Kid start to play soccer

What is the Best Age to Start Soccer Career?

Are you a parent who dreams of your child scoring the winning goal in a soccer game? Who isn’t!?  Soccer scouting and recruiting today have become surreal where coaches ask 5 years old about their experience before they can join the team. You’re probably wondering what the best age for kids to start playing soccer is. Well, it’s time to lace up your cleats and create the next soccer superstar to follow! Get ready to kick because we’re about to give you the lowdown on the perfect age to start playing soccer!

Let’s Start Kicking: Best Age for Kids to Play Soccer!

If you’re eager to get your child into soccer, you might be wondering when you should start. The answer is simple: as soon as they can walk! That’s right, there’s no such thing as being too young to start playing soccer. Even toddlers can benefit from playing with a soccer ball and developing their motor skills. Plus, it’s never too early to start cultivating a love for the beautiful game.

We talked about the importance to create soccer motor skills with and without technology. Furthermore, it is even more important to make sure that the love of the game starts early. Also, you allow time for it to grow over time. There is no point, or reason, to avoid soccer and then pick a time for it before getting serious. Give time for the kids to fall in and out of love with activities and let them grow organically.

Little Feet, Big Dreams: Ideal Time to Begin Soccer Training

Now that you know there’s no minimum age for playing soccer, you might be wondering when your child should start receiving formal training. Experts recommend starting soccer lessons around the age of 4 or 5 years old. We have seen how coaches berate adult players and we have seen how they encourage them. John Wooden had about 2/3 of his coaching being instructional, and he was coaching at the college level. When they are 5 years old, probably 99% is encouragement and celebration. There is very little organization and structure on the soccer field. However, kids are able to follow instructions and have developed enough coordination to be able to kick a ball around. Plus, training at this age can help build a strong foundation of skills that will serve them well as they grow older. 

Early Bird Gets the Goal

While there’s no set age for kids to start playing soccer, many coaches agree that starting at a young age can give players a competitive edge. By the time the soccer players are 8 or 9 years old, kids who have been playing soccer for a few years will have some technical foundation of skills. Then will be better equipped to play at a higher level in a team setting. It is not random that this is the age when they start playing in teams of 7 players on the field. Before that, there are only 4 players in a fluid structure. Additionally, starting early can help develop a love for the game that will last a lifetime.

Score a Goal for Fun and Learning: Perfect Age to Start Soccer

When it comes down to it, the perfect age to start playing soccer is whenever your child is interested and ready to start. Whether they’re 2 or 12, as long as they’re having fun and learning, that’s all that matters. If they show soccer talent at very early age, that’s great. But don’t worry if they don’t – not all flowers bloom on the same day! Soccer is a sport that can be enjoyed at any age, so don’t worry too much about when to start. Just get out there and start kicking!

Whether you’re a parent or a coach, we hope this article has given you some insight into the best age for kids to start playing soccer. Get the right gear even when it’s raining or cold, and make sure the kids have fun playing soccer. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start playing soccer. Joining a team to learn or just pick up games to have fun, go for it! Grab a ball, lace up your cleats, and get ready to score some goals!

How to be a good soccer dad?

What a good soccer dad will tell the other soccer dads?

Whenever a fellow coach comes to complain about behavior by a parent, I remind them that, although not on the roster, the parents are part of the team. It’s the players, the parents, and the coaches that form the winning triangle. The coaches spend around 5 hours with the players each week, while the parents spend double and tripple digits, so if the link between the parent and the coach, or the link between the parents and the player is broken, then there is no quality bond between the player and the coach that will fix that. This is the advice I give to a parent on how to be a good soccer dad even before they join the team.

Don’t coach over the coach

…in public. You might know soccer better than the coach, but you don’t want to put the player in a position to take sides. One of my coaches’ sons plays on a different team in the club, and while his father is very vocal as a coach, he is peculiarly silent when his son is playing and he is watching from the sidelines. In fact, the does that on purpose, to make sure that his son doesn’t feel the extra pressure (some of which he already does) from his father being a coach in the club.

Should you coach in private? It’s your call, but very young players already understand the dynamics of public discourse vs. private conversation, and you don’t want the player to carry that burden. If you really have a passion for coaching, you can always join as an assistant coach for your kid’s team or even be the head coach. But if you are neither, then just be the soccer parent.

Don’t complain

…about playing time or position. I am sure you came to see your kid play more and score all the goals of the game for both teams, but the playing time and the playing positions are not the sources of the problem. Usually, it’s one of these issues – your kid behaves badly at practice or is playing too badly in a tight game, or is too good to play in a game that is already won (other kids need playing time). Whichever it is, talk to the player first to understand why they think there is a problem, then talk to the coach outside of the game and ask questions on how to fix this. I have never seen a good outcome of a conversation that starts with “You should play him/her as a striker, not as a right back; another coach told me he can score many goals”.

Avoid being overly critical

…of the outcome: In the book, The Talent Code, they show an example of one of the greatest coaches of all time, John Wooden, where he coaches with very little encouragement or discouragement (less than 7% each) and most of it is informational. I have rarely seen a player that doesn’t know when they have done something right and when they have done something wrong, so being critical of the outcome and not the effort is rarely fruitful.

Be a good sport

Soccer is a game, and it’s important to remember that. Encourage good sportsmanship and fair play, and teach your child to respect their opponents and the referees. The last thing you want is for your kid to be thinking about how you might behave instead of how they play. If they want to play soccer, they will have a competitive spirit that will tempt them to bend the rules and even push themselves beyond something that is good sportsmanship. It is your job to prevent harm and injuries, not be the reason for them.

Partner with another good soccer dad

In the lower leagues, I often see parents come to the bench and usually dads just hanging out, trying to look helpful. More often than not, they are not, because players don’t need them. If you are needed, you will be called. Instead, ask your daughter/son who they think is a good soccer dad and just hang out with them. Your children will thank you for that.

Enjoy the experience

Youth soccer is about more than just winning games. It’s an opportunity for your child to develop important life skills, make friends, and have fun. As a soccer dad, try to enjoy the experience and celebrate your child’s achievements along the way. I have seen some incredible stories where parents who met on the sidelines ended up having business relationships afterward – one case was when one mother was a recruiter for a big corporation and another father was the work profile she was working for. Another case was when one family decided to hire another father to remodel their home. I also cannot keep track of all the get-togethers my players’ families have had in the past because of their kids’ friendships.

How to choose the soccer team to join?

What to do with multiple offers?

Soccer tryouts can be a fun, but also frustrating experience. I already talked about how to run it as a coach/club and how to succeed as a player. Assuming you have done well and you have several offers, how do you choose which one to take? Do you join the best soccer team? Do you join the team where you will be the star? Do you join the team with the best coach? Do you join the team with the best facilities? Do you take into account the finances?

I will give advice to the players, as they need to make the decision. However, parents and coaches can benefit greatly from understanding the business of the club and the psychology behind these thoughts. Parents should consider all of these points to help the players make the right decision, while coaches should understand them in order to keep their best players on the team and also not keep players that will drag the team back, often to no fault of their own.

5 things to consider when choosing to join a soccer team

1. Will I get plenty of playing time?

If you are not sure if you will get enough playing time… run as far away as you can! There should be competition within the team and that is healthy. However, if you try your best and you are not sure that you will get playing time unless there is a sickness or an injury, you should not accept the spot on the team unless you are getting paid an extraordinary amount of money to do so. A story from a player – he was a returning player, offered a spot by his coach with the words “the 20th player even though we usually have only 18”. What is the point to take a spot if you know you won’t play? Knowing that you have 10 years to reach college or professional level, from 8 to 18, would you spend a year sitting on the bench?

2. Am I pushed to perform better?

Being a star on any team can be great for your self-confidence. However, no matter how mature you are, there is no way you will develop as well as you could if you are not in a competitive environment. Likely you will become arrogant, and lazy and will not develop the muscle to overcome tough challenges. Furthermore, you will need to find the right soccer position in a competitive team and not just roam freely everywhere because of physical or technical superiority.

3. Is this a supportive environment?

This is usually connected to the culture that the coach has set. You have to be able become the best version of yourself as a soccer player. There are coaches that are technically and tactically excellent, but their ability to create an environment where players support each other instead of bullying each other is missing. I would say that over half of the coaches I have met don’t have this under control and think there is nothing they can do, but that is not true. Be careful when you observe them at tryouts and if possible at games – both boys and girls can cause serious emotional harm to their teammates, as well as parents being obsessed with winning.

4. Can learn from the coaches?

Almost always there is something to learn from the coaches. The first filter is to see if the coaches are interested in giving that knowledge to you and are not scrolling on their phones during practices – I’ve seen that hundreds of times, setting the drill and getting on their phones. Assuming that’s true, you need to understand if those things are relevant in the world of soccer – the best way to find out is to have a chat with them after the tryouts: which position did you play? which position do you think I should play? what is the strength of our team? What is the main focus of the upcoming season?

5. Am I paying the appropriate amount for what I am getting?

This one is hard to determine and it’s not something you can easily address when you choose to join a soccer team. However, the truth is that many clubs that make money on youth soccer only operate in a way where for each age group there are several teams, let’s call them Martians A through Martians F. What usually happens is that each player pays the same. However, the best facilities, the best coaches, and the best opportunities to improve. For example, larger funds for tournaments, frequent practices, traveling, go to the A team. More blatantly, B through F usually funds the A team. Now, are you paying too much if you are offered a spot on the Martians B or Martians F? That’s up to you to decide.