Soccer was one of the several sports that my three kids all played at a young age. And even though my husband also played at a small college and I went to a few of his games, I never really knew much about the game.
If you are a soccer parent, new or not, here are a few things you must to know to help you and your child enjoy the game.
Take Time to Learn the Rules.
As with every sport, soccer has its rules and idiosyncrasies. One easy way to learn more about the rules of the game is to attend a soccer match or watch games on TV. To learn more, here are 10 Simple Rules to help you understand what you are watching. The game actually becomes much more enjoyable when you can follow what’s going on.
Soccer Can Be a Contact Sport.
Although soccers player cannot kick, trip, jump at, charge, strike, push, hold, or spit at an opponent, soccer can still be a very physical game. When two opposing players go for the ball, sometimes one of them ends up on the ground. That is not reason for the official to call a foul. Bumping or going shoulder-to-shoulder while chasing after a ball is not a foul unless the hands or elbows come up. This call is not always black and white; therefore referees may call it differently.
Pick Your Shinguards Wisely.
And because there is a lot of bumping in youth sports, the legs will receive the brunt of the punishment. Pick your shinguards wisely. According to FIFA, shinguards should be “covered entirely by the stockings, made of a suitable material (rubber, plastic, or similar substance), and provide a reasonable degree of protection. Most soccer leagues will not allow a person to play or practice soccer without shinguards. Take care of your shin guard with Xeros Gear, and eliminate the smell from sweaty play.
Know How to Hydrate Properly.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should be well hydrated before prolonged physical activity. During the activity, kids should be drinking periodically even if they are not thirsty. Each 15-20 minutes the child or adolescent should consume:
- 5 ounces of fluid for a player weighing 90 lbs or less
- 9 ounces of fluid for a player weighing more than 90 lbs.
To keep a child from getting dehydrated before activity, he should drink 12-16 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before getting to the field. Once the activity is over, players should drink water or a sports drink every 15-20 minutes for the first hour after activity.
Support The Whole Team.
Be a parent who supports every player on the team. Let them all know that you see them and support their efforts. Don’t be that parent that only supports her own child.
Just be the Parent.
Leave the coaching to the coaches and do not criticize the coach. Leave the officiating to the referees and do not criticize the referee. Sit back, relax, watch, and enjoy the fact that your child is having fun. This is not the World Cup.
Give the Coaches and Officials Some Grace.
According to US Soccer, over 3 million kids were registered in their organization to play youth soccer in 2014. And there were most likely millions more who didn’t register through their organization.This means that in order to have enough coaches for all those players, there had to be a lot of parents who volunteered for the job. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of volunteer directed youth sports are coached by parents with a child on the team.
The same goes for officials. Many are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of soccer players, or are soccer players themselves. There is nothing more disheartening that to see parents chewing out an a teen officials who is doing the best job that he or she can. Give the coaches and parents some grace; they are sacrificing their time and trying hard to be fair.
Youth Soccer is for All.
According to the Educated Parent, soccer is the kid’s game for all. It is often the first sport that many kids play and there will be all types of kids playing together. Little girls who are clueless and just want to run around, little boys who are more interested in the bugs in the grass, and little studs and studettes who think that playing means they must hog the ball.
Please be patient. These kids are learning the rules of the game and are trying to have fun.
Thank you, Xeros Gear for caring about kids! And for caring about the parents who have to smell their gear! Be sure you check out the deodorizing bags for shin guards.