Those first pictures are adorable. The long loose pigtails that draped over her shoulders. The standard issue blue uniform. Number six, like seven other girls on the team. After all, that’s what happens when you get to pick your own number and you are six years old. The uniform shorts are so long that they reach and cover the tall socks that keep the shin guards in place.
Fast forward ten years later and the soccer number and uniform have changed, and if you called her adorable you would get quite the eye roll. She would rather be thought of as fierce. Her first high school tryouts are still two months away, but the elite club soccer schedule still has her practicing every day, training at soccer camps in the summer, traveling to tournaments on the weekends, Lots of tournaments. Indoors during the winter so that she can play year round. The list of soccer summer camps to select from for the summer is attached to the refrigerator by a soccer magnet.
Even though it is ten years since this soccer frenzy began, you can still remember the turning point. When she was eight and several of her friends decided to try dance or gymnastics, your daughter just shook her head. She did not need to try anything else. She knew that soccer was her thing. Her passion. Would become her life. Following the advice of a friend whose daughter was several years older and far into the soccer world, you signed your daughter up for the first of many soccer camps. That next year, for the first time, she played “up.” On a team with girls a year older, your daughter really got her start, training with better players, more serious coaches, and longer schedules.
Serious soccer players, even at the youngest age levels, search for the best seasonal programs that are available throughout the year. Especially searching for six to eight week intense training blocks designed to build better individual player, even younger athletes will practice late into the evening or travel on weekends to get the level of training they want.
The best players have mastered many of the skills and have moved on to looking at why, when, and where to apply those skills. The most unique soccer coaching that employs the specific Advanced International Training Curriculum can challenge and motivate players on a daily basis. Teams and individual players immersing themselves in a soccer culture designed to maximize their potential are often the young women who capture the limited number of spots on their high school teams.
In addition to the love of the game, soccer is a sport that demands running, walking, sprinting, and jumping, often for a full ninety minute practice as a way to increasing a player’s endurance. Endurance that transfers into other activities as well as a healthy lifestyle.
To understand the impact of the sport of soccer, consider the following statistics:
- 284,000 American boys play high school soccer
- 209,000 American girls play high school soccer
- 11 million American children and adults attend some kind of soccer camp, including summer camps and training camps
- 250 million athletes in over 200 countries play soccer
- 433 college soccer scholarships are available to males every year
- 806 college soccer scholarships are available to females every year
- There are 350 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s soccer coaches
- There 480 NCAA women’s soccer coaches
The numbers are staggering, and it doesn’t take long to realize that if your high school athlete wants to rise to the top of the millions of soccer players in this country and capture the attention of the limited number of college coaches, he or she is going to have to be exceptional. The players who reach the top level of this sport have a few things in common. They are driven, they attend the best soccer camps, they work with the best coaches, and, perhaps most importantly, they train year round.
Whether a young athlete is playing soccer as a way to be with friends and stay fit, or whether that athlete has dreams of playing at the collegiate level and has been training at soccer camps every summer, soccer is a sport that teaches lifelong skills about teamwork and physical fitness.