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Top 10 Benefits of Playing Soccer

Posted on: December 11, 2018

As the most popular sport across the globe, soccer is fun to play and exciting to watch. Not only has soccer become a summer Olympic event, it can be played professionally, competitively, or for recreational fun. Soccer is easy to learn, requires very little equipment, and can be played in a park or in the backyard. Many parents start their children in a soccer program as young as age 2 or 3, so they get exposure to the skills and drills necessary to play the game, but also to start them on the path to learning how to play well with others and to be a good sport. Soccer offers many benefits to players; here are the top 10.

  1. Encourages Friendship. When you sign your child up for a soccer program, it provides a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded kids; this will help your child learn to socialize with others, and to build long-lasting friendships. Soccer is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and to get healthy exercise with friends.
  2. Teaches Sportsmanship. Learning to play soccer isn’t just about trying to score goals or preventing the opposing team from scoring goals. It’s important to learn good sportsmanship so that players become gracious winners and losers. Every player will win games and lose games, which will elicit excitement and disappointment, respectively. A good soccer program will teach players how to keep a level head after a loss, and to work hard to be prepared for the next game, which is useful in other forms of competition throughout one’s life.
  3. Teaches Teamwork. Playing soccer requires teamwork. With multiple players on each team, there are a variety of roles for players to fill. Some act as defenders to prevent the other team from scoring a goal. Others play offense, trying to move the ball down the field to score against the opposing team. To be successful, players have to work together by passing the ball, running plays, defending as a team, and constantly communicating with one another. Teamwork is another skill that is applicable off the soccer field; it’s necessary in school, at work, and among family members.
  4. Instills Discipline. In order to improve and hone one’s skills on the soccer field, players have to learn to take direction, and must practice and train regularly. Dedication is very important; when children choose to dedicate their time and effort to playing soccer, it teaches them self-discipline. This will involve giving up other less important activities, eating right, and getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night. Discipline carries over into schoolwork and other areas of life.
  5. Develops Leadership. As children begin to excel in soccer, opportunities may open up to become the team’s captain, or to help lead skills and drills during practice. Learning to inspire and lead others is an amazing accomplishment, and will help children achieve goals they set for themselves throughout their life.
  6. Improves Cardiovascular Health. The average soccer player, with the exception of the goalie, may run up to 2 or 3 miles during a full game. Most players are moving constantly, either walking, jogging, or running; this increases their heart rate, burns calories, increases aerobic capacity, and improves stamina. Physical exercise also helps reduce stress and anxiety, and can even reduce symptoms of depression.
  7. Strengthens Muscles. Soccer utilizes many parts of the body; lower body strength is required for running, jumping, kicking, and for speed. Upper body strength is necessary for throwing the ball in from out-of-bounds and for heading or shielding the soccer ball. Playing soccer regularly strengthens muscles throughout the entire body. These physical health benefits transfer well to other fast-paced sports like football, hockey, and lacrosse.
  8. Improves Coordination. Soccer requires frequent shifts between running, sprinting, and walking. Body coordination is improved as players learn to dribble and pass the soccer ball at different speeds and in different directions. Hand-eye coordination is improved when kicking to or receiving the ball from another player.
  9. Increases Cognitive Brain Function. Soccer is a strategic game, requiring concentration, strategy, and discipline. This fast-paced sport requires players to make quick decisions on the field, and to learn to think on the run. When the action seems to slow down, players are still trying to determine where they should be, and how to develop advantages over the opposing team. Soccer is as much a mental game as it is physical.
  10. Increases Confidence and Self-Esteem. Increasing muscle strength and stamina helps build confidence in players, both on and off the field. Achieving success in soccer impacts sports performance, but also helps in other areas of life, including academics, careers, friendships, and family dynamics.

These incredible benefits of playing soccer work together to create strong players with positive attitudes, healthy bodies and minds, a multitude of friends, and important personal skills they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.


Ready to enroll your child?

There are several options to choose from in our Winter 2019 Activity Guide, from Parent/Tot Lakers Soccer to the Spring House Soccer League. Aren’t sure where to start? Contact Brad Thomas at bthomas@gepark.org or (630) 942-7288.

  • Parent/Tot Lakers Soccer: Ages 2-3 with Adult
    This program provides the opportunity for you and your child to play soccer together. This class will work on simple motor skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting. Parents participate with their child. View upcoming classes.
  • Little Lakers Soccer: Ages 4-6
    Introduce your little one to the world’s most popular sport. Your child will learn not only basic skills, but also gain a lifetime love for soccer! Each participant will receive a soccer ball. View upcoming classes.
  • Junior Lakers Soccer: Grades Pre-K to 8
    Weekly clinics focus on individual and team soccer skills. Instruction, drills, and games will focus on dribbling, passing, shooting, defending, and offensive attacking skills. The clinics will be run by Future pros professional trainers and groups will be divided for skill level-appropriate training each week. Each player is required to bring their own balls, shoes, shin guards, and water for each class. View upcoming classes.
  • Lakers Soccer Academy: Grade 1-2
    The Lakers Academy is designed for players in grades 1-2. The emphasis of the Academy is to introduce the game of soccer in a fun, developmental environment. Academy members are taught the skills and fundamentals of the game through both practice and game situations. The winter program will meet once each week with Future Pros trainers, who are the same coaches for the rest of the Lakers travel teams. The Lakers Academy is a great way for your child to get a taste for travel soccer without the year long commitment. View upcoming classes.
  • Winter House Soccer League: Age 5-11
    This is a great opportunity for boys and girls to keep their soccer skills fresh during winter. Each week, players will work on a particular skill and then scrimmage at the end of class. This league is instructed by Future Pros trainers, the same trainers used by the Glen Ellyn Lakers travel teams. View upcoming classes.
  • Spring House Soccer League: Grade Pre-K to 10.
    House league soccer is a Glen Ellyn Park District program run with the assistance of Glen Ellyn Youth Soccer Organization (GEYSO). The program teaches soccer skills while promoting good sportsmanship, physical conditioning and having fun. There are nine age levels for boys and girls. The program relies solely on volunteer parents to coach and coordinate teams. View upcoming classes.