All of Europe is in soccer fever right now, as the UEFA European Football Championship (the Euro) has begun. This excitement is mixed with a sigh of relief, as Europe’s first major sporting event since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic is finally underway.
The tournament was delayed by the implementation of necessary isolation and physical distancing measures. This meant that the “Euro 2020” event has only gotten underway now, in 2021. Better late than never, though, as soccer fans the world over are able to enjoy their favourite sport once again!
At Soccajoeys, we love soccer (of course!) and watching the Euro is a big deal for us – and for our soccer kids. Here are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to share the Euro soccer experience with kids (and yes, there are game replays so the little ones don’t have to lose all-important sleep time).
Soccer unites nations
You’ve probably heard soccer called “the Beautiful Game.” It’s also “the World Game!” For good reason: the game of soccer is played in every continent and is the world’s most popular sport.
When it’s Euro or World Cup time, people all around the world gather to watch their favourite teams in an atmosphere that combines friendly rivalries with fierce competition, as well as celebration and good sportsmanship.
Our kids can learn a lot from this. International sport is a great medium to learn that the cultural habits and practices of other countries aren’t better or worse, they’re simply different from our own and equally important and enjoyable to the people who live there. With so many nations represented, kids have an ideal opportunity to learn respect for this rich diversity.
What a great opportunity, then, to get your soccer kids and their friends together for a watching party! Or get the whole family together for a fun soccer match. After all, the Beauty of the World Game is that anyone can play it, anywhere they like!
Soccer teaches about team play
While at the elite level there are undoubtedly superstars of the sport, success in soccer relies on a team effort and no superstar can shine without the help of his (or her!) teammates. Kids can learn an immense amount from watching the pros interact with each other on the field. Teamwork and cooperation are the keys to managing the ebb and flow of defense and attack strategies, leading up to the exciting moment of lining up a goal shot. Fitness and the importance of developing fine motor skills are also incredibly important, making these elite athletes great role models for kids who are still learning to play soccer. Not to mention, when a player gets tired or injured, the way the team comes together and relies on each other is an important lesson for kids to see happening.
Kids bring these new skills back to their own game
In the words of James Baldwin, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” So, while the little ones watch the elite players as role models on TV, they bring home powerful lessons about team play, being there for each other, inclusion, diversity and peaceful play.
Do you have a little soccer player at home? Term 3 registrations are now open so make sure to sign up!