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West Seattle Soccer Club (WSSC)

25 Tips for Youth Soccer Players

Here are 25 key tips for young soccer players:

  1.   Have fun. Remember above all else that this is a game and you should learn to enjoy all aspects of it.
  2.  Come prepared. If you come to the game prepared to play, then you can focus on playing. Have all your equipment packed ahead of time and ready to go—and remember to bring water.
  3.  Be willing to try new things. If you are new to soccer, it will all be new. If you are not new, let your coaches push you past your comfort zone—try something new. Who knows, you might find you are good at it.
  4.  Always carry around a ball wherever you go. The more you touch a ball, the better you will be at playing with the ball.
  5.  Be a sponge. Listen, learn, try, and explore. Use all your senses to access whatever people are willing to teach you.
  6.  Ask questions. This applies to everything. If you don’t know, ask. If you require clarification, get it. The more you ask and understand, the more you learn and the better you can apply the skills.
  7.  Dribble. Learn to dribble forward, backwards, front and back—this is your most important skill. Do not just “kick” the ball, take it with you; carry it until it is time to pass.
  8.  Pass the ball. Don’t try to be a hero every time. Learn to pass and learn it well.
  9.  Watch games. Watch all the soccer games you can and see how others play. Learn from these.
  10.  Understand positions. Learn the different positions and how they interact with each other. The game is like a dance and each position has its own choreography.
  11. Maintain your positions—always. Know where you are on the field in relation to where the other players and positions are on the field. And keep the dance going.
  12.  Find your favorite position and learn it well. Show your coach that this is the right fit for you, and play it fully.
  13.  Equipment. There is not a lot of equipment, but make sure the stuff you have fits well. Shoes are your key piece of equipment—make sure they fit well.
  14.  Fair play. Always play fairly, according to the spirit and letter of the rules.
  15.  Stay calm. Games can become emotional and the pace can become overwhelming; remember to stay calm even when things are not going as well as you would like.
  16.  Soccer is a team sport. Support and encourage your teammates. Positive encouragement and reinforcement make for better teams and better teammates.
  17.  Support. Anticipate your teammates’ needs and always support your teammate with the ball. Supporting your teammate means being in a position where they can pass the ball to you. Stay far enough away so the pass effectively neutralizes the defender. Stay close enough that they can make a good pass. If you are too far to make a good pass to your teammate, then you are too far for your teammate to make a good pass to you, and you are not supporting.
  18.  Respect. Show respect to your coaches, referees, your opponents and teammates at all times, win or lose.
  19.  Endurance. Soccer is a game of endurance and conditioning. Eat well, and sleep and exercise to ensure you are healthy and able to perform at peak levels. Conditioning, skills and tactical knowledge are all important components of a strong player.
  20.  Defense. Defend your ball at all times. If you lose the ball, be the first to defend. Giving immediate chase is the first rule of defense. Never let down until the ball has been recaptured or the play has moved on.
  21.  You may hear the coaches shouting “mark”. This means that if you are not closest to the ball and attacking it, you are on another player, positioning yourself between the ball and your opponent and prevent them from receiving the ball.
  22.  Passing is important, so is to know when to take your shot. Don’t hesitate to fire a shot at goal if you feel an opportunity. Take your best shot and shoot in the back of the net.
  23.  Most players are right-footed. Anticipate that your defender will be attacking your right foot so learn to use your left foot—develop your passing, dribbling, and shooting skills with both your left and right feet.
  24. Learn to kick around your target. Don’t shoot towards your defender. Passing or dribbling the ball laterally or even backwards can be a better choice if it maintains possession of the ball. Possession of the ball is key to controlling the pace and direction of the game.
  25.  Always give 100%. Expect that of those around you and anticipate they expect that of you. Win or lose, be proud of how you played.

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