Many of us played soccer as youths, whether it was because we showed a genuine interest, a particular knack for the game, or (more likely) our parents just wanted us out of the house in the afternoons. Luckily for local children (and parents), there are numerous places in which to partake in the sport these days.
In fact, soccer is by a wide margin the most popular youth sport in Sacramento, according to Shane Singh, president of the Pocket Area’s very own Greenhaven Soccer Club.
The Sacramento Youth Soccer League (SYSL), had an impressive 7,000+ children ages 4-18 play soccer for its numerous clubs in 2012, according to Singh. The SYSL is comprised of 15 soccer clubs within the Greater Sacramento area, some of which cater to our area.
When asked why soccer is the dominant sport in our area, Singh said “It’s designed for younger kids to play. Four-year-olds can’t really play Little League, but they can play soccer.” He also pointed to the fact that soccer entails constant participation, whereas other sports can have long lulls where some kids don’t do anything, which can lead to boredom.
In addition to keeping the sometimes fleeting attention of younger children, Singh talked about the benefits that soccer and youth sports in general have for youths.
“(Sports) keep kids out of trouble. There have been studies that suggest kids who play sports do better in school and are more focused in the classroom. It also helps them to develop life skills, like how to work in a team environment,” he said.
While there are players in most of the SYSL clubs all the way up to 18 years of age, Singh explained that the majority of the players are between ages 6-12. And while he estimates that 90% of soccer seasons within the SYSL run between August and December, the other 10% play a longer season and some of the competitive teams even play year-round.
Singh also estimated that 90% of kids play on strictly recreational soccer teams. If your child is a soccer star who wants to try his hand (or rather feet) at competitive soccer, many of the clubs within the SYSL offer competitive clubs which are generally more expensive, require more travel and often have longer seasons.
August is still a ways off, but registration for some leagues can begin as early as March. Check the end of this article for information about leagues in your area and find out when each club handles registration.
There is rarely a time when children are turned away from participating, but occasionally it does happen if there are too many kids and not enough coaches. Volunteer coaches are much needed, according to Singh.
While not affiliated with the SYSL, the Carmichael-based Del Dayo Soccer Club offers a wide range of teams for your young soccer star. In 2012, Del Dayo soccer fielded 20 teams and more than 350 players. Del Dayo Soccer Club is affiliated with the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA). For information about registration and other inquiries, visit deldayosoccer.net.
In the Arden area, check out Fulton-El Camino Youth Soccer. For information about enrolling your child, visit fecsoccer.org. Also in the Arden area is St. Ignatius Soccer Club. The club can be reached at 916-649-9645.