I just signed my child up for soccer! Now what do I do? I don't know that much about it.
Relax and prepare for FUN! Soccer is just playing with a ball (except with others and with a few simple rules).
The rules at the basic level are: the ball is shared with your teammates, is kept away from your opponents, everyone has to "play nice", everyone gets their time with the ball, and the point of the game is to HAVE FUN!
How can I be a supportive parent?
Give consistent encouragement and support to your child (and others on the team) regardless of the degree of success, level of skill or time on the field. Your child wants to have fun, be with their friends, make new friends, improve and learn, feel good and wear "the stuff".
Stress the importance of respect for referees and coaches through discussions with your child. Meet with your coach privately to discuss important issues. It is distracting to your child and other teammates for you to yell directions from the sidelines. Cheer, relax, and let them play.
Serve as a positive role model, remembering emphasis on fun and teamwork. Support your team by being a volunteer, support your child by providing:
Age appropriate soccer ball (for use during each practice and at home)
Shin guards (for practice and games)
Water bottle with your child's name on it - Fresh water should be available to your child at each practice and game
Team shirt (paid for with your registration fee) during game and shorts/socks as indicated by your coach
Soccer shoes (recommended especially on wet fields, no metal or baseball/football type shoes with square or rectangular cleats) suggested, but not required. Soccer cleats should be rubber or molded plastic and no less than 3/8 inch in diameter.
Focus on the process of playing and not the outcome. Cheer any and all successes on the field; it does not matter what player or team. The other team is full of their friends (not their enemy), and they are all kids and want you there to see them play. Don't keep score. Don't care who wins or loses. They are having fun and that is the objective. Winning can become more important as the child develops; for that reason, administrators seek to form balanced teams to create equal opportunities to win and lose.
Adapted from US Youth Soccer Parent Education Program