The future looks bright for women’s soccer, especially as the interest is naturally growing due to the FIFA women’s world cup. Whether you’re watching to support your country, you’re interested to see how it differs from the men’s games, or are just curious, it’s clear to see that there is a new wave of passion for both fans and players. If you are looking to get into playing soccer, the time has never been better for women.
But where do you start? Here are a few tips.
Find a local team or league to join
One of the best ways to learn the game and get experience playing is by joining a team or local league. There will be multiple teams to suit your schedule so be sure to check out your local parks and recreation grounds, and even try searching online. If you’re comfortable playing in mixed gender teams, be sure to find a team or league that is welcoming to women. There are a wide range of options available, so you should be able to find one that is a good fit for you.
Knowledge first, then kit
If you’re a total beginner, definitely watch some matches and get a decent idea of the rules, such as watching the FIFA women’s world cup or even the grassroots games. This is a great way to learn new skills and strategies and you can watch the games online, on your TV or even in person. But don’t worry if you don’t have perfect knowledge because you’ll pick it up more than you think! Prioritize this over buying the full kit and looking the part, there’s no point in being kitted up in the top gear if you’re not sure how to play. Once you’ve got a rough idea of what you’re doing, you can then start worrying about upgrading your kit.
Build up your fitness
If you’re looking to start soccer to improve your health and fitness then be sure to boost your fitness outside of practice and games too. You can do this by running, biking, swimming, or any other form of aerobic exercise. Even ballet, as lots of professional soccer players perform ballet to improve their footwork. Soccer can be very physically demanding, especially as you go further up the ranks, so it’s important to be in good shape while you are playing. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your coach and teammates what they recommend, or what they do to maintain their fitness levels.
The more you practice, the better you will become at the game. Your progress might not be linear, but over time you’ll improve compared to day one. There are many ways to practice, whether by yourself, or with friends. There are also many drills and exercises that you can do to improve your skills. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes them, especially when they’re first starting out. Just keep practicing and you will get better and be a better player for it.
Listen to your coaches
Your coaches are going to have experience and knowledge that can help you improve your game. You might not like being told what you are doing wrong, but without their input you won’t be able to improve as quickly. It’s also crucial that you’re not afraid to ask for help. If you’re not sure how to do something, ask your coach or teammates for help. Everyone is learning how to be a better player and they will be happy to help you out, teach you, and give you feedback. In time, you might be asked for tips by new players too and will be able to put yourself in their shoes.
Be a good teammate
Respect is incredibly important when playing soccer. Even if you feel a decision should be different, such as a yellow card or a penalty kick, it’s important to keep yourself calm and collected. There is a focus on supporting your teammates and helping them out. You can do this by staying positive, as a positive attitude will help you stay motivated and focused, but also sharing recovery items. Think foam rollers, protein snacks and muscle gels to keep your body healthy post-game.
Set goals for yourself
What do you want to achieve in your soccer career? Do you want to join a league team because you’re serious about winning matches, trophies and rising up the ranks and potentially going pro? Maybe joining a soccer team is something you’re doing for a fun, casual activity to make new friends, build your confidence and keep yourself active. Are you interested in improving the soccer team ranking, but also want to focus on your own physical health and are more interested in improving your heart rate, fitness levels and muscle growth? Having goals will help you stay motivated and focused.
So, if you’re thinking about starting soccer, the best thing to do is just take the step and do it. Everyone is always super friendly and welcoming because they are happy to be growing their team and playing the game. You’ll build relationships with your teammates that you’d never expect and the confidence you get from having such amazing women around you and encouraging you is second to none!