Why 13-18-Year-Olds Play Youth Soccer: The Right and Wrong Reasons



Why 13-18-Year-Olds Play Youth Soccer:
The Right and Wrong Reasons
Youth soccer can be a transformative experience for teenagers aged 13 to 18, offering numerous benefits that extend beyond the field. However, both players and their parents need to understand the motivations behind their participation. Playing for the right reasons can lead to personal growth, enjoyment, and long-term involvement in the sport while playing for the wrong reasons can result in burnout, frustration, and a lack of fulfillment.

The Right Reasons to Play Youth Soccer

After a match, hydration should be the top priority. Water alone may not be sufficient to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. An electrolyte drink can help replenish essential minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Proper hydration supports muscle function, prevents cramps, and aids in the overall recovery process.

Challenge and Improvement:

At this age, many players develop a passion for the challenges that soccer presents. They are eager to improve their skills, tactics, and overall game understanding. The drive to become better and face tougher competition can be highly motivating.


Soccer teaches valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication, and cooperation. The camaraderie and bonds formed with teammates are often a significant reason why players stay committed to the sport.

Running and Physical Activity:

Many teenagers enjoy the physical aspect of soccer, from the running and agility to the overall fitness benefits. The sport provides a healthy outlet for their energy and helps them stay active.

Fun and Excitement:

The thrill of the game, the joy of scoring a goal, and the excitement of close matches make soccer a fun and engaging activity. For many, the love of the game is a powerful motivator.

Love of Practice and Improvement:

improving. They love practicing new techniques, honing their skills, and seeing their hard work pay off on the field.

Lifestyle and Resilience:

For dedicated players, soccer becomes more than just a sport; it becomes a lifestyle. Injuries and setbacks are viewed as part of the journey, and the resilience built through these challenges often shapes their character.

The Wrong Reasons to Play Youth Soccer

Fear of Trying Something New:

Playing soccer because of a fear of trying new activities or stepping out of one’s comfort zone is not a healthy motivation. It can lead to missed opportunities for personal growth.

Identity Crisis:

Some players continue to play soccer because it has become a core part of their identity, even if they no longer enjoy it. Statements like “This is who I am” or “I was great, but now I’m struggling” reflect a reliance on past achievements rather than current passion.

Pressure for Scholarships:

Playing solely with the hope of securing a future scholarship can be problematic. While scholarships can be a great incentive, they should not be the primary reason for playing. The pressure to perform can overshadow the enjoyment of the game.

Lack of Enjoyment during Practice

If a player does not enjoy practice, it is a sign that their passion for the sport may be waning. Practice is a crucial part of development, and a genuine interest in improving should drive participation.

Interference with Social Life:

When soccer begins to feel like an obstacle to spending time with friends or pursuing other interests, it may be time to reassess. Balance is essential, and players should not feel forced to sacrifice other aspects of their lives for the sport.

Being Honest About Interests and Passions

Teenagers and their parents need to have honest conversations about their motivations for playing soccer. Just because a player started playing at a young age does not mean they must continue if their interests or skills have changed. If the overall experience is no longer fun or exciting, exploring other activities might be more fulfilling.


Playing youth soccer between the ages of 13 and 18 can be incredibly rewarding when driven by the right reasons. The love for the game, the challenge of improvement, the joy of teamwork, and the excitement of playing are all positive motivators. However, playing out of fear, identity pressure, or external expectations can lead to negative experiences. Encouraging honesty and self-reflection can help ensure that soccer remains a source of joy and personal growth for young athletes.