids to play, too. You can start them pretty early, but always keep it age appropriate. That helps keep injuries to a minimum while also allowing your child to develop a love of the sport. Kids soccer should always focus on the experience over winning. You want to foster a fun feeling when your child plays.

You can teach all the basic skills to your child before looking for a club to join. Once your child starts playing with a team, he or she will then be able to master skills and become an accomplished player.

Featured Image by Chuck Underwood from Pixabay

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