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As competitive as youth soccer can be, having the opportunity to play the sport you love while also training with your buddies can greatly impact player development. Youth sports is an amazing opportunity to make new friends while also surrounding yourself with people that have similar goals and aspirations. Training your soccer skills and technique outside of required club practices is paramount to player progression and athletic development. Like any other game or activity, the best way to allocate more time and touches in your personal training routine is by having fun and playing with your friends. Soccer is just a game after all and like all games, fun is necessary for continued participation.

Influence among their child’s peers continues to top the list of reasons why parents worry. As parents try to fill the role of guardian angel for their child, it’s inevitable that kids will be influenced by their friends. Although, outside influence doesn’t always have to be a bad thing! Quite frankly, in many cases, friends can have the ability to motivate each other even more than a parent. Within this idea, we see how important friends and their influence can be to a soccer player and his/her development.

Having been a competitive youth soccer player, I was constantly surrounded by other soccer players. Naturally, I was inclined to spend time and make friends within this sector because of my interest of being an exceptional soccer player. Being the competitive person I am, my drive was to be the best amongst my friend group. This served as motivation for me to practice extra and even seek out private soccer lessons. As my friends and I continued to develop our skills and abilities, we began to be stand out players on the pitch. Our constant desire to improve and one up each other served as our ultimate influencer for becoming the best we could.

Looking back, the reason I have gone on to be a successful soccer player is because of the friends that pushed me to improve. Whether it be training as a friend group, taking private lessons, or just kicking the ball around when bored, friends and their influence can directly impact the type of soccer player you become. That’s the beautiful part of making friends, their ability to motivate you towards fulfilling a goal is unmatched. If I were currently a youth soccer player, I would strive to surround myself with people that motivate me to become something. I would avoid at all costs the people that want me to settle for less and achieve sub-adequacy.

Soccer players are a different breed of athlete. We always expect more while never giving into the temptation of giving up. We are the crusaders that dominate The Beautiful Game.