What to Know About Your Child’s First Season of Soccer
Children’s Soccer – Surviving the First Season
Is this your first season as a soccer parent? Congrats! You’ve started your child on journey filled with fun, friendship, and enduring lessons, and we’re so pleased that you’ve chosen Preston GM Langley FC as your first club. But, before your son or daughter steps on to the field there’s a few things you should know to help them get the most out of the experience. Please note that this post is aimed at parents of 5-9 year old boys and girls registered in our recreational program – older children starting soccer for the first time may have different needs and expectations, and four year olds have their own special children’s soccer program.
What Does You Child Need to Bring?
In general, there’s a short list of things that need to be brought to every game and practice:
- Proper-fitting soccer boots (cleats)
- Shin guards
- A water bottle
- Proper athletic wear (team kit for games, weather-appropriate active wear for practices)
- A great attitude
In cold weather you may also want to send gloves and a toque (no scarves please). Rainy outdoor practices might benefit from a rain jacket.
What to Expect at Practices
At this young age practices are the number one way that players improve their soccer skills. Our coaches try to have players spend the majority of practice time with a ball at their feet, teaching them all the fundamentals they need for a long soccer career; dribbling, passing, shooting, ball control etc. A typical practice is organized like so:
- Short warm-up
- Some basic agility/body movement drills
- Technical training (shooting, passing, dribbling drills)
- Small-sided games
Here’s a few tips for getting the most out of practices:
- Be sure to arrive on time! Missing warm-up pulls your child out of the routine, and can throw them off for the rest of the session.
- Don’t let your child choose their own water breaks; the coach will indicate when everyone will get a break and if your child wanders away for a drink during a drill or instruction it can be disruptive for everyone.
- Practicing in the sun? Make sure you arrive early enough to apply sunscreen.
- Practicing at home? Great! Be sure to have your child practice with a proper soccer ball that is sized for their age group.
- Your child’s coach could probably use a hand out there. Even if you’re not knowledgeable about soccer you can still help out by shagging balls, picking up cones, or helping set up a drill. The less time your coach spends on those activities, the more time they can focus on actually coaching!
What to Expect during Games
If practices are where skills are developed, games are where the best memories are made. At these age levels the games are all about getting kids comfortable in a game environment and learning how to play as a team. We don’t keep scores, there are no standings or tables, and there aren’t any champions at the end of the season. Our club is committed to building life-long soccer players, and the best way to do that is to ensure the games at this age level are fun and fair.
You will be informed at the beginning of the season as to your child’s game schedule. For most players in our club that will mean a game sometime on Saturday mornings. The majority of our games will take place at our home field, Willoughby Community Park, although this may change.
A few frequently asked questions about games:
- Q: What time should I be at the field?
- A: Your coach will let you know your game time but they will likely want to run a warm-up beforehand, so be sure to arrive when the coach requests
- Q: Will the game be cancelled if it’s raining?
- A: We would never deprive kids of the joy of children’s soccer in the rain! So no, we generally do not cancel soccer if it’s raining. In cases of severe weather or frozen fields we may be forced to cancel matches. The best way to learn about cancellations is to check our Facebook page; click here and “Like” our page to make sure you never miss any announcements.
- Q: How long do games last?
- A: It all depends on the child’s age, but games last about an hour on average .
- Q: How is playing time divided among the team?
- A: At these age levels all kids will play as equally as possible, and they will also rotate through all the various positions on the field.
- Q: Will we have to travel to other cities for games?
- A: At the younger ages there is little to no travel. As players get older there may be interlock play with other cities, but they are normally within the Fraser Valley.
How to Be an Awesome Soccer Parent
We all want what’s best for our kids, and that includes supporting them to be their best on the soccer pitch. Here’s a few tips that should give you some guidance on how to be an awesome soccer parent:
- Soccer doesn’t have cheerleaders, so we need parents to do the job! Be sure to be positive and to cheer on your child’s team during games
- Your child’s coach should be the only one giving instructions to players; no matter how badly you want your child to “shoooooooot!” it’s best just to keep it to yourself.
- Make sure you’re on time for all team events! This shows respect to the coaches and other players, and it also teaches your own child about responsibility.
- Consider volunteering with the club. Without parent volunteers our club could not survive and we can always use a hand. From coaching, to coordinating photo day, to being a team parent, to helping with our club raffle, there’s plenty of ways to get involved.
- Finally, tell all your friends about your experiences at the club. The more of your child’s friends that play the happier they will be!
We at Preston GM Langley FC are so happy to have your child here at our club. As the premier destination for Langley youth soccer we know many parents choose us due to our “players first” philosophy, and we are dedicated helping every player reach their fullest potential; with your help, you will watch your child reach theirs too. Let’s make our children’s soccer program a stepping stone to life enjoying the beautiful game.