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How can I begin playing soccer and enhance my abilities?

Hi, I am a 15-year-old who recently started ballet classes around February. I am interested in picking up another sport, specifically soccer. Although I have never played soccer on a team or taken any classes, there are no options available for kids my age in my area. I have even considered pursuing soccer professionally and am willing to put in 100% effort and dedication, but I am unsure if this is attainable.

My plan involves playing soccer and potentially taking lessons to improve my skills. By my sophomore year, I aim to make the junior varsity team, and in my junior year, I hope to advance to the varsity level and potentially join a girls academy team.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Tarun’s Answer

Definitely the right path to go forward.
1) Get coaching lessons
2) Find meetup, facebook groups who play pickup games
3) Practice solo drills by watching training videos
4) I usually follow the basics - first touch-control the ball, look up, find a teammate, find space, support the teammate, rinse and repeat.

Remember to enjoy the game while you're at it! You're awesome!
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Eric’s Answer

Sophia, once you are on a team your coach will provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice drills in pairs and groups. But, there is plenty that you can do when you are not with the team. Those who excel at soccer usually always develop great muscle memory with the ball, learn how to keep the ball close to them while dribbling in tight places at high rates of speed, and they have great skill in being able to place the ball at their feet from a pass or they can pass or make shots on goal off of their first touch on the ball from a pass or volley. This requires a lot of time with the ball at your feet in practice. The more you have a ball at your feet, the more skilled you will become at dribbling and at one-touch play.

Be creative in finding ways to get a soccer ball at your feet. If you walk to school, you might start dribbling or juggling on your way (if it is safe to do so). Or, if you are watching a movie with your family, you might watch it while doing some light soccer touches with your feet. You could have a soccer ball at your feet while doing laundry, vacuuming, or almost any imaginable task that will allow. The key is to touch the ball often with all parts of your feet. You want to be comfortable controlling the ball with the top and bottom of your feet, the inside and outside of each foot. Push the ball forwards, pull the ball backwards, and move the ball sideways with light touches that keep the ball in your control the whole time. And, if you are without a partner, a wall is a wonderful "partner" for practicing light passes and volleys that are returned to you...if you correctly strike the ball. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the experience and the drive to improve. All the best!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Sophia,

How to Begin Playing Soccer and Enhance Your Abilities

If you are looking to start playing soccer and improve your skills, especially with the goal of potentially pursuing it professionally, there are several steps you can take to kickstart your journey in the sport. Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can begin playing soccer and enhance your abilities:

1. Learn the Basics:

Start by familiarizing yourself with the basic rules of soccer, such as understanding the field, positions, and fundamental gameplay.
Watch professional soccer matches to observe how the game is played at a high level and learn from experienced players.

2. Practice Regularly:

Dedicate time to practice regularly, focusing on essential skills like dribbling, passing, shooting, and ball control.
Set up drills and exercises that target specific areas of improvement to enhance your overall performance on the field.

3. Join Pickup Games or Recreational Leagues:

Participate in pickup games with friends or join local recreational leagues to gain practical experience playing in a team setting.
Playing regularly will help you develop your understanding of the game dynamics and improve your decision-making skills on the field.

4. Seek Coaching or Training Opportunities:

While formal classes may not be available in your area, consider seeking out individual coaching sessions or training camps to receive personalized instruction.
Work with experienced coaches who can provide guidance on technique, tactics, and physical conditioning tailored to your skill level and goals.

5. Utilize Online Resources:

Take advantage of online resources such as tutorials, training videos, and skill development programs that can supplement your learning outside of traditional training environments.
Platforms like YouTube and sports-specific websites offer a wealth of information on soccer techniques and strategies.

6. Set Realistic Goals:

Establish short-term and long-term goals for your soccer development, such as making a school team or progressing to higher competitive levels.
Stay motivated by tracking your progress, celebrating achievements, and continuously challenging yourself to improve.

7. Stay Committed and Dedicated:

Success in soccer requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Stay committed to your training regimen and strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of your game.
Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and maintain a positive attitude towards learning from setbacks.

By following these steps diligently and remaining focused on your goals, you can begin playing soccer effectively and enhance your abilities over time. Remember that progress in sports takes time and effort, so stay patient and persistent in your pursuit of excellence on the field.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used in Answering this Question:

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association): FIFA is the international governing body for football (soccer) that provides official rules, regulations, and resources for players at all levels of the sport.

United States Youth Soccer Association (USYS): USYS is a national organization dedicated to promoting youth soccer development in the United States through programs, coaching education, and player resources.

The Coaching Manual: The Coaching Manual is an online platform offering coaching resources, training drills, and educational content for soccer coaches and players looking to enhance their skills on the field.

God Bless You, Richly, JC.
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Marchia’s Answer

Exploring recreational league soccer is always a fantastic option. In my locality, there's an abundance of chances to immerse yourself in soccer, be it at school or elsewhere. You might also want to consider seeking out specialized coaches. They frequently run camps several times a week, focusing on honing specific skills like dribbling the soccer ball, stopping, and more. Moreover, YouTube is an invaluable tool for enhancing specific skill sets. Remember, dedicating an hour each day to practice will undoubtedly propel you towards your goals.

Wishing you nothing but the best.
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Julia’s Answer

I will say James is pretty spot on with his answers, but to kinda simplify this more for you Sophia you can start soccer by watching some tips on YouTube and maybe trying to find a club team in your area to join to gain more experience to see if soccer is truly something you want to pursue. I would also make sure if you decide to join a club team the coach knows you aren't familiar with the game, so he or she can help you, but ultimately you will have to do most of your research on Google or by watching games/beginner tips on YouTube. Also, be sure to practice roughly 2-3 hours every day to increase your skill and help you catch up with the other kids in your grade level.
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Isabella’s Answer

Hi Sophia - I agree with all the answers provided on how to best improve your skillset in order to play soccer. I would add to not become discouraged or put too much pressure on yourself at the beginning. It definitely takes time to develop a lot of the skills soccer requires if you've never played before. I think you have a great goal of making it to varsity by junior year of high school! If you're planning to attend a college or university, there are many opportunities there to play on the university team (highest level) as well as the club team and intramural leagues. I played soccer through high school and I think the biggest takeaway that I saw from the best players was that they would practice on their own, as some of the other comments mentioned. Like anything in life, you can't show up and be good at something without putting in the work. In the lens of soccer, this means not just practicing with your team 2-3 times a week but also running drills and practicing every day on your own. I think with the right game plan and mindset you can definitely make playing soccer at a high level your reality. Wishing you all the best of luck!
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