Kids soccer starts to be extremely popular among kids and their parents. An entire generation of adults now turns their attention to the sport they even did not know when they were young. The sport is called soccer. Soccer is probably the most affordable sport ever. You need just one ball for the entire game, a pair of sporting shoes and shirt and shorts. Really nothing else. You do not need to install basket or be afraid of terrifying injuries. Soccer is the sport you want your kids to start to play.
But I definitely understand your worries. Is it wise to let your kid play a sport you know nothing about? How will I help him? Can I afford it? Yes, Yes and Yes are my answers and here you will find everything you need to enjoy the soccer with your kids.
What is soccer?
Soccer is a team sport played by two teams (eleven players each) with a ball. Its origin goes back to China to 206 BC but official rules were codified in England in the year 1863. First association was established again in England in 1872, therefore England is regarded as the motherland of modern soccer.
At the start, I should explain also one typical mistake regarding the name. The name soccer is used in North America, but in other parts of the world, word football is used (or futbal in spanish). Therefore if you are in Europe, be aware that football means soccer. Our football is called American football or rugby. But we will here refer to soccer in entire article and web to avoid any confusion.
What are the rules of soccer?
Professional soccer games are played on grass fields (natural or artificial), but you can play on every possible surface. You need just a ball and two goals. The aim of teams is to put a ball in the goal of opposite team. Players can use just their feet to touch the ball. Touch with a hand is forbidden with exception of the goalkeeper, who can catch the ball also with a hand in the marked field called penalty area.
Advantages of playing soccer
Soccer is probably the most popular sports around the globe (or at least one of the three most popular). It is really easy to play soccer as you need just a ball and that is all. You can make a goal from your bag, or spare shirt, you need just free place and you can start play. It is a pretty cheap sport, as you really do not need much to start play. It is the sport where injuries are not so severe and not more frequent than in other sports. Every kid, no matter his/her height or weight can play soccer. There is no need to be tall as in basketball. You do not need expensive equipment like in ice hockey. Soccer is a preferable choice for every kid in every family with no additional restrictions before play. So just find a few friends, a small piece of lawn or other playground and start play.
Kids Soccer – List of things you will need
As I already wrote above, you need just a few things to play soccer. Here is a short list of what you really need before your first game:
- Soccer Ball – necessary
- Soccer Cleats – necessary after reaching some level of soccer skill
- Shin Guards – obligatory in professional soccer
- Goalkeeper Gloves – necessary when playing on goalie position
- Soccer Jerseys – not necessary
- Training Equipment – usually at disposal in a local soccer club
- Portable Soccer Goals – not necessary
Soccer Ball is the only necessary thing for playing soccer recreationally or for fun. But if your kid or you want to play soccer more seriously you will probably look also for rest of listed equipment.
There is just one essential thing you need for a soccer game. It is the Soccer ball. You can play soccer with every ball you find, but of course, soccer balls have their important features and therefore it is better to play with a real soccer ball. Soccer balls differ according to size (and the age of players) and manufacturers.
Soccer shoes are called cleats. They differ according to a surface where you will play soccer. The usual trainers or sneakers are good enough at the start of your soccer career. But as your kid soccer level develops you will probably invest in specialized soccer cleats. It is better as they are created for ball kicking and give you stability during a play. Over and above they are made to tolerate extra strain coming from kicking to a ball. And again, they are not expensive comparing to basketball or tennis shoes.
You do not need much protection equipment in soccer. But as you play with your legs, they are vulnerable. So when you play soccer at a certain level you should protect your legs with shin guards. Shin guards are obligatory in professional soccer.
There is one more thing you need if your kid or you decide to play in goal. The goalkeeper needs one more thing to protect his hands and fingers. Goalkeeper soccer gloves are made to keep your palms and fingers safe. Again they are not expensive and there is a wide range of different sizes and qualities.
You can play soccer in whatever shirt you find. There is no need to pay extra for professional soccer jerseys till you are not playing regularly. Then you can search for features which handle sweating and comfortable feel. Or you will buy some replica jersey to show your inclination to some team or particular players.
Other training equipment
There are many training gadgets you can use in soccer training. Cones, training nets and rebounders, scrimmage vests and many others. As your play develops and training starts to be more professional you will probably buy some of these or your local club will provide them for free.
Portable Soccer Goals
Kids who like soccer are able to play it wherever they are. Portable soccer goals will add an extra level to their hobby. They are small, easily assembled and will fit well in your backyard. Try it and soccer afternoons will be changed forever.
Kids Soccer Books
It is not easy to find books for kids about soccer. Soccer tactics, Kids Soccer books, Girls soccer books or novels about fans, all is in our guide. Check our guide to the best soccer books in different genres.
Professional Soccer Competitions
There are many soccer competitions all around the world and therefore soccer is all year round sport. There are national club leagues in every country. We have Major League Soccer (MLS) in USA and Canada with 23 teams in two conferences (East and West) which ends with play-off at the end of the season. However, the best leagues are played in Europe. Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Bundesliga in Germany and Seria A in Italy are must-follow leagues if you want to become a real soccer fan.
On country levels, every continent has its own continent championships. USA belongs to CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and the continent championship is called Gold Cup and is held every two years.
The biggest tournament of the soccer world is Fifa World Cup, held every four years, where 32 qualified countries play.
Best Soccer Players
Soccer is a team sport and it is really hard to pick the best team. Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, and France were dominant in past years, but a lot of other contenders perform well too. Mexico, Uruguay, England or Italy are also proud soccer nations.
To pick up the individuals is obviously harder. There are two names from history who should be known by every soccer fan. Brazilian Pele and Argentinian Maradona. Currently, two guys are running the soccer show. Argentinian Leo Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo. Who is better? Hard to say, depends if you like Real Madrid or CF Barcelona