What Age Should My Kid Start Playing Soccer? (And how to get started)

The best age to start playing soccer? There is no definitive answer to this question as each child develops at different rates and will have varying levels of interest in other activities. If your child shows a keen interest in the game and can focus and follow instructions, they may be ready to start playing from a young age.

What is the best age to start playing soccer?

6 to 9 years old seems to be the best age to start playing soccer. Recreational camps and community-based sessions are great entry points.

Soccer is an excellent game for developing basic motor skills and coordination, while also getting children used to being part of a team. If your child shows a keen interest in the game then they may be ready to start playing in a more competitive environment from around the age of six. Ultimately, the best way to gauge whether your child is ready to start playing soccer is to chat with their coaches and seek their opinion on how they are progressing.

Best Age for Kids to Start Playing Soccer?

I have created a timeline for the best ages to start playing soccer.

Ages 1-3:

The greatest sport for them may not be soccer or any other team sport. Your child is still finding their bearings at this age; they don’t need as much structure and they will have a short attention span.

A structured environment at such a young age may stifle their ability to be creative. Getting your child involved may not carry much long-term benefit in terms of skill development. As a parent, you can try to increase their interest in the game.

We advise initiating your child to soccer at home when they are 1-3 years old. Show them some fundamentals, but keep it unstructured; simply pass the ball back and forth, shoot at goals, and have races.

Ages 3-6:

Knowing your child is crucial when they are at the younger end of this age range. If you feel that your child’s attention span has increased and they have expressed a desire to play soccer, now might be a good time to enroll them into a fun soccer camp.

Although it is still too early to anticipate a major level of athletic development, participating in soccer can have other advantages that can be valuable to a young child. Getting your child involved in soccer helps them become a part of that community and culture. I have included a link to an article on this site with some basic drills.

Ages 6-9:

The best age to start playing soccer seems to be in this age range. If your child has shown an interest in soccer, now is a perfect time to get them started. In fact, research suggests that starting sports for kids at this age may be beneficial. Your child should have a good attention span, improved vision, and coordination, and hopefully, be willing to share by the time they are 6 to 9 years old.

Children of this age can grasp the idea of being part of a team. They can see how they can add value by being a team player and functioning as a team. By joining your child in a formal soccer club, they can start learning the essential soccer skills. This comes at a time when they can truly be understood, retained, and improved upon.

It is important to introduce soccer as something you do for fun, to make friends, and be part of a group of people with similar interests. Doing this can get your child on a really good track in the future. At this age, a child can begin to see the benefits of their soccer efforts and understand what competition is. I have linked an article from this site that shows some fundamental skills.

Ages 9-12

9-12 years old is a good age to get into playing soccer. Just before they turn into teenagers. Technology is likely to play a big part in your child’s social time. Your child is likely to have pals from both school and the internet at this age. It is so simple for your kid to get sucked into the habit of video games and television. Soccer is the ideal cure to get them active.

While your child undoubtedly cherishes the friendships they have at school, getting engaged in soccer at this age can widen their social network. From ages 9 to 12, children can acquire important character traits including leadership, teamwork, and communication, all of which are transferable to other areas of their lives.

Kids in this age group are just coming into their own and gaining their confidence; playing soccer can help them mature as players. Sports tactics can be understood, remembered, and built upon at this age, so it’s crucial that your child learns them now, before growing stronger and maybe hurting themselves.

In general, children who start playing soccer between the ages of 9 and 12 can develop important technical skills before the game becomes really competitive. I have linked an article from this site that provides a range of drills for kids of this age.

Tips to get started

The best age to start playing soccer is 6-9 years old. You might want to sample the game and it might be best to start at home. Playing soccer with children can be a lot of fun and it can help them develop their motor skills and coordination. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Choose the right soccer ball. Children’s soccer balls are not as big as adult soccer balls, so it is important to select one that is the right size for your child. Some balls are designed for children up to age 8, while others are for children up to 12. The right size ball helps with control and ball striking. These are important beginner skills.
  • Set up a basic soccer goal. If you don’t have a soccer goal already, you can buy one at a store or you can make one from a piece of wood or plastic. One of the best parts of the game is scoring goals. Having a net on the goal makes the feeling much better.
  • Pick the right footwear. Soccer requires lots of changes of direction so children need, trainers or boots (cleats) that allow sufficient grip on the surface being used. Slips, trips, and falls can be off-putting for new starters.

5 tips to help you teach soccer to your child

These essential tips can help you get your child started playing soccer. If you keep these things in mind they can be beneficial for your children’s enjoyment of the game.

Tip 1: Start with the basics and keep it simple. Children have short attention spans and are easily overwhelmed, so start with the basic rules of the game and gradually introduce more complicated concepts. Help them master the ball using different parts of the foot to move it in different directions.

Tip 2: Use fun drills and games to keep kids engaged. Children learn best when they are having fun, so make sure your practices are enjoyable. Introduce games that allow them to dribble the ball and shoot. These games are fun and teach the basic concept of the game.

Tip 3: Encourage teamwork and sportsmanship. Soccer is a team sport, so it’s important to emphasize the importance of working together and being good sports. Encourage your child to share or lend the ball to teammates. The earlier children can grasp this concept it will help them to become good decision-makers.

Tip 4: Be patient. Children learn at different speeds, so be patient and don’t get frustrated if some kids seem to be picking up the game faster than others. Each player is unique so an expectation you have for one player will be totally different for another. Be patient with this idea. Support the player.

Tip 5: Keep it positive. Reward good effort and positive attitude, and avoid criticizing kids for their mistakes. Keep the information specific. if you are telling them ‘good’ what was good about what they have done? Praise their effort and commitment as opposed to their outcomes.

Benefits of playing soccer for children

When trying to figure out the best age to start playing soccer, a person should consider the benefits of playing the game. There are many benefits to playing soccer for children. Soccer helps children develop coordination, endurance, and teamwork.

It also helps children develop social skills and make friends. Soccer is a great way for children to stay active and healthy. There are other benefits but I feel the ones suggested below are great reasons to get a child to play soccer. The benefits of playing soccer are summarised below.

Boost Fitness

One of the most evident advantages of soccer for kids? It is a fantastic workout. Soccer games practices and drills provide a fantastic cardiovascular workout for your child. Balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility are also enhanced. A physically fit son or daughter will have the energy to attack and defend whether that be scoring a goal or making a last-ditch tackle. Health-fit children are happy to sprint up and down the field.

Playing soccer is a great method to burn off the extra energy that youngsters always seem to have. They may be able to better manage their stress, rage, and other negative feelings that they might not otherwise be able to express.

Lessen Screen Time

Another effective strategy to lessen your kids’ reliance on technology and screen time is through soccer and other sports. Every third person who uses the Internet is under the age of 18, so any activity that gets them outside and moving around is worthwhile. Soccer is often structured into training and games so a child’s week can be balanced between getting enough physical activity and/or playing computer games.

Effort and Commitment

Soccer teaches young players perseverance and teamwork. Have you heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work” before? You’re about to, then. If a child doesn’t play a team sport, learning the value of teamwork can be one of the most challenging things for them to achieve.

What specific advantages does teamwork provide in soccer, then? collaborating and coordinating to accomplish a specific goal. Developing mutual trust and confidence that each team member will do their share to help the team as a whole succeed. The need to show up and give your best effort even when you are not quite feeling at your best.

Social Skills

Social skills and more are taught through soccer. All children are different and progress at various rates, across a squad of players the ability levels differ greatly. Children will learn patience, kindness, and sharing as they need each other to make progress in the game. They see through collaboration that they can make improvements to their game by encouraging and supporting each other.

Encouragement of one another is essential when participating in a team sport, especially when things are difficult. It might be challenging for more seasoned or naturally athletic players to play on a squad with young players who are just beginning their soccer careers. They can gain kindness and an understanding of the value of giving everyone a chance to shine through this experience.

Children can make lots of new friends from playing soccer. These friendships often extend beyond the game. Even if the child is not friends with every player in the squad they develop the ability to get along.

Another advantage of playing soccer, especially for new players, is increased self-esteem. They start to realize the impact that persistence and practice can have as they develop their abilities and gain support from teammates and coaches.

Player-to-Parent Relationships

Soccer gives parents the chance to assist. As a parent or guardian of a child, you can assist their development and grow your own relationships at the same time. Players and parents can enjoy the journey and experiences together.

The temptation is to shout instructions and get overly involved to try and push them ahead. My advice is to sit back and watch them grow and improve. Share their successes and be there for their setbacks. Always remember that it is their journey, not yours. You are there to be proud of the effort and commitment they demonstrate.

Your child will get confidence and self-assurance via such relationships. Their gameplay will improve as a result of the support they have from you. They know that they can mess up and you will be there for them when they do.

In Summary

The best age to start playing soccer seems to be 6-9 years of age. The reason for this is the growth and maturity of the child. Their bodies are able physically to cope with the demands of the game and their brains are ready to learn and retain new skills.

Competitive soccer also starts from around the age of 6 when players can learn to be part of a team who practices each week and play in leagues against teams of similar ability. The format of the game at this age is 3v3 up to 7v7 (depending on which part of the world you are from). The game formats are played in reduced playing spaces to maximize player involvement.

Playing 11v11 too soon can hinder player development. It is therefore important to place your child into an environment where players are taught to love the game and receive good coaching. The best environment for a child is one in which player development is prioritized over development.

Frequent Questions

Is soccer good for a 3-year-old?

Children as young as three will get valuable life skills from playing soccer. Youngsters that play soccer develop their strength and cardiovascular health. Playing soccer will help young children’s cognitive brains develop. The listening abilities of 3-year-olds will increase through soccer play. Just be careful not to specialize too early and empathize with fun over anything else.

What age is too late to start soccer?

If you want to become a professional soccer player then history suggests that players should always start young and devote as much time to the sport as they can before they turn 16 years old. However, if you just want to play soccer for fun and social reasons, it is never really too late.

Is soccer an easy sport to learn?

Soccer is a fun, engaging, and simple game to learn. The concept of kicking the ball into a goal to outscore your opponent is easy to grasp. The rules, pitch size, and playing format can be adapted to suit different age groups and the scoring system is straightforward, making it a perfect game for kids of any age.