Recent changes in Canadian youth sports that promote children’s physical literacy are starting to happen in other countries.
The motherland of soccer, England, is making sweeping changes to kids’ “football”. The English Football Association (FA, for short) is officially backing a switch to small-sided mini games for kids, with an emphasis on developing skills and technique in childhood.
For England, this is huge news. It’s been one of the last soccer nations still making kids play like adults.
Among the new changes, seven and eight-year-olds will start playing five-a-side games on smaller fields instead of the traditional eleven-a-side adult game.
Most soccer experts and top professional coaches such as Arsene Wenger agree that small-sided soccer and skills development are the key to developing good players.
The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) officially endorsed mini soccer for kids in 2007 with the release of Wellness to World Cup [PDF]. Meanwhile, leading soccer nations such as the Netherlands have been playing small-sided soccer and emphasizing skills over winning for decades.
And the Netherlands have consistently outperformed England at the international level for years, despite having only one-third of the population.
Are you a soccer mom or dad? Are your kids playing on smaller fields? Tells us what that experience is like for them, and for you. Are they having fun? Have you noticed that they are developing soccer skills?