RICHARDSON, Tex. (September 7, 2004) – One of the clearest benefits of playing soccer is the fitness derived from participating in this fast-paced sport. For that reason, “fitness” is one of the key messages of Youth Soccer Month, an annual celebration of the sport of soccer.
“With all the distractions kids deal with today – computers, television, video games – soccer is a great environment to get some physical activity into their lives,” states Kristine Lilly, American soccer legend and Youth Soccer Month spokesperson.
It is well documented that physically fit people typically feel better, have more energy, have better eating habits and sleep better.
From a soccer standpoint, one doesn’t have to be the best player on the field, or the smartest. But if someone is in the best shape, they have a huge advantage. A very skillful player who cannot last the whole match due to lack of stamina, or cannot get to the ball due to lack of speed, is not as useful to the team as the player who has slightly less skill, but more speed and stamina.
“My goal is to always be the fittest player on the field,” continues Lilly, who has played in more than 250 international matches with the US Women’s National Team, more than any other player in the history of the sport. “There are so many things that you can’t control, but fitness is the one thing that is totally in your control. Being fit gives me a lot of confidence.”
The messages of Youth Soccer Month, especially the health and fitness benefits of playing soccer, mirror those of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – communicating the importance of physical activity/fitness and exercise and their link to good health.
“Childhood obesity has been declared an epidemic by the National Institutes of Health,” said Chris Branscome, director of marketing for US Youth Soccer, organizers of Youth Soccer Month. “Considering these facts, promoting physical fitness and leading an active and healthy lifestyle has never been more important.”
Recognizing the impact and importance the sport of soccer plays in the day-to-day lives of America’s families, US Youth Soccer, with 3.2 million members, the nation’s largest youth sports association, is spearheading Youth Soccer Month – Celebrating Soccer in America, this September.
Throughout Youth Soccer Month a series of messages and themes will be communicated to illustrate the essence of youth soccer. Each week during Youth Soccer Month a different message will be the focus of “Celebrating Soccer in America.”
The four messages of Youth Soccer Month are:
· Fitness: The health and fitness (physical, psychological and social) benefits of playing soccer.
· Friendship: The relationships and fun generated through playing soccer and their extension beyond the field.
· Family: Playing soccer ties families together as schedules, vacations and family time are coordinated.
· Fun: Whether recreational or competitive in nature, involvement in soccer is easy, affordable and rewarding.
Youth Soccer Month will also highlight the various programs available to children interested in participating in soccer, including the inner-city, special needs, recreational and elite soccer programs that have facilitated the growth of the sport at all levels.
About US Youth Soccer - US Youth Soccer-The Game for ALL Kids!® is the largest youth sports organization in the nation and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3.2 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, in 55 member state associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game.