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Youth Sports: The key to a strong work ethic for kids


It's a breeze for kids these days.

They have the entire breadth of human knowledge and experience just a Google search away, and online marketplaces get products to their door faster than ever. Gone are the days of trudging to the library and sifting for hours through dusty archives for nuggets of information or waiting endlessly for the latest out-of-stock book to hit the local bookstore’s shelves. But amidst this era of instant gratification, one thing seems to be slipping through the cracks: good old-fashioned work ethic.

Instilling a strong work ethic in kids who seem to have it all requires breaking it down into simple, teachable characteristics. However, this mentorship can be challenging for busy parents juggling multiple responsibilities. Youth sports emerge as a tried-and-true method for cultivating essential traits like hard work, initiative, teamwork, respect, perseverance, selflessness, and community involvement.

With so many options when deciding which youth programs parents will enroll their kids, most first think of baseball and football. However, soccer should be above both of those sports. I know what you’re thinking: “You’re only saying that because you're Apopka’s own youth soccer club!” You’d be right, but give me a second to make my case.

Yes, baseball and football are both American sports. Aside from a couple of weeks in the year, you can’t turn on the TV without one of those sports on the screen. But there's a reason why those are American sports, and soccer is the world’s sport! The main one? Soccer is non-stop! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love baseball and football, but when it comes to minute-to-minute action, soccer wins by far. For this reason, kids who play are encouraged always to be ready by not letting their guard down. 

Soccer players don’t get 30 seconds of huddle time to plan a play or rest on the sidelines while the defense or offense is on the field. They don’t get to hang out in the outfield or dugout while the pitcher, catcher, and batter do all the work. Again, these sports hold a special place in my heart and require immense athleticism. The drama alone of a full-count pitch or 3rd down brings me to the edge of my seat every time. But when the kids are out there playing, being on the soccer field constantly running, planning on the fly, communicating non-stop, and reacting to every pass, whether on offense or defense, means that the kids are being far more strategic with their time when not in possession of the ball compared to other sports. 

The constant action of soccer means soccer players have to be in great physical shape. But fitness and ball-handling skills are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to soccer. Movement when not with the ball requires each player to recognize and strategize in real-time, individually and as a team, for 45 minutes non-stop, twice. All this time on the field, mostly analyzing the game on their own, means soccer players must have all the characteristics of work ethic instilled within them to be successful. 

Although I am hoping you’ll watch and appreciate the game instead of immediately changing the channel the next time you see a soccer match on TV. I’m truly hoping that you'll see soccer in a new light and give it more value when it comes to youth sports—specifically, that you'll help our club continue being Apopka’s own youth soccer club!

There are two ways you can help our club: 1. Enroll your 2-19 year old child in one of our many age-appropriate programs. And 2. Take part in our annual fundraiser. Wait, wait, wait…before you tune out at the word “fundraiser,” give me another chance to explain myself. You've already made it this far; you might as well learn about your local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. That's right, our club is a non-profit! This means that our primary purpose is to serve OUR local community. 

We are proud to host outreach events for Apopka’s community in need. Each year, we host a food drive that helps restock local food banks during and after the most difficult time of the year: the end-of-the-year holiday season. In addition to working with Apopka’s food banks, we host free events for our local soccer players, including free Open Play nights every Friday or community events throughout the year. We also provide paying jobs for club coaches and staff, referees, and even reimbursement for training for our staff to get qualified and paid for their work with the club. How do we do this? With the help of generous donors in our community. No amount is too small to be considered generous. All donations contribute to OUR local community. 

In addition to contributing to Apopka’s local community, our fundraiser also helps to keep membership fees affordable. Youth sports, especially at the competitive level, can be expensive. We understand this burden better than most, which is why we strive to keep our currently affordable membership fee below that of other soccer clubs in our area. 

We also understand that Apopka has a uniquely broad socio-economic community. Because of this, the third goal of our fundraiser is to provide financial assistance to players in need to ensure they participate in the game we all love. Money should be the last reason Apopka’s youth should be left out of all the benefits of youth sports. Rest assured that your donation will help support our mission to ignite the passion for soccer in every child, regardless of their background or financial status, by providing equal opportunities to learn, play, and grow in a diverse and inclusive Central Florida community. 

Youth sports are integral to our kids’ futures. Even more so now that this generation is growing up in a culture of instant gratification. Investing in Central Florida Soccer Club is one of the best ways to foster hard work and a sense of duty to our community among Apopka’s youth. In just the last year alone, we've had over 500 players across all of our programs, provided over $30,000 in financial aid, and donated thousands of dollars worth of food to local food banks. Donors like you are the reason we are able to do what we do. 

Our fundraiser runs today through March 31. You can donate now by visiting our 99 Pledges website. If you'd like to help by enrolling a player, please visit our website at CentralFloridaSC.com or call us at 407-613-2426. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this article or following our Facebook or Instagram pages. We thank you so much and wish you a blessed 2024. Go Fire!

Apopka, Northwest Recreation Complex, Soccer, Central Florida Soccer Club


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