Rocky Mountain Soccer’s Guide to Recreational Boulder Youth Soccer Programs
Soccer is the most popular youth sport in Colorado. It can also be the most confusing. At Rocky Mountain Soccer (RMS), we are asked every day about participation in youth soccer. Before we offer some advice we want to share why we think youth soccer is great!
Kids who play youth soccer perform better academically on average than kids that do not play sports. Soccer helps develop important healthy lifestyle habits; reduce chances of behavioral issues; develop social skills; create a sense of community; inspire increased confidence; and enhance character development. Ultimately, youth soccer is a great way to make friends, enjoy the camaraderie of teams, and have a ton of fun!
Many kids develop specific skills via youth soccer that help them succeed in high school athletics. A few aspiring and dedicated young athletes even go on to play in college and beyond. Many of the top professional athletes in basketball (Kobe Bryant) and football (Ochocinco) played youth soccer.
Just one of the reasons we love soccer is that it’s a global game connecting the world to you and you to the world. A great way to travel is to toss a pair of soccer shoes in your bag, find a park in a foreign land and meet new people playing the beautiful game. Soccer truly is a global handshake that crosses borders and cultural divides.
Soccer is also one of the few team sports that you can play well into adulthood. Organized leagues exist for all levels and pick-up games happen nearly every day in Colorado.
So obviously at Rocky Mountain Soccer we are passionate about soccer and youth soccer. Following is some advice to the most frequently asked question at Rocky Mountain Soccer.
Question: Where should I sign up my child for soccer? What soccer program should my child play in?
Ages 2-10 Recreational / Developmental Soccer
For information of Competitive Youth Soccer see our related guide.
For the youngest ages (2-10 years old) of soccer we recommend that kids play with a youth sports organization that fits the family’s schedule, location and budget. Every organization has a different culture or personality based on its leadership, values, mission and vision. Myriad programs exist, so here are some tips to choosing the right one for you and your family:
RMS’s 10 Most Important Questions to ask a Recreational/Developmental Soccer Program:
(1) Is the environment for your child safe? Does the organization conduct background checks on the coaches and staff that interact with your child? This should include parent volunteer coaches and administrators. Are the playing surfaces and areas at practices and games appropriate and safe for soccer? Are the goals secured and safe (especially on windy days)? Are all the coaches and staff aware of the best practices for risk management? Are coaches expected to be CPR/First-Aid certified?
(2) Is the program organized well? Is the registration process simple and organized? Does the club have clear communication? The state of the program’s website will often give you an idea of how well the club is organized. Is the information clear, current and concise? Are phone calls answered and messages returned in an appropriate time?
(3) Are the fees appropriate for the service provided? Youth soccer should be affordable and comparable to other team sport activities at this age in the area.
(4) Do volunteer coaches receive support from the organization? Are coaches given guidance for running age-appropriate soccer practices that are fun, safe and develop fundamental skills? Do the coaches receive the tools and support to transfer the clubs’ philosophies or are the coaches left on their own to create their own culture within the organization?
(5) Does the club have appropriate playing time policies for the age group and how does it communicate and put the policy into practice? After all, the kids want to play.
(6) Does the club have appropriate limits on the sizes of team rosters to assure that each player does have the opportunity to play at least half the game? A team’s roster size should be less than double the number of players on the field. Again, the kids want to play. Having more kids on the sideline than on the field makes no sense for creating a fun and inspiring environment to enjoy soccer.
(7) Is the field size and number of players in the game age appropriate to assure that each player has maximized opportunities to touch the ball and enjoy the game? Does the organization follow the United State Soccer Federation guidelines for U5-U10 soccer structures?
(8) Does the organization have opportunities for your child to continue and progress in the game for several years to come? Your child should not need to change organizations every few years.
(9) Do kids in the program have the opportunity to receive regular fundamental skills development as they progress through the program? Is that included in the fees or is it extra? When kids learn the skills to be successful at soccer they often enjoy playing the game more.
(10) Is FUN a priority for the program and do the adults involved project a fun culture for youth soccer? If the kids have fun then they will want to return to the game. A fun environment is inspiring.
We hope you find this information helpful. This article is part of our ongoing series and support of youth soccer.
Below are links to recreational soccer clubs serving Boulder County / North Metro Area.
Boulder Rapids Reserve Soccer Club
Colorado Storm North
St Vrain FC