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At what age do you start your kids with soccer?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Family' started by lawrenceterp, Jun 19, 2007.

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  1. lawrenceterp

    lawrenceterp Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 2, 2006
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    I have a 3 year old. I'm playing with him in the back yard and he's actually had some lessons through his day care. What I'm wondering is when you do you start setting them up in a league? Around 5? That's what I'm guessing. He'll be four next year and that seems like it's a little too early but I'm not opposed to it if others are doing the same.
     


  2. Lizzie Bee

    Lizzie Bee Member+

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    Started at age 5 here, which is the earliest they start recreational soccer in our city league. It was hilarious watching it this year. Loved it.
     
  3. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator Staff Member

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    I know a guy who actually coached a U-5 team this spring. He had fun, and so did most of the kids. If he likes playing soccer and there's a U-5 league in your area, why not?
     
  4. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps organizing pick up games - no structure at all - with ten or so kids would be the way to start? Or even just invite a few kids over and give them a ball and something to substitute for a net. Let them figure out how to dribble etc.
     


  5. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I received an excerpt from Revolution in the Bleachers in my weekly SoccerAmerica Youth Soccer Insider last week (this feature has been ongoing for about two months; I quite enjoy it). A sample:

    "What's unique about the soccer phenomenon is that this "new" American sport went from being practically unknown to universally embraced within 10 or 15 years. Before soccer took hold, it was understood that there were some kids who played sports and some who didn't. A parent might watch for signs of athleticism when she threw the ball around with her child at a park when he was little and think, "I can see he's got a good arm. Maybe he'll be a good baseball player when he gets old enough for Little League."

    But soccer programs inspired such a lemming-like response that a majority of middle- and upper-middle-class parents sign their kids up for soccer at age 5, whether they are athletic or not. To not do it makes you or your child the odd person out. So now it's not just a sport, it's a tool of socialization.

    Recreational soccer also fills a gap created by grade school budget constraints and academic priorities that led to the cutting of physical education programs. In times past, kids got exercise, gained skills and learned individual sports in P.E. class. At one time, everything from croquet and badminton to baseball and basketball were taught as part of the regular school curriculum. Students would discover at school if they had a certain aptitude or passion for a sport, and might build their skills in class before ever going out for a team at school or in a recreational league."

    For more about the book, see the official website.
     
  6. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

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    This is really a problem with this beautiful game of ours: it's hard to pick it up competitively at a late age. If you don't learn it early, you're forever left behind. Otherwise the best you can hope for is Marvell Wynne's skillset.
     
  7. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion--I'll certainly check it out.

    And I have to say, I don't know what the hell it is my kid's school does in PE, but it sure doesn't sound like much fun. He hates it, and he's a pretty active kid who plays soccer, flag football, and plays outdoors a lot. They apparently do a lot of drills where the kids stand in a row and do sedentary "exercises." In 3rd grade.

    EDIT: I thought this sounded familiar--now that I've clicked on the link, I see that this is one of about 500 books I looked at yesterday at the ALA convention. And while I didn't have time to read any of it, it certainly looked interesting.
     
  8. roykeanes_safc

    roykeanes_safc Member

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    You start kids of at 5:eek: In England its very much playing with friends at that age and then to start teams at around 8 years old.
     
  9. billyireland

    billyireland Member+

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    Jumpers do fine. Ron Manager, jumpers for goalposts & all that :D. I'm 20 now, and we'll still use jumpers or a jumper and a tree or something if we're just having an off-the-cuff kickabout.

    Although I'm asusming I am pointing towards the obvious solution. :p
     
  10. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

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    5 in germany as well, even though there are practice sessions for kids younger than 5.
     
  11. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    {too embarrassed to ask the question "what's a jumper?", Ismitje consults an Irish web site . . . :eek: }

    Yes, indeed, jumpers will do fine. Just noticed how much kids enjoy the ball actually getting stopped by a net or something.
     
  12. Martininho

    Martininho Member

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    There may be "leagues", but my favorite definition came from the St. Louis area, where the game at that level is called "swarm ball".

    My daughter led the league in picked dandelions in her very first season...just like her daddy (pause to wipe small tear of pride from eye). ;)
     
  13. Lizzie Bee

    Lizzie Bee Member+

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    At age 5 here, it's called "Recreational Soccer." No goalkeepers, very simple rules, etc. I think you start competitive soccer at age 8 or so. :)
     
  14. owen41099

    owen41099 New Member

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    I suppose it very much depends on location. In Georgia, where I have coached U-6 and U-8, and will be coaching U-10 this coming fall, they start as young as 4 in some organizations. In the Midlands and Northwest of England, where I lived until the age of 12, we played playground and park football from about 5 also. By the age of 9 or 10, the primary schools and cub scout troups starting "recruiting" the more talented and athletic boys (and in those days, it truly was boys only) to play on the school team.

    I have to say, though, that the "unorganized" games on the school playground and local park were more regular and, probably as a result, a higher level than the equivalent American game. As I mentioned, I coach youth soccer. I don't claim to be a great coach, it's only my 3rd year of coaching, but during our once-a-week practices, I'd just let the boys kick about together for as long as possible. Occasionally, I'd introduce a skill or tactic for them to try, but I just wanted them to get used to playing with one another. From about half-way through the most recent Spring season, the team was undefeated and won the championship as well as winning a "champions league" mini-tournament against teams from the other side of the county. The most rewarding thing is, almost all of the boys have signed up to return to play in the fall.

    My point in telling you this is, no matter - at the youngest of ages - whether the activity is "organized" through a school or community league or "unorganized" with friends, siblings and (most importantly) parents and caregivers, it's just important to introduce the child to the sport as soon as you can, ensure he/she enjoys it, and the game "teaches" itself.
     
  15. BigGuy

    BigGuy Red Card

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    5 is fine practices should be limited to 1 hr per practice. Try to have them before outside influences can effect their attention span. So early morning is a good time.

    It has to be a lot of fun for players, coach and parents. You need the parents to get the kids to practice so if you can include parents with training do that. You might even create new coaches as well as players.

    You shoukld see my Grand daughters goal scoring celebration :)
     
  16. ctsoccer13

    ctsoccer13 Member

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    5 here as well. All fun, nothing serious. I think they do 5 v 5 with mini-goals (no goalies). I'll find out in about 2 1/2 years when my son turns 5.
     
  17. BigGuy

    BigGuy Red Card

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    You play with him in the mean time. I have soccer balls all over the house. I am 60 and I touch the ball all day long off and on. When my Grand daughter comes over she takes her watering can and waters the back yard plants and flowers. Then she goes on the computer on PBS and plays those games.

    Then we play soccer in the house and out of the house. Then we play board games and thern play more soccer. Then she blows bubbles in the back yard and she plays hop scotch the beginning of plyos.

    Then I take her to the park where she climbs the monkey bars and we play more soccer.

    Then we eat and watch Clifford and seseme street and play more soccer. Then more board games etc etc

    She helps keep me young.
     
  18. ctsoccer13

    ctsoccer13 Member

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    Soccerballs are everywhere in our house, as well as my parents house. My sister-in-law said that it's the only family she's ever met where kicking a ball in the house is encouraged and not something you get in trouble for doing.
     
  19. BigGuy

    BigGuy Red Card

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    Good on kicking the ball in the house.

    My two sons when they were little were able to dribble at a fast pace in the house and the ball hardly ever touched the furniture.
     
  20. firstshirt

    firstshirt Member+

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    my nephew starts in the town league in September. he will be 3 and a half. its a short 6 week season of 3-4 year olds
     
  21. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

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    Our town starts at U5, at which point its 1 hr /week on Saturday morning, 1/2 of that is "drills" which is really inventing ways to walk/run around with a soccer ball while trying to convince some of the kids to come play and get out of Mom's lap :rolleyes:

    When I coached this level, the the favorite games where:
    - red light green light, but with a ball
    - ducks and hunters cause I told them the "ducks" had to quack
    - pick up the yard, toss cones in every direction, lots of them, kids had to dribble ball over to a cone and ball had to touch the cone, then they picked up the cone, one with the most at the end wins.
    - follow the leader, you are the leader, weave in and out of the parents etc.

    During the "game" it was mob ball, 4 v 4, parents ring the field and their job is to keep teh ball on the field.

    We tried a U4 team, it didn't work so good.
     
  22. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

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    I coached my sons U5 here in the Chicago area and it was very, very similar except we had sharks and minnows instead of ducks and hunters. :D

    The whole idea is just to get them comfortable with a ball and have fun. No passing. No defense. No real structure.

    Of course, on my team, we had some little prima donas who refused to play within the team concept. Sure they wanted the ball, but they wouldn't commit to defense and the team would lose its shape when they go on mazy little runs. ;)
     
  23. Crimen y Castigo

    Crimen y Castigo Moderator Staff Member

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    One year old.

    Start any later and you may as well stick a bat in his hand and call him Mary.
     
  24. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

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    The kid's got no left foot. He'll never make it.

    ;)

    Seriously, that is awesome.

    I remember we were at a party when my son was 2. He started kicking a ball from the time he could pull himself upright. Down in the basement at that party, there was one of those rubbery light weight balls. One of the other parents came down and saw him. Standing about 5 feet away, this guy says, "can you kick the ball to me little fella?" while bending down to accept a slow roller.

    My kid backed up a couple of steps and sent a screamer right by this guys ear and crashing into the wall. The guy stood up and said, "Woah. I guess you can."

    :D
     
  25. Crimen y Castigo

    Crimen y Castigo Moderator Staff Member

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    Genetic, unfortunately.
     
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