Youth Football: What are the challenges facing young players?

In recent years, football has become very popular and has hit mainstream with big names, such as Beckham, Solo, Rooney.

Both boys and girls have idols to look up to, and want to follow their footsteps.

But what most young football athletes are finding out, is that trying out and making the team is just not enough anymore.



For many young football athletes, playing on more than one team is very common.  

Tyler Bennett, a 15- year old forward from Kansas, who has been playing since he was 6 years old, plays for two teams in the spring.

He plays for the Overland Park Soccer Club and also plays for an Independent Competitive team.

The reasoning behind playing for two teams is due to playing time. He plays on two 18U teams, and due to being one of the younger athletes on the team, his play time is minimal.


The risk of burning out

When you not only have to balance school work but two team practices weekly to play a sport you love it becomes quite a challenge.

When facing this challenge, athletes can quickly face “burnout”.

Dr. Andrew Hill, from the University of Leeds’ School of Biomedical Science, says: “What we see among the athletes showing symptoms of burnout is emotional and physical exhaustion, a sense that they are not achieving and a sense of devaluation of the sport. Even though they might originally enjoy their sport and be emotionally invested in it, they eventually become disaffected. Participation can be very stressful”.

For Tyler, playing on two teams gives him all the playing time he is seeking but at times feels burned out because of his weekly schedule, and stress when he does get the play time.

Performing well, so that playing time can increase is a strong factor.


Communication is vital

Young athletes today, no matter what sport they play always think about college, and scholarships.

Coaches do not have the resources to go out and look for every player. The football athlete is expected to reach out to the coach and school.

Keeping in touch with the coach is very important and a way for the player to get noticed.

The coach may not be able to come see you play, but most top Division 1 universities require the athlete to attend their summer programs.


The journey is tricky, but attainable

Scholarships are not easy to come by, as the athlete, you need to inform the coaches of your skill, and experience.

Most football scholarships are not full scholarships. Coaches can divide the number of scholarships between many athletes.

To find more information on how to get recruited go to

Remember, the goal is never easy, and there will be many challenges faced.

But the goal IS attainable, and with hard work, determination, and willing to put yourself out there, your skill and want will not go unnoticed.



Written by Erica Bennett

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