It can sometimes seem like there are as many sports in the world as there are stars in the sky. Most cultures and countries have their own home sports, and different sports focus on and reinforce different skills and attributes, whether team sports or individual sports. With so many options to choose from, there’s something out there for everyone, although sometimes with all the options out there, it can be daunting.
In America, the most dominant sport is football, followed closely by baseball. Both sports are marked by their rigid time structures and the presence of an offensive and defensive side that switches at predetermined intervals. In the rest of the world, however, and that’s every country apart from the United States, another sport reigns supreme. In fact, the rest of the world even calls it football. Here in the States, it’s known as soccer.
The sport of soccer is unlike most other popular sports in America, both in terms of how it’s played, and how it unites and inspires communities. For one, the game is played in two 45-minute halves, for a total of 90 minutes of game time.
Players spend the playing time of the game running back and forth on the field after the ball, and any player can score a goal at any time by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s goal. This makes soccer an exciting, fast-paced game, where possession of the ball changes hands many times, and a goal can happen suddenly and unexpectedly.
Making the choice to play on a soccer team has many benefits, physical, mental, emotional, and social, that help you both on the field and off, in your day to day life. Whether you’re unfamiliar with the sport or you’re a fan looking to get into it, why not learn about the various positives of becoming a soccer player and joining the international community in playing the world’s game?
- Soccer is unlike most other sports in that the action never stops.
- being a fan or player will automatically induct you into a larger global community around you.
As for Chris, in his first weeks at our international soccer academy in Nürnberg we saw many strong qualities in him and game composure and consistency that gave us the confidence in him to arrange the opportunity to trial with SG Quelle Fürth. He is a tall, strong, quick and team player that really enjoys the game. He is a possession player, and guarantees accurate passing. The right footer comes to Germany with USA Olympic Development Program U18 team experience and also international experience with various teams and programs in England.
It should go without saying that one of the most obvious benefits of playing a sport is increased physical fitness. In a world where the majority of Americans are overweight or obese, maintaining physical activity is important. Soccer is great exercise, and it provides an excellent full body workout that provides for everything the body needs.
The average soccer player runs five to seven miles over the course of the game, alternating between jogging, running, and sprinting at a moment’s notice as the need arises. This not only improves aerobic capacity but cardiovascular health as well, strengthening and protecting the heart and lowering the risks of heart disease.
Additionally, the constant turning, twisting, changing direction, jumping, and kicking that a player goes through chasing after the ball and jockeying for position both strengthens the muscles and increases bone density. This can prevent bone loss later in life and protect from injuries.
Team sports build self-esteem and confidence in a way unlike many other activities. By applying yourself, putting in effort, and seeing your work come to fruition through victory on the field, your confidence will grow. With the effort that comes in improving a skill and developing your abilities, it will pay dividends in every facet of your life as you feel more relaxed and equipped to handle whatever it is life throws at you.
Additionally, the physical benefits of increased exercise, such as a leaner physique and improved posture, will foster a better self-image and serve to increase confidence as well.
DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS AND CAMARADERIE
Due to the nature of team sports, you’ll be working constantly and closely alongside your peers, learning to function together as a unit. This will naturally foster a sense of closeness and serve to build strong relationships that last and last. Because soccer players have to work together for a full 90-minute stretch on both offense and defense, they come to rely on each other more than teammates in other sports do.
Youth players also frequently have the opportunity to attend soccer camps or soccer academy schools and spend time immersed in soccer with like-minded and similarly aged players. Because soccer isn’t nearly as popular—yet—in the United States as other sports, this automatically makes the soccer community that much more tight-knit and welcoming, meaning that the friendships forged over soccer are that much stronger.
Improved Critical Thinking and Leadership Skills
Soccer is unlike most other sports in that the action never stops. The game is split into two 45-minute halves, during which the ball is constantly in play. Contrasted with football, where the coach communicates each play to the quarterback, who then relays it to the team, or baseball, where each player is coached on whether to try to walk or hit before their at-bat, soccer players are largely left on their own to determine their order of play.
This need for players to rely on themselves and the other players encourages a healthy balance of self-reliance while still allowing them to work together as a team. The game of soccer can change at a moment’s notice, and players need to be able to act and react accordingly. This uncertainty and the corresponding ability to think quickly to switch from offense to defense immediately brings the ability to think on your feet and form a plan of action on the fly. This translates well to all areas of life outside the game, as well, and the skills learned on the soccer pitch will serve you nicely.
Expand Worldly Horizons
Since soccer is an internationally celebrated game, being a fan or player will automatically induct you into a larger global community around you. Whether you only play at the local level or find yourself attending an international soccer academy, you’ll find soccer is truly the world’s game. A knowledge of soccer teams and skill in playing will bring with it a shared cultural touchstone that you can use to find acceptance anywhere in the world.
While fans of American football might find themselves hopelessly out of place when outside the country, due to the sport’s non-existent popularity outside the borders, a soccer fan will have quite the opposite experience.
You could find yourself in any bar, market, or cafe anywhere in the world, and could sit down with anyone and start talking about soccer with them. While a football fan might be quiet about their team allegiance, due to fiercely held loyalties, there is no such thing in soccer. Since there are so many soccer clubs around the world, from neighborhood associations all the way up to national teams, attention is too spread out to be so deeply held as to foster resentment.
Being on a soccer team reinforces the value of hard work and encourages careful dedication. By applying oneself in practice and studying the larger aspects of the game and the other team, one finds they can produce consistent results in terms of good performances and victory on the field. Playing on a team also teaches effective time management, as players must balance their commitments to the team with their obligations to school, family, and friends.
Players might also find that their dedication takes them to new heights, opening doors and creating opportunities that they never dreamed were possible before. For example, the chance to attend a soccer academy school will, no doubt, excite young players, and the experience of attending one is unlike the experiences that other sports can offer.
IFX Soccer specializes in connecting young players to soccer programs all over the world. Contact us today for more information.
Choose the best international soccer immersion program combining international education and football!
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