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Kids Are Quitting Soccer… So?


There seems to be this growing concern that kids are quitting soccer early and washing out before actually learning to love the game, or achieving their potential.

So what?

What should be alarming is that we have more kids playing organized youth soccer than EVER BEFORE.

Kids quitting soccer is absolutely NOTHING to be alarmed about. Soccer is physically competitive. It isn’t for everyone. In fact, soccer should really only be for the most competitive and athletic of kids, so the fact that a lot of kids are dropping soccer, and sports in general, is OK. If your kid doesn’t think they’re good enough or they can’t handle the pressure of organized sports, that’s fine.


Adults are constantly under pressureDick van Londen, of Total Sport Approach BV, posted a comment on LinkedIn that stated:

“Pressure is a common reason kids are quitting soccer (football). It’s often in combination with over-training injuries. A key issue for sports academies is finding a balance between encouraging young athletes and boosting their performance.”


Life’s pressures don’t STOP when you become an adult. Performance pressure is a part of everyday life. Sometimes we put that pressure on ourselves, because WE want more, and sometimes our bosses put that pressure on us because THEY want more (from us). Now, does that mean that a dad needs to beat his kid down so much that the little guy (or girl) hangs them self? Of course not. If a child WANTS to play sports, then the parents need to be there to TEACH their kids HOW TO HANDLE THE PRESSURE. Pressure is something EVERYONE faces, so the sooner a child learns that, the better prepared for adulthood they are.

There is no way to remove pressure from sports or life. Pressure is what sports are all about. In fact, the pressure to win is a VITAL PART of the athletic development process. There is an argument that winning games should be completely ignored, in order to focus on “player development“. What they miss is that the pressure to win is what MOTIVATES the desire to improve one’s skills.

Without pressure to win, there is no | Mike Slatton


Stop Feeding your Child Like the Apocalypse is Coming

If you’re child doesn’t like competitive sports, that’s not a problem. If your child doesn’t like pressure, they’re NORMAL. It’s a very small part of the population that really enjoys the pressure of competitive sports. The REAL PROBLEM is that we’re all feeding our kids adult sized portions of JUNK food, and then trying to fix OUR problem by enrolling them in sports. We then BLAME THE SPORTS when our kids don’t have the energy or desire to play.

Kids are quitting soccer to play chessIf your lazy or fat kid doesn’t like sports, then the SOLUTION is to stop over-feeding them unhealthy foods and enroll them in the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, chess club, science club, Sea Cadets, student government, Police Explorers, karate, Tae Kwon Do, or just take them camping and fishing or to a museum. Heck, you can play catch with baseball mitts WITHOUT signing them up for baseball.

Basically, if you’re going to sit on the sidelines yelling at your under-performing youth soccer athlete, then you have the energy and time to participate in less stressful activities WITH them.

If your kid doesn’t want to play sports, it may be YOU – or it may be that they just don’t want to run around and knock heads with some ADHD kids… with a bunch of parents yelling at them to “be more like” the ADHD kids. That’s nothing to be alarmed about.


About Author

Mike Slatton is a 2nd generation American youth soccer coach since 1984, and the son of one of the nation's first female licensed youth soccer coaches (Anita Slatton, 1979). He's also a professional soccer scout, a player since 1977, and the father of three adult and teenage children who all play or have played the game. "My job as a youth soccer coach is to develop confident, detail oriented problem solvers who can react quickly under pressure. It's important that players NOT be afraid of making mistakes, to encourage an appreciation of failure as a learning tool. This relates to life - not just soccer."

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