There’s no better feeling for a sports lover than spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon out at the field surrounded by young athletes that have an intense passion and energy for the game they love to play.
Over the weekend, Demosphere’s team of Account Representatives spent the day volunteering at Soccerfest, a two-day celebration of soccer, camaraderie, and fun.
SoccerFest, a local Demosphere client out of Movern Park, serves as the biggest, and most dynamic small-sided (4v4) youth and adult soccer tournament festival in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Roughly 130 teams traveled to the D.C. area on Saturday to compete on 20 different fields. The day’s event was estimated to have drawn in approximately 3,000 players, parents, coaches and spectators.
Youth sports in America are different than they used to be 15 years ago…or even just 5 years ago. There are more than 38 million youth playing organized sports each year, plus the number that participate in recreational games.
Children are starting younger, specializing sooner, and playing more competitively.
With some young athletes now beginning their athletic careers as young as age four, the line between “athlete” and “youth athlete” becomes fuzzy.
Still experiencing bone growth, the areas at the end of long bones where cartilage is developing is still weak compared to other ligaments and tendons. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a small injury (like a twisted ankle that might result in a sprain in an adult athlete) could potentially result in a much more serious bone injury in developing children.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital reported sports injuries as the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents. Roughly three million children are sent to the ER for sports-related injuries, while another five million are treated by a primary care physician or a sports medicine clinic.
In 2013, USA Today released statistics for the most common diagnoses seen in ERs for youth sports related injuries. Ranking first place for the most common injury was Strain/Sprain. Fractures, Contusions, and Concussions were all on the list.
As for where on the body they occur, Ankles were the most common location – followed closely by Head and Fingers.
Depending on the sport, the type of injuries may also differ. For example, basketball’s most common injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, scrapes/cuts, and dislocations. Football’s most common injuries range from sprains, to strains, pulled muscles, soft tissue tears, broken bones, internal injuries, concussions, and back injuries.
The first, and most important factor in properly treating a youth sports injury is to have it evaluated by a medical professional. Any injury involving swelling and/or loss of movement or strength should be taken to a physician immediately.
If you believe an injury to be minor, evaluate the area after a few days. If it has not healed itself, it’s time to go to the doctor. Small injuries that fail to heal properly can result in a chronic issue.
Rest – Avoid using the injured area until it can be properly evaluated by a medical professional.
Ice – Use ice to help minimize the pain and swelling to the area. Apply ice to the area in 15-20 minute increments. Icing should be performed during the first 48-72 hours after the injury has occurred.
Compression – Apply elastic wrap below the injured area, wrapping upward, to help reduce swelling. If using elastic wrap/compression socks, always leave toes/fingers exposed and keep an eye out for numbness or discoloration.
Elevation – Prop the injured area higher than the heart.
There are several strategies available to help prevent sports injuries in youth players before they happen.
Wear the appropriate protective gear and make sure all pieces fit the athlete properly.
Always warm-up before starting to play.
Keep hydrated especially in intense heat.
Do not put repetitive stress on immature muscle-bone areas as these may result in overuse injuries.
Participate in multiple sports, not just one sport, year-round.
Limit the number of teams a young athletes joins over one season.
Have a physician screen young athletes for a preseason physical examination.
Do you have a strategy that helps keep the young athletes in your life safe? Add it to the comments section below!
Both Swansea City and the Richmond Kickers are excited for the upcoming showdown. For Swansea, the game provides the club and players an opportunity to tune up for a long and arduous 2016-2017 Premier League campaign.
For Richmond, the match is an incredible chance for the USL players to compete against some of the world’s best.
Amazing Opportunity for Youth Soccer
The match will be an incredible opportunity for not just the two clubs, but also for American youth soccer.
Swansea City AFC competes in the Barclays Premier League, which is perceived by many as the best football (soccer) league in the world. The Welsh club regularly competes against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool FC, and Arsenal FC.
The Swans (as they are nicknamed) not only play against some of the world’s most talented players, but are themselves home to several world-class footballers.
Fans and young American soccer players will have the chance to see a Premier League team and players up-close and personal.
The Richmond youth who play, watch, and study the game are not often presented with such a unique viewing experience. Richmond locals will be able to watch soccer of the highest quality right in their own backyard!
The Benefits of Preseason Tours
European teams who play in the dominant leagues and come to America for games provide learning experiences for local youth and fun events for families.
As more and more of America’s youth grow up playing soccer, and continue to play soccer longer, opportunities like the Richmond/Swansea exhibition match become increasingly important in fostering an American love for the world’s game.
What do you think? Which teams would you like to see play in America? Let us know in the comments below!
As the U.S. Men’s National Team gears up for the opening match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario, the talented young players continue to impress the soccer world.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s main objective in this tournament is to advance as far as possible; however, it’s no secret that developing the stars of tomorrow is an essential part of his plan.
In the matches leading up to Friday’s clash with South American powerhouse Columbia, youth has played an integral role in the team’s success.
Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, and Christian Pulisic, (each of whom are 24 or younger) all performed well in the Copa America warm-up games and have been selected to represent the U.S. in this summer’s tournament.
While much of the squad appears to be veteran players, the exciting youngsters that were picked have the chance to be key figures in Klinsmann’s side.
Youth In the Attack
Zardes and Wood, the two young dynamic attackers, offer speed, high work rates, and finishing to the American attack. Both can expect to see significant minutes for the national team this summer.
During his tenure, Coach Klinsmann has stressed the importance of developing the future of U.S. soccer and has given opportunities to young players to prove themselves.
Wood is a prime example of how Klinsmann’s strategy is beginning to pay off.
The American striker has already scored five times in the red, white and blue, and has impressed coaches, fans, and players with his strength and ability hit the back of the net.
Wood, Zardes, Brooks, and Yedlin are all exciting prospects with lots of potential, and close followers of the USMNT have been aware of them for some time.
Christian Pulisic is an entirely different story. Pulisic’s meteoric rise has all happened within the last few months.
After being called up to Borussia Dortmund’s first team over the winter break, and featuring in several Bundesliga and Europa League matches, the PA native burst onto everyone’s radar. He now has the opportunity to represent his country in the Copa America Centario.
The teenage midfielder’s ability to seize opportunity has presented him with the chance of a lifetime. His ability and potential point to a bright future for him and U.S. Soccer.
A Balanced Mix
While many may see Klinsmann’s exclusion of prospects like Miazga and Morris as a move away from youth, the reality is that the U.S. Copa squad contains several exciting young players in attack, midfield, and defense who have the potential to be the future of U.S. Soccer.
Klinsmann’s Copa America Centenario side is a balanced mix of both experienced veterans and exciting youngsters all ready to compete with the best of the Americas.
Do you have a favorite new player on your radar? Let us know in the comments section below!