The Role of Friendships in Youth Soccer

Playing youth soccer with FFPS has multiple benefits, from weekly exercise, to building self-confidence through team activities. However, one of the most important aspects of playing youth soccer is building lifelong relationships with their teammates! Youth Soccer helps build strong relationships, giving kids an amazing opportunity to spend time with their friends. They ultimately bond over their soccer experiences, practice hard together, and compete in a fun, fair and positive environment each weekend! When you play FFPS soccer, children can grow existing friendships and create new ones along the way. 

Why Does Building Friendships At This Age Matter?

You might be asking yourself why building friendships in youth soccer is such an important experience? These players get the opportunity to work hard together, get dirty and sweaty with the goal of improving and having fun each weekend. Only they will have these great shared memories. Sometimes, when you make friends through youth soccer it can lead to potential lifelong relationships, from childhood to adulthood. It is truly an incredibly experience to be accepted by your peers. Plus, this acceptance can greatly improve your child’s self-esteem. But most importantly they now can make new friends while playing the game of soccer! 

Some children are not confident in a social, sport-like environment. Therefore, it is crucial for parents, coaches and other adults to help encourage team building, positivity, and fair inclusion for everyone. Team building activities are great for establishing lasting relationships. Furthermore, we do not allow any derogatory comments or persistent yelling that would belittle, distract or embarrass players. “We ask that if you must yell, use encouragement!   

Coaches & Their Role of Promoting Healthy Friendships in Youth Soccer

Coaches who understand the importance of friendships in youth soccer will establish rules that produce positivity overall. Ultimately, teaching kids to leave their disagreements outside the soccer field and treat each other with kindness and respect. We also encourage the cheering on every member of the team, fostering good behavior and encouraging everyone to be positive towards each other. Finally, by helping kids create friendships with their teammates, coaches can turn a good experience on a soccer team into a great one!  

Creating a Positive Environment for Everyone!

At FFPS, we believe in the importance of building a positive community through youth soccer. We work towards the goal of celebrating every unique player and promoting a healthy league culture where parents, coaches, and players all share the same positive attitude!  

Therefore, at the end of the day, all we want is for our FFPS athletes to have fun, fair and positive soccer experiences while learning the importance of sportsmanship in soccer and making lifelong memories along the way! 

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Anticipation for the Upcoming Soccer Season!

So, you have recently just registered your child in a FFPS youth soccer league. You and your child have been talking about the upcoming season frequently. Excitement has been steadily growing since you have signed up! Expectations have been building with the first game on the horizon, but now that game-day has come, your child is displaying a little bit of nervousness. This is completely normal! Being intimated or scared, with first day jitters are normal and expected in youth soccer. Here is how you can assist your child and help them navigating pregame jitters for the upcoming Fall FFPS soccer season. 

Understanding and Using First Game Jitters 

It is important to understand that the gradual development of pre-game jitters is created by the building up of adrenaline waiting to be released. Knowing this, it is essential your child uses that initial nervousness as energy for the game. This means that when kids can understand their anxiety and tell themselves that it is excitement, they can embrace their natural feelings before the soccer game and have a more fun, fair, and positive experience!  

These are Normal Feelings to Have  

Anxiety before a big event is part of being human and is experienced by everyone. Learning to understand the signals of nervousness in your child, so that you can have a simple conversation about it, is important. Reassure your child what they are feeling is completely normal and experienced by everyone, even adults! You might use the phrase “butterflies in your stomach” to help your child understand that this is a common feeling experienced by everyone. 

Take a Moment to Breath

Sometimes, just taking a deep breath can help with navigating pregame jitters. A simple calming breathing exercise with some soothing music can go a long way! Plus, this easy exercise is a great life lesson to learn that they can use throughout their life!  

Remember to Hydrate and Eat Plenty of Healthy Snacks

Bring plenty of water so that everyone has the chance to drink water throughout the entire day. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are great because athletes can replace electrolytes while not intaking copious amounts of sugar. It is also crucial to hydrate your children before practice or games, as well as during and after soccer activities. Be sure that your child gets enough sleep the night before a practice or game and eats a healthy diet to provide energy and mental clarity. 

Youth Soccer For Everyone!

At FFPS, we believe in a focus on fun, not serious competition. This is because we believe youth soccer should not just be about winning and scoring, but also about enjoying the game of soccer in a positive environment. We do not have all-star teams, and our young athletes get equal playing time regardless of their level of talent. 

 

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Safety First

 Preparing your child for the FFPS Fall season? Or do you have a small kid that is interested in starting soccer? Whatever the case, as a parent/guardian, you are going to need to know about the essential gear that is involved in youth soccer. And one of the most important pieces to obtain is shin guards.

What are Shin Guards?

Shin guards are vital equipment in every organized soccer league from pee-wee, youth soccer to elite professionals.  Shin guards are a necessary piece of soccer equipment that protect players against all sorts of leg contact, from potential slide tackles and even unintentional ones. Your child needs practical protection from potential injuries, and shin guards are designed to supply just that. However, choosing the correct shin guards can be a bit tricky at first glance. This is our straightforward guide that will help you determine the right type of shin guards to purchase. First, let’s try to understand the different types of shin guards available for youth soccer players.

Ankle-Shin Guards

“Ankle-shin guards” are shin guards with extra ankle protection and padding. All around the foot and ankle is additional soft padding. This helps players from potential hard kicks and slide tackles to that area. There are stirrups that will slide under the feet and help the shin guards stay in place throughout the soccer game. Obviously, this is the ideal option for younger or less experienced players starting soccer. 

Shin Socks

Shin socks are shin guards and socks combined! This makes it easier for younger players to keep their gear on correctly and in working order throughout the game. The shin guard is pulled on in one piece, just like a regular sock. The downside is less ankle and foot protection compared to ankle-shin guards, but better mobility and are much easier to put on. These are great for our younger players, ages 4 – 6, and they are machine washable, so everything is fresh and clean come game day!  

Proper Sizing

Finally, the sizing of the shin guards is important to keep in mind. You will find the correct size shin guards based on the height of the player. Normally, you will be able to find size guides in stores or online when scoping out the different options. Keep in mind that the more coverage between the ankle and the knee the better. Also, you will want shin guards that fall two inches below the knee. This will help the player be able to run and kick properly throughout the game. 

Acquiring the right shin guards for your child will mean that he or she can focus their full attention on playing the wonderful game of soccer and having a fun, fair and positive experience! 

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Purchasing The Correct Youth Soccer Equipment is Essential 

When you register for an FFPS league across Houston, you will be given an FFPS jersey, shorts, and game socks (included in the registration fee). However, in addition to the jersey/shorts, you will need to buy some soccer equipment for your child to be properly outfitted for the upcoming youth soccer season. Your child will need soccer cleats, practice socks, and shin guards. Official FFPS soccer balls will be provided for games and practices. Although, if you want to get a soccer ball for your child to practice with at home, make sure you buy the right size ball for your child to use. If your child is between the ages of 4-9, then a size 3 ball is great for them. If they are ages 9 and up, then a size 4 ball is the best size for them to use.

Teaching The Basics of Youth Soccer at Home

Although your children will gain more comprehensive, age-appropriate teaching from their official FFPS coach, it is always beneficial to give them a basic idea of soccer before their first FFPS practices. Teaching the basic concepts of passing and dribbling before practice will help them feel confident and have a better understanding of the game overall. Telling your children about sportsmanship and its importance is also advantageous before the youth soccer season starts.

Teach Good Daily Habits

It is crucial to instruct children about adequate sleep, healthy diet, and sufficient exercise. This will help them as they grow older to develop good habits as they slowly grow into young adults. Talk to your child about getting the proper amount of sleep and hydration for their body to fully recover. This is especially important before and after game day. Educate them on essential nutrition and the importance of water. Being properly hydrated for each FFPS practice and game is crucial in the Texas heat!

 Most Importantly Have FUN!

Most importantly, encourage your child to have fun! Players and parents can get distracted by issues such as winning or losing, or how many goals were scored. Youth soccer should be about fun and discovering love for the game. That is why at FFPS, we do not keep score. Make sure to always encourage your child, as well as other players, to keep the atmosphere fun, fair, and positive for everyone! 
  
If you are interested in signing your child up for an FFPS soccer league in your area, click here! 

2021 Fall Soccer League Registration

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Guide to Selecting the Right Pair of Soccer Cleats for Kids! 

If you are starting the FFPS Fall season and need to buy a new pair of youth soccer cleats for your kid, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the number of options at your disposal. You want to get a quality pair of cleats that fit comfortably without spending a fortune. Especially, when you are not sure how much they will grow this season.

This is our straightforward guide to help parents find the right pair of youth soccer cleats for their aspiring soccer player this fall season!  

Comfort Is Always Key 

Before anything else, comfort should be the focal point when you are picking soccer cleats for any young player. The overall goal is to guarantee they fit correctly. Ask them to walk around in them to see if there are any areas of pressure or discomfort. If the cleats are too tight, they will create unwanted foot pain. Cleats that are too loose will cause the feet to slide up while running, causing painful blisters.

Ensure You Have the Right Size 

Since you want the soccer cleats to last longer than a few weeks. Making sure there is enough space to grow into is incredibly important. In general, use your finger as a guide for the max room they should have toward the front of the cleat. Press down on the upper portion of the cleat with your pinky – there should not be any extra space between their toes and the front of the soccer cleat. 

Creating a Positive Experience for Everyone!

Purchasing the correct sized cleats will make certain that your child has a happy and successful soccer season. Make sure to ask the shoe store employee questions to guarantee you are buying the appropriate cleats for soccer, not other sports. Finally, think about shopping online. It is excellent for comparing product reviews from multiple customers all in one location.

Acquiring the right cleats for your child will mean that he or she can focus their full attention on playing the wonderful game of soccer and having a fun, fair and positive experience! 

These are youth soccer cleats that we recommend as great options for younger players. These are suggestions based on feedback I have received from parents throughout my 30 years of experience. 

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It’s Important To Ask Yourself These Questions

At FFPS, we are often asked at what age a child should start playing youth soccer. It is a valid question and one we are eager to help answer to our best ability. You may recall the saying “it’s never too late to try something new,” but as a parent you may be worried that your child is too old to begin playing soccer. Will it be difficult as a beginner? Are they too old? Will they be angry at you, as a parent, for encouraging this now potentially?

On the other end, you could have a younger child, immediately showing signs they are interested in playing youth soccer, but you are not sure if they are “old enough” to start playing. Can my child even grasp the game of soccer? Will they not maintain interest in soccer? Should I just wait until they are older and more mature? All of these are especially important questions to reflect upon. 

It’s Not Too Early OR Too Late

So, the question remains, at what age should you register your child in youth soccer at FFPS? The response could be unique for every child. Rather than just focusing on their age alone, the main thing to consider when placing them in youth soccer is making sure they are receiving age-appropriate instruction in a positive environment that fosters a love for soccer. We offer youth soccer leagues for kids aged 4-18, but we know a 4-year-old learns completely different than a 10-year-old. A positive environment can make all the difference in the experience your child has regardless of the age they start playing youth soccer at. 

Creating a Positive Environment for Everyone!

Creating a safe place for children of all ages to enjoy youth soccer is an incredibly important aspect of our core philosophy at FFPS. We do not allow any derogatory comments or persistent yelling that would belittle, distract, or embarrass players. “We ask that if you must yell, use encouragement! Finally, we teach coaches and parents to use one of these four words before they say anything, Go…. Good…. Great…. Nice! 

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Winning and Youth Sports Today?

In their ads about the Olympics, NIKE said: “You Don’t GET Silver, You LOSE Gold!!” But let’s be honest, winning is fun. There’s much to be said for the joys of competition. Coaches, players, and parents love to see their team win, but as they say, “Winning isn’t everything.”

Players can get hurt when going for a win—and not just physically. It’s important for coaches to not view young athletes as a means to an end. They’re individuals who should be learning, growing and developing. Coaches and parents who focus only on the win are missing out on a great opportunity to make a difference in young lives.

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Unfortunately, purpose can get neglected when winning trumps character and integrity. The purpose of youth sports is not just to develop good athletes, it is to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Youth sports offer the training ground for life’s playing fields. Perspective can be clouded when the scoreboard becomes the only measurement of a team or an individual. Success should be measured by progress, achievements, met goals and character gained. Winning in youth sports isn’t everything.

At FFPS We Have No Try-Outs Or All-Star Teams.

This is why FFPS will never have try-outs or all-star teams. We are here for everyone to: Play, Be Included, Build Self Esteem, And Learn Values!!!

The game of soccer is a great for kids, even if they simply want to play at a recreational level. It is one of the best sports for developing all-round physical literacy, and it develops friendships, teamwork, and lifelong love of play.

  • In a USA Today Survey in 1990 37% of children said they wish their parents did NOT come to watch them and 41% said they woke up in the middle of the night worrying about an event.
  • According to a study done by the Minnesota Sports Commission in 1993
  • 45% say they hav been called names and yelled at and insulted while playing.
  • 18% reported they had been kicked, slapped, and hit in games
  • 22% said they were pressured to play with an injury.

Mentally/ Physically Challenged Opportunities

Jane and Dave Scholfield are coordinators for our Mentally and Physically Challenged Children and we had 13 players in FFPS this past spring and two of those were teens!!! Call the Scholfields any time at 713-578-3729 to discuss any questions.

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Texas Summers

Texas summer is in full swing and it’s an excellent time for children to get outside and enjoy youth soccer! Exercising regularly is important, especially for kids’ growing bodies, and summer sports are perfect for having fun and staying active. As Houstonians know, one major concern in summer is the brutal Texas heat.  

Temperatures can easily stay in triple digits for weeks. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can help prevent dehydration, potential heat stroke, and other major consequences of too much time in the Texas summer sun. 

Safety First at FFPS!

At FFPS, we ensure that everyone is taking precautions during the hottest months of the year.  Young children are particularly at risk in Texas summers while playing soccer. Don’t worry though: taking pragmatic steps can help protect your children so they can focus on having an exciting time playing youth soccer! 

Drink Water, Hydrate, and Drink More Water!  

Be sure to bring plenty of water so that everyone has the chance to drink water throughout the entire day. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are great because athletes can replace electrolytes while not intaking copious amounts of sugar. It is also crucial to hydrate your children before practice or games, as well as during and after soccer activities. 

It is especially important to keep children from drinking beverages with substantial amounts of caffeine, which can lead to dehydration quickly. This means no sodas. It is important to have a healthy balanced diet during snack breaks, providing your players with essential carbs and fruits to give them energy, along with providing additional hydration is necessary for staying safe in Texas summer’s. 

Shade, a Texans Best Friend 

It is important to provide some shade whenever you can during the summer. It is truly one of the best ways to cool down in the Texas summer. Getting out of the direct sun makes a dramatic difference overall. Even on the hottest day, sitting in the shade can make a person feel like it is 10 to 15 degrees cooler outside. Soccer fields may not always have substantial amounts of shade, so consider bringing a chair with a topper or an umbrella with you! However, we do not permit large cabana style coverings at FFPS games.  

Cold towels help everyone stay cool.  

A simple lifehack for staying cool during summer is to take full advantage of cooling towels. Simply put some washcloths in a cooler, that is full of ice to keep them nice and cold. During breaks, children can put these towels on their foreheads, necks, and other places for a quick efficient cool-down. Keeping a spray bottle full of icy water for a quick spritz during breaks can also help kids keep cool in the sun.  

Remember to Put on Sunscreen and then Reapply More 

It is often forgotten, but sunscreen is vitally important for protecting your children from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It is highly recommended to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has 50 SPF. Ideally, the sunscreen should be applied before practice or games, but also needs to be reapplied every two hours while spending time outside.  

Do Not Forget Your Own Heat Protection.

While kids are most at risk from overheating/dehydration during youth soccer activities, spectators, parents, and coaches should take preventive measures as well. Bring plenty of water for yourself, try to sit in the shade, and do not forget sunscreen and a hat of some kind! 

 

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Confidence and Cooperation in Youth Soccer

A common theme in FFPS soccer leagues across the greater Houston area is girls and boys playing on the same teams in all games, especially in the younger age groups. At FFPS, we believe coed soccer creates a greater social environment for the players when boys and girls can play soccer together. Coed soccer allows brothers and sisters, classmates, and friends to all play on the same teams. Plus, playing soccer together at a young age helps boys and girls learn the best from each other on the field.  

Unfortunately, people often assume that girls and boys want different things from playing soccer. However, they just want to play hard, have fun and make friends!

Coed Soccer Encourage Mutual Respect Between the Genders

At Fun Fair Positive Soccer, we want to dismiss the myths that girls only care about the social aspects of playing soccer and boys just want the heavy competition.  
  
After analyzing coed soccer for more than 35 years we’ve discovered many fascinating things! What often matters most for girls and boys are things like, working hard, trying your best, having fun, and getting to play on a team. At FFPS, these findings are the same for our athletes at younger and older ages, across all our soccer leagues in the greater Houston area.

Coed Soccer Diversify a Team

Traditionally, boys focus more on their individuality while girls can be more team-driven overall. At FFPS, we advocate that playing soccer together can widen an individual’s skills and help the soccer player progress overall. Additionally, there are numerous benefits from coed youth soccer leagues. Including more diversity, additional opportunities, and a superior social environment for children to grow in.

At FFPS, we value our members. At the end of the day, all we want is for our FFPS athletes to have fun, fair and positive soccer experiences while learning the importance of sportsmanship in soccer and making lifelong memories along the way!

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From Humble Beginnings

Since 1986, Fun Fair Positive Soccer (FFPS) has been providing a positive environment for kids of all abilities to enjoy the wonderful game of youth soccer. Jack Hendrie started the program in Katy, Texas after he and other local parents noticed that many soccer leagues put a ton of pressure on kids and focused on winning as the main point of the game. Creating FFPS was a way to change the kind of soccer experience kids were having and make the experience as fun, fair and positive for everyone involved. From humble beginnings with only 150 players in its very first season. Today there are over 16,000 players participating in over 21 FFPS programs in the Greater Houston area! 

Modern Challenges, Require Modern Solutions

Did you know that 71% of all children quit most youth activities by age 13? The two main reasons are very insightful; (1.) Being yelled at too much for making mistakes (2.) Not getting enough playing time overall.

How could we ensure the most fun and solve these issues? (1.) By designing the program around the children’s needs, not the parents or the coaches. The players always comes first at FFPS!! (2.) Secondly, the “Equal Substitution System”. This specially designed substitution system means all players rotate to every position and each player plays equally in that game. Plus, there are no all-star teams or tryouts either. All of this keeps FFPS games as fair as possible.  

Next, we asked ourselves, how can we structure the youth soccer program to benefit everyone? What does the child ultimately want from this experience? We’ve discovered children crave these 3 basics things: (1.) To Play, (2.) Being Respected (3.) Feeling Safe.

How Do We Accomplish This Feat? First, More Soccer Ball Touches!

The core foundation of FFPS is the 5-a-side rule —5 players per side instead of 11 per side. This dynamic youth soccer format allows everyone on the field to get the ball multiple times, which means children learn quicker and the game is much more enjoyable overall. The average field size in FFPS is 100 feet by 75 feet compared to the much larger fields in other youth soccer leagues. For 34 years, FFPS has been using this engaging style of play and enabling kids to really get to play across Houston. 

Creating a Positive Environment for Everyone

Creating a safe place for children to enjoy youth soccer is an incredibly important aspect of our core philosophy at FFPS. We do not allow any derogatory comments or persistent yelling that would belittle, distract or embarrass players. “We ask that if you must yell, use encouragement!  Finally, we teach coaches and parents to use one of these four words before they say anything, Go….. Good…. Great….. Nice…..

Lastly, to help ensure the games are “For The Kids” only the players can announce the score. Not the Coach, not the parents, not the League. To guarantee these results, we provide a free 6 hours of required training for the Coaches.

Learn More About FFPS Today!

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