Youth soccer has become the sport of our choice in our family. All the kids have played at one point or another. Right now, Ivanna and Adrian have picked it as their forever sport. We are at soccer practices and games three times a week and do practice drills the rest of the time. They have a deep love for the sport and I am happy to support them every step of the way! I am their biggest fan and their sideline hero!!
Honestly, a couple years ago, I knew nothing about soccer. Even though soccer, or fútbol, is big among Hispanics, we are of Cuban descent and soccer is not a sport Cubans usually play. I grew up watching baseball and football so when Adrian told me he wanted to play soccer, it threw me off guard. He wanted to play badly so when he was three, I found him a recreational team and he started playing. It was adorable to watch him run around the field trying to kick a ball. A few years later, his love for the sport has really grown. This season I enrolled him in a developmental league and now soccer is really serious!
Ivanna had never played organized sports but she had been asking me for a while now to play soccer. She was tired of going to Adrian's games and not playing. She was constantly dribbling a ball around her house and practicing her kicks on the school soccer field so I had her try out. She made a developmental team as well and here she is in all her glory!
There are tips and tricks I have had to learn along the way. I want to be that super supportive parent that encourages my kids to follow their dreams, their ultimate sideline hero! I am there every step of the way and have learned many tips that have helped me out immensely.
Tip #1 and the most important: Keep kids hydrated!
I take plenty of water and POWERADE® to each practice and game. It's SUPER HOT here in South Florida and the kids need to stay hydrated especially while they are running around for hours at a time. POWERADE® is formulated with Vitamins B3, B6 & B12 to support energy metabolism and a 6% carbohydrate solution to help provide energy to working muscles. Our coaches stop the game and practices every 10-12 minutes for a water break. The kids go to the sidelines, get a quick drink and are back out on those fields ready to go!
Tip #2: Keep healthy snacks on hand.
I like to have snacks ready for the kids but I don't want them having candy or doughnuts. I make sure to take a bowl of cut-up fruit to every practice and game. I keep the bowl in the cooler so the fruit is cool and the kids really love it. Our fruit bowls have lots of different kinds of fruits like grapes, pineapple, strawberries and watermelon. I also take a couple bananas which I like to snack on as well!!
Tip # 3: Have a sideline kit.
A soccer moms ultimate sideline kit should include quad chairs, a cooler full of goodies like a bowl of fruit, sunscreen, a first aid kit and of course, an extra soccer ball to keep handy for warm-ups and bored siblings! For mom herself, make sure you have a cap and sunglasses handy.
Tip #3: Make sure your kids warm up!
We arrive to practices and games early so I can make sure the kids warm up. I have seen it happen too many times when the kids don't warm up properly and they are either half-asleep on the field or they get injured. Get your child ready to play with this easy 10 minute warm-up:
1. Toe touches. Have the kids reach down, touch their toes and count slowly to 10. Have them come up, take a deep breath and then repeat two more times!
2. Side stretch. Have them stand with legs hip-width apart and try to grab the front of their cleat. Count to 10.
Switch sides. Count to 10. Repeat two times.
3. High knees. Have them jog in place bringing up their knees as high as they can 50 times. If they are first-timers, do this in increments of 10 or 15 up to 50.
4. Quad stretch. This is super important. Have them stand and bring up one leg behind them and grab their ankle. Count to 20. This stretch helps with balance and to stretch the super important quad muscle. Repeat with the other leg.
5. Sprints. Everyone's favorite. The coach will usually take over by now and have the kids run sprints across the field about 10 times back and forth.
Stretching exercises are necessary before and after the games. Their muscles are put through alot out there. Rest is also important. Make sure your kids are resting after the game. It might seem like they have endless energy but they might be overtired. It's your call at this point. All of this has become second nature to us and I know there is much more to come!
In case you are wondering, I buy POWERADE® in team packs and a couple at a time. I keep my cooler stocked and ready to go.
Look for a coupon on the 12-pack 12 oz POWERADE® packages and you can get $1 off Walmart fresh produce (for your fruit bowls!) when you buy two 12-pack 12oz POWERADE®. Hurry this deal is only available while supplies last.