Did you know that–aside from being Halloween–31 October is World Cities Day? Why on earth celebrate cities you ask? According to the United Nations, half of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities. Although we are blessed with an abundance of outdoor space to enjoy–on a global scale–we are simply running out of traditional green space to enjoy the great outdoors. Celebrating cities is all about learning to share the space we have. This is a great opportunity to redefine and broaden our ideas globally about what it is to engage in nature play. In their Big Count survey, FIFA (the organisation that runs world soccer) estimated that 4% of the world’s population play soccer on a regular basis. That’s about 265 million people across the globe. Enter street soccer!
Here are seven things you might not know about street soccer.
- Let’s clear up something first. Do you literally play on the street? Well, you don’t have to, but if you can find a quiet cul-de-sac where all of the neighbours are on board, then you’re good to go. If you have a backyard, a park, a school oval, a beach, or even an inner-city rooftop, you can play. You can pretty much play street soccer anywhere. Are you convinced yet?
- The beauty of street soccer is that it’s totally unstructured and you don’t need any fancy equipment. Grab a few mates (or make some new ones), a ball, and a couple of witches’ hats, and you’re all set up to start a game of street soccer. Don’t have witches’ hats for goals? No problem. Use a stick, a shoe, a shirt, a shrub, a hoodie, or anything else you can think of. It doesn’t matter when you play, it’s an anywhere, anytime proposition. Only got 10 minutes? Plenty of time for a quick game of street soccer.
- The wonderful thing about street soccer is that it is socially inclusive. It’s for boys and girls, young and old, and every ability. No matchy matchy uniforms here. Street soccer does not discriminate, and shoes are optional. But best of all it’s FREE! It costs nothing, nada, zip. Street soccer is the ultimate sport without barriers.
- So what if you can’t find any friends to play with? Do you have a dog? When I was a kid growing up, my siblings were all much older than me, and we lived on an acreage with not many neighbours. So I would grab the old leather netball and the blue cattle dog, and we would go crazy kicking the ball around doing our own version of suburban street soccer in the paddock dodging the chook poo. The punctures through the leather became a bit of an issue though, and that poor old ball ended up pretty worse for wear (not to mention the dog’s teeth). But I digress. The point is, we had fun with the smallest of teams and the most derelict of equipment.
- But what about those folks who want their kids to get serious about soccer? How can they become the best if they’re just mucking around playing street soccer and NOT WEARING THEIR EXPENSIVE SOCCER SHOES? Well, here’s the rub (apologies to Shakespeare). Playing street soccer breeds that all-important creativity in players. According to Roni Mansur (contributor at www.getsportiq.com), the United States have found that even though soccer is becoming immensely popular at a grassroots level, their high-level players lack creativity with the ball. They are supervised, controlled, and coached at all levels of soccer, and have no need to apply their imagination and creativity to how they play. If they make a mistake they are corrected before they can solve the problem themselves. This really differs from some of the unstructured and less-clinical approaches you see to choosing soccer talent in nations around the world where the talent pool is enormous.
- The key to everything we know about the benefits of playing street soccer is that it is unstructured. It provides an organic and natural way to learn the game. It gives kids the freedom to discover their skills and learn from their mistakes. It allows them to develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills, whilst using their imagination and creativity to improve their physical soccer prowess.
Street soccer and mud. Win-win.
- Remember when the kids at school with the soccer ball were the most popular, because you knew there was the capacity to have a game anytime, anywhere? Let your child be that person. At Ginger Sport we are passionate about the emotional and physical wellbeing of children. And we know that a lifelong passion for sport can hinge on our early experiences as children. Give your kids a soccer ball, and let them see where their imagination takes them. You won’t regret it, and your kids will thank you for providing positive sporting experiences that create a lifelong passion for healthy activity.
Ginger Sport offers a huge variety of activities with times and locations to suit. Our commitment to our values, and our passion for what we do, is what motivates families to choose us. Ginger Sport is a proud Nature Play QLD Provider