There are countless reasons why signing your child up for youth soccer is a fantastic idea. Not only will they have a great time meeting and playing with other kids, but playing soccer also improves motor skills, time management, self-confidence, goal-setting, and teamwork just to name a few!
Despite all of these pros, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed when my five and seven-year-old kids first started playing soccer. My husband and I both have full time careers so finding enough time to feed the kids, dress them in soccer gear, and drop them off at the correct soccer field was A LOT for this mama to handle.
As I think about how I felt when my kids started playing soccer, I imagine I would have benefited from having some more information about youth soccer in Charleston. Below I’ve shared some tips for moms new to soccer, as well as some links for soccer programs in the Charleston area.
General Tips for New Soccer Mamas
The first tip I’ll provide to new soccer moms is to understand the signup deadlines and specific requirements for registering your child. When I tried to sign-up my oldest son for soccer about three years ago, I learned that the recreational department where I live in Mt. Pleasant requires the parent/guardian to provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate as a part of the initial registration. The subsequent registrations can be done online, but for the first registration I had to go in person to one of the Town of Mt. Pleasant facilities. As I was late in getting this registration completed, my son and all the other kids who signed up after the registration deadline were placed on a waitlist and then onto random teams.
Once your child has been registered for soccer, you will need to purchase soccer gear. This includes shin guards, soccer socks, cleats, a kids sized soccer ball, and possibly a football chair for you to sit in while you watch your child play. You can find these items at numerous sporting goods stores around Charleston; however, if you wait until the last minute, you may find that one or more of these items has sold out. My suggestion is to start your shopping at least a few days before your child’s first practice. You may even consider checking out a consignment shop or asking a friend who has older kids to see if they still have some of their soccer gear. My kids typically need a new pair of cleats about twice a year and this can get expensive!
Another aspect of soccer that was hard for my husband and I was having enough food available for our kids both before and after they play soccer. We have two boys who always seem to be hungry, but when they play soccer they EAT SO MUCH FOOD! I found having some substantial snacks on hand allowed my kids eat in the car on the way to soccer. Then after they finish playing we tried to eat a quick meal before bathing and heading to bed.
Recreation Department Youth Soccer Programs
My experience has been that the local recreation departments do a really good job of planning all the details for soccer practices and games. The coaches are typically volunteers who may or may not have soccer experience; however, the fees are very low and children are placed on teams based on location and school so chances are your child will already know at least some kids on his or her team! See below for information on the recreation department in your area of Charleston.
Private Soccer Clubs/Leagues
If you are interested in signing your child up for a private soccer club or league, you may want to consider some of the programs linked below. Generally these organizations hire coaches that have plenty of experience playing soccer.
Daycare and School Soccer Programs
If your child attends a daycare or school you may want to check to see if a soccer program is offered there. Two of the common school soccer programs are linked below.