Our daughter just completed her fourth rec soccer season. It has been a lesson in patience many times, but also an enjoyable learning experience.
Now at the U8 level for her second season, we are finally seeing a real understanding of the game. Why and when to pass, how to protect your goal as a defender, how to play goalie, and the most critical concepts of offense and defense, for example. She attended a 5-day British Soccer Camp this summer which really honed her skills that she took to the field this fall. It has been fun to cheer her team on during Saturday games because they are finally real games!
Are you thinking of soccer for your little kids?
Here is a recap of the fun (and giggles) you will likely experience at the early levels...
Amelia began when she was just about to turn five.
U5 = Under age 5 & U6 = Under age 6.
(1) Understanding body parts -- "No hands!" will be an overused phrase. I don't know how many times a U5 kid saw a ball coming near, and just bent down to pick it up. This, of course, was often followed by a proud glance to the sidelines. "Mom! I got the ball!"
(2) Having goals -- Expect kids to go towards any goal - or any object that looks like a goal - at first, and with gusto. Regardless of the direction or on what field such structure may be placed.
(3) Teamwork -- Imagine a gaggle of geese chasing food someone is pulling around with a string; that is what U6 soccer players look like when a ball is on the field. One big clump of players, all sticking a foot or leg here and there, chasing down the same round object. Despite efforts to explain the team concept, it's 100% every kid for himself out there. Once, a ball rolled onto our field from an adjacent game and the entire clump of players went after that ball instead.
(4) Shapes -- The round shape is a ball. Do not be surprised, however, if the ball is the least of their concerns. Grass can be interesting. Weather can be distracting (too cold, too hot, a slight drizzle, even a breeze). If an airplane flies overhead, forget about it. You may as well postpone the game. Our field is next to a railroad track and a small airport; you can imagine the havoc that ensued with ten four-year-olds in the midst of a "game" when both a train and a plane passed at the same time!
(5) Friendship -- Sometimes, girls just gotta hold hands. A soccer field, while in the middle of an actual U6 game, is as good a time as any, right? Skipping may sometimes follow hand-holding. Or possibly a tickle fight. Yep... during a game.
See? It can be fun at any level. Just know what to expect and cheer them on!
Linked up to Mommy and Me Monday (with our impromptu family photo from the field!) with Really, Are You Serious