Youth Soccer: Is It the Right Sport For My Child?

Youth Soccer: Is It the Right Sport For My Child?

Soccer has become one of the most popular youth sports in recent years, but with popularity has come more competition:

  • the number of youth soccer teams in the United States has increased by about 90 percent since 1990, to almost 3.1 million players.1 

  • the number of high school players has more than doubled to 730,106 athletes since 1990, the fastest growth rate of any major sport.2

  • The number of women's collegiate teams has gone up 115 percent since 1994 (the year the U.S. hosted the World Cupb), with the number of men's teams rising 27.6 percent over the same period.
It is easy to understand why soccer is more popular than ever as a youth sport, as it offers a lot of advantages for kids:


1. Easy to learn

  • Ideal sport to play at early age
  • Players learn best by playing

2.  Inclusive

  • Gender neutral: played by both boys and girls in equal numbers

  • Abundant programs

  • Accommodates players with different athletic abilities and skills

3.  Provides good exercise

  • Nearly non-stop running by everyone but goalie
  • Develops aerobic fitness, balance and leg strength

4.   Is relatively safe (as compared to other popular youth sports, like football and basketball)

5.   Teaches teamwork & mental focus

6.   Is relatively inexpensive (shoes & equipment costs are relatively low)

7.   Can be played year-round (which can also be a negative, because year-round play can lead to overuse injuries); and

8.  Can be played as an adult


Ironically, some of the reasons youth soccer is a good choice for your child can also be drawbacks:

1.  Popularity leads to:

  • Intense competition for roster spots on competitive, travel teams even at early age.
  • May lead to shortages of fields, referees, and/or qualified coaches.

2.  Politics can rear its ugly head because team selection and playing time are based on subjective factors.

3.  Tension between recreational and competitive (i.e. "travel") soccer can create problems:

  • Overemphasizing the everyone-can-play recreational soccer approach may force more skilled players to look outside of local community for more competitive teams and leagues, isolating such players from their peers.
  • Overemphasizing the only-the-best-can play travel soccer approach may deprive less-skilled players of a chance to ever play competitive soccer even if they are late bloomers who catch up with or pass their peers in terms of ability because of the residual bias enjoyed by early bloomers.


  If you like this article, Follow us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST!

Also in Soccer Moms

Should You Join The Sports Moms Movement?
Should You Join The Sports Moms Movement?


There are days I don’t even want to get on social media. 

You with me?

Division, discouragement and despair can run rampant in cyberspace.

View full article →

Does Playing Sports Make Kids Smarter?
Does Playing Sports Make Kids Smarter?


Could taking a break from studying to play pick-up football be beneficial to a student's GPA?

View full article →

Mom Has 16 Kids by Age 40 and Drives Them to 88 Sport Practices per Week
Mom Has 16 Kids by Age 40 and Drives Them to 88 Sport Practices per Week


The Reback family is no ordinary one. Lyette and David Reback of Palm Beach Florida, are parents to 16 children, four of whom are adopted. 

The couple met when Lyette, now 45, met her husband David when she was just 19 years old. The couple got engaged just 10 days later, married the following year and had their first daughter when Lyette was 21.

View full article →