Here are some tips on how to make your child’s 4 and under soccer experience better for everyone:

  • Realize that your 3 or 4 year old isn’t going to be good at soccer. If he/she can even just kick the ball, or even participate at all, that’s an accomplishment.
  • Not all kids are happy all of the time. If your child is crying, don’t drag them out onto the field and hold them there. Just let them sit it out while things calm down.
  • Cleats. Really? What do you think they are going to accomplish? Will cleats make your kid kick the ball towards the opposing teams net instead of his own? Will cleats improve his hand-eye coordination so that he actually makes contact with the ball for every attempt? I don’t think so. Your kid runs around on your lawn all the time and has no problem with it, why would a soccer field be any different? All they are going to do is give puncture wounds to other kids.
  • Shin guards. Congratulations at being able to get those on without a lot of screaming and yelling. It’s too bad they aren’t actually going to help much as the shins are the last place that will get hurt. Most of the owies that I’ve seen are from 2 kids running head-on into each other at full speed. That is usually head-to-head contact. The second one is when a kid falls over on the field and gets trampled on by 3 or 4 other kids (some who wear cleats).
  • Even though they tell you that parents are allowed on the field at any time, don’t do the drills for your kid, let him do them, that’s the only way he’ll learn.
  • All kids are going to get hurt at some point during the season, some of the collisions might actually be quite funny. Try not to let the kids see you laughing or else the other kids will start imitating. We don’t want them to qualify for the Italian team just yet.
  • When it comes to snack time, don’t be too picky about what the treats are. Let your kid have the sugary stuff, they will burn off the calories.
  • If you see a kid that’s acting hyper, it’s probably because they are excited about being at soccer. They do not have a food allergy that is only diagnosable by a chiropractor pushing down on his arm while reading out things like “Yellow #8”. Yes, I did roll my eyes, but at least I restrained myself from making quacking noises.
  • You may have to bring a younger sibling to the practise, however, please keep the toddlers off the field. It may be cute when a 16 month old tries to chase the ball, but it isn’t cute when they get trampled by a bunch of kids wearing cleats.
  • Realize that your 3 or 4 year old isn’t going to be good at soccer. Look at what the other kids are doing, they aren’t going well either. In fact, it can be quite funny. Enjoy yourself and your kid will too.