WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR CHILD'S (AND YOUR) FIRST SOCCER EXPERIENCE
Soccer is a great activity that will bring you and your child great enjoyment. But at first, it can seem confusing - even overwhelming - if you have not been exposed to it before. It is important to have the right expectations going into that first season.
WSA provides recreational soccer programs, which means that we accept all kids regardless of their skill level or athletic ability. We want the kids to learn how to play the game, learn to work as a team, and to have fun in the process. It's imporant to remember that this program is about the kids and not the parents. Sure, as parents we can enjoy watching and we always look out for our kids. But please keep in mind that our programs - especially those meant for younger children - are all volunteer-based. Most of those volunteers are parents, just like you. These volunteers took the time to go through hours of required training and background checks to be able to help us provide these programs for your kids. These volunteers are working to make the program fun for the kids, trying to teach them the game, and always looking out for their safety. And often, they are like you, very new to the sport and are trying to learn the game themselves. Please be patient with them!
Parents who are not familiar with the rules of soccer should expect that it will take time for them to fully understand the game. Kids who start at a young age typically begin with modified rules and play on smaller fields with fewer players. That can sometimes confuse parents as kids age up and the more formal rules start to become enforced. Because of this, it isn't uncommon for it to take several years for parents to build a good understanding of the "laws of the game".
For parents who are looking for ways to learn the game, there are a lot of possibilities. Talk to the coach about what they are working on in practice and work on those activities in the yard at home. There are YouTube videos that can be helpful. Watching games on TV can be a good learning experience and bonding time with your kids. Maybe even take them to a game! The Cleveland Crunch is a professional team in the Major Arena Soccer League 2 and plays home games at the Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted. The Columbus Crew is a professional team that competes in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer and plays games near downtown Columbus. There are also two pro teams in Cincinnati (one in MASL2 and one in MLS). Not to mention the many, many college soccer teams throughout the region. Watching soccer helps you to learn about the rules and also how players interact with each other and their coaches.
To help your kids enjoy the game, try not to be too critical of their performance in a game. All you need to tell your kids is that you are proud of them for playing and that you love to watch them on the field! It's also helpful not to talk a lot about their future in soccer because we don't want them to feel pressured into playing. Most imporantly, remember that it's a game! Be patient with your kids, the coaches, and the refs. Let them have fun!