Soccer is rising in popularity in America and children of color could truly benefit from this if they are given the opportunity. Many believe that the reason children of color do not end up participating in the sport is that the players are not as glamorized as the lead players of other sports. Players such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Odell Beckham Jr. are romanticized and well-compensated in America, but this is not the case with soccer players in the country.
The wonderful game of soccer has been a path to success for many people who grew up in poverty. Unfortunately, children of color do not see many soccer stars that resemble them. Witnessing a rags-to-riches story about someone who looks like you is critical especially in the context of minority communities.
There are several entities who have been trying to make soccer training opportunities available to children of color. The US Soccer Foundation has invested a lot of resources in developing futsal courts in low-income cities with the intention of giving every child an equal chance at excelling at the sport. The organization has assisted more than 70,000 children of color in its Soccer for Success program. This program gives these children access to competent coaching and mentorship.
While there is clearly a disadvantage among some children of color who grow up in low-income families. It is our belief that many parents do not make the extra effort because they do not know the benefits that soccer could bring to the life of their children. Here are some of the benefits of soccer on children of color:
Fitness and Health: The high level of activity involved in the sport helps children to attain a higher level of fitness and health.
Healthy Recreation: If you have ever spent time around children, you will know that they have a big desire to be entertained. Soccer is a very entertaining and competitive sport that keeps children engaged. It’s great to allow children to be entertained while they are exercising.
Build Team Skills: The ability to work in a team is a skill that all children need to develop because it is one of life’s most important skills. Soccer requires the coordination of many different players so that the team can achieve its goal. This skill will serve children of color and all other children in their academic and professional life.
Improves Motor Skills: Playing soccer as a child ensures the proper development of motor skills. These days, most children are becoming couch potatoes due to the access to plenty of entertainment via smartphones, tablets and computers. Soccer is a great way to get children out and active.
Boosts Self-Esteem: According to the World Health Organization, children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. This has benefits beyond physical fitness. This frequent exercise helps to boost the mood and self-esteem of children.
Children of color along with their families will reap many benefits from the game of soccer as we have established. The extra effort involved in giving more children of color access to the sport will be well worth it.