How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Soccer? Best Age To Start !

Soccer is an amazing sport, but one thing that’s easy to forget is that it’s a very physical game. In fact, soccer requires players to be active in many ways besides just running around and scoring goals.

One key aspect of being physically fit for soccer is staying strong and having the strength to lift others when necessary. So how old do you have to be before playing soccer?

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Soccer? 3, 5, 10?

The first school of thought by some Soccer enthusiasts is that they believe that the optimal age to introduce soccer to young ones is the age of 3.

They are still growing at this feeble age, and if introduced at this age, they’ll grow with the sport and eventually become prodigy. These soccer enthusiasts often cite examples of players like Pedri, Ansu Fati, and co to back this up.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Soccer?

Another school of thought disagrees with the age three theory. They believe that the optimal age for introducing soccer is age 5. – They claim that at this age, the kid is strong enough to stand on his own and has the optimal strength to play at this age.

However, I think there’s no right age or time to get introduced to soccer. Be it 3, 5, or the age of 10.

The most important thing at this age is that the kid is interested in the sport and makes sure they are playing with their respective age group to avoid injuries from playing with people stronger than them.

A two-year-old can play soccer as long as they are balanced and strong enough to chase and kick a ball.

What Are The Advantages Of Kids Playing Soccer?

Introducing soccer to your kids at a young age has a lot of health and mental benefits. It strengthens their bones and allows them to be focused on important things.

Here are some advantages.

  1. Social skills

The important aspect of soccer is playing and working with the team. This aspect alone will increase the emotional quotient of a kid, making them socialize freely.

  1. Motor skills

Playing soccer allows kids to improve their body coordination; it also makes them agile and strengthens their balance.

  1. Cognitive skills

An important aspect of soccer is following instructions and being disciplined. Allowing kids to start soccer at a young age will imbibe instruction following and a disciplined state of mind.

  1. After-school activities.

Soccer can be a fun after-school activity as well. Instead of your kids lazing around or doing irrelevant things, soccer is a nice way to keep them active and busy and release energy.

  1. Concentration

If you notice that your kids have a short attention span and easily lose concentration and focus. Soccer can be a nice and fun way for your kids to build concentration over time.

  1. Time management

Teaching kids the concept of time management can be hard sometimes, but it comes with ease with soccer. Playing soccer will integrate the concept of time management into your kids.

  1. Consistency

Making them start soccer at a young age creates consistency, and as kids, it allows them to sharpen their skills and build endurance.

  1. Self-esteem and confidence

Soccer builds self-esteem and confidence in kids at a young age.


What Are The Disadvantages Of Kids Playing Soccer?

  1. It can impact your kid’s personality.
  2. It might be too early to tell if your kid enjoys playing soccer.
  3. They might get an injury that could last for a lifetime.
  4. If the training is too rigorous, the kids might lose interest and stop seeing it as a fun sport and game.
  5. It might be too expensive for parents to afford.
  6. If the kids do not have a talent for the sport, it might derail them from their future careers.
  7. It can be time-consuming for the kid.
  8. There are physical and psychological risks.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Soccer?

What Are The Basic Rules About Soccer A Kid Should Know?

There are some technical rules regarding soccer, but it’s of no importance to burden a kid just starting to learn those rules. At a young age, the basic rules are what should be taught to a kid.

Here are the basic rules surrounding soccer;

Rule 1: The number of players

The max number of players allowed on each side is 11 players ( 10 players and 1  Goalkeeper). The number of players on the field can be reduced with age. For example, kids under the age of 10 can play six players for both sides, while kids under the age of 5 can play 4 or 5 players per side.

Rule 2: Substitutions

Officially, you are allowed to have a substitution of three players. Still, with the recent pandemic and the increased number of games across all competitions, the number has been increased to 5 players.

However, there’s no maximum number of substitutions for friendly matches and youth leagues. A substitution can only be performed when a ball is not in play.

Rule 3: Goal

For a ball to be considered a goal, it has to cross the line and enter the goalpost. The team with the highest number of goals wins the match.

Rule 4: Length of the game

The game’s length is 90 minutes, with 45 minutes designated for each half. Fifteen minutes are allocated for the players to rest after the first half. Youth leagues can be as long as 15 – 30 minutes with a 7 – 10 minute halftime rest.

Rule 5: No hands

Soccer is also called football, and this means it’s a sport that can only be played with your feet. Players can only use their hands on the balls during a throw-in.

Asides from that, the only player allowed to use their hands on the ball is the goalkeeper, and he has to stay within the goalpost area unless it’s flagged an offense.

Rule 6: Offsides

Offside is a complicated theory in soccer. It is considered an offside if you’re on the opponent’s side of the pitch and a ball is passed to you while you’re behind the last player of the opponent. This rule doesn’t apply to goalkeepers.

However, if at the point of you being offside, the opponent’s legs touch the ball before getting to your legs, then the ball is not offside.

Rule 7: Fouls and misconduct

If you’re aggressive to a player on the pitch, you can be sent off, given a warning, or a free kick.

Behaviors like handballs, pushing, tripping, pulling, and aggressive play.

Rule 8: Free kicks

There are two types of free kicks in soccer: indirect and direct.  For less violence or interruptions, indirect freekicks are awarded. It is played at the spot where the offense happened and doesn’t need a referee’s whistle before it can be played.

However, an indirect freekick has to be touched by another player before it can be used to score a goal.

On the other hand, a direct free kick can be kicked into the goalpost directly by the kicker. And it also needs a referee whistle to be played.

Rule 9: Penalty kick

A penalty will be awarded if a player was fouled or tackled violently or the ball meets his hand inside the 18-yard penalty box. To play the penalty, the ball is placed on the penalty spot, and the shooter kicks the ball after the referee’s whistle.

The goalkeeper must stay on the goalpost line until the shooter kicks the ball.

Rule 10: Throw in

If the ball is played out of the field to continue the game, a throw-in is used. The throw-in is awarded to the team’s opponent that played it outside the pitch. The rules regarding throw-in are that your feet must be on the line while throwing the ball in, and you cannot use a single hand to throw in. – You have to use both hands.

There’s no offside rule attached to throw-in also. You can also score directly from a throw-in.

Rule 11: A goal kick

A goal kick is awarded when the opponents play it outside the line beside the goal post. For goal kicks, the keeper places the ball anywhere in the 18-yard penalty box, and all players are to leave and go to the middle of the field.

The goalkeeper can also call on a player to help him play the goal kick.

Rule 12: Corner kick

A corner kick is awarded if a player prevents an opponent from scoring and the ball rolls out to the line beside the goal post.


Factors To Consider Before Letting Your Kid Play Soccer

  • The kid’s interest

This is very important when deciding to allow or let your kid starts playing soccer. If the kid isn’t interested in the sport, forcing them to do so might be detrimental to their health.

  • Soccer program

This is also very important. You have to choose a program that not only teaches soccer but also teaches your kid some basic knowledge and skills.

  • Soccer play schedule

You also have to create a soccer schedule. A schedule that will pay the parents as well as the kid. After all, you don’t want to stress your kid physically and mentally.

  • Coach

This is also very important. The coach has to possess certain attributes before enrolling your kid under him. He has to be enthusiastic, patient and has experience. He also has to be passionate about the sport and be good at working with kids.

Can My 2-Year-Old Play Soccer?

Yes, a two-year-old can play soccer if they have stability and balance and are strong enough. Also, make sure they play with his age mate to prevent injuries.

What Age Can You Play Soccer From?

You can start playing soccer as early as the age of 2, but to get into the technical learning of soccer, you’d have to be as old as 10+.

What’s The Required Age For Professional Soccer?

According to FIFA, the minimum age to start playing professional soccer is the age of 15.

What Age Is Too Late To Start Learning Soccer?

Once you are 23 or above 23, it’s too late to start learning soccer. Since learning soccer is a gradual stage, there’s a certain limit to which your body cannot effectively participate in competitive soccer.

Can You Start Soccer At 14?

Yes, it is possible to start playing soccer at age 14, either as a professional or a hobby. Undoubtedly, it’ll be extremely tough to outshine those who have been training since they were 5, 6, or 7 years old. But you can get the hang of the basics and improve over time.

How Long Should a 14-Year-Old Practice Soccer?

At Age 14, you are getting close to competitive football level, and it’s time to move from training for fun to fitness.

Compared to players between 11 to 12 years old, nothing is wrong with a 2-hour practice and 4 training sessions a week.




There’s no right or wrong age to start playing soccer if the kid is strong enough and interested in the game. It is also important that the kid is having fun while playing soccer.



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