For moms who are thinking about getting their little ones into a sport, take it from me and put them into soccer. As an 11-year travel team veteran turned youth soccer coach with a background in exercise physiology, I can attest to the benefits of the sport for kids of all ages. But if you have a really little one, you'll want to know about the benefits of playing soccer for toddlers. Turns out, it's more than just running around and squealing.
When my son was a year old, I put him in soccer classes which were, yes, really just babies playing with balls because what else can you expect from a baby soccer class? But even at such a young age, while he wasn't exactly playing soccer, getting exposed to the sport even a little bit was great. For starters, it was something to do after his morning nap and it got us out of the house, but he was also able to be social and practice sharing and working with the group to get all the balls into the net. It was his first team sport experience, and it was equal parts adorable and beneficial.
Fast forward to last fall when I volunteered to coach his soccer team. Getting certified for the various coaching trainings was deceptively difficult and tiring, but so worth it. As a retired soccer player, sharing the game with my kid was, hands down, one of the best mom experiences to date, but showing how awesome girls can be was pretty cool, too. That experience showed me just how awesome soccer is for even the littlest of kids for so many reasons. But don't just take my word for it — I checked in with David Hauptman, the owner and founder of Fold-A-Goal, to find out more about just how soccer benefits toddlers.