Skilled Dutchman is Mistaken for Messi's Son: Learn 5 Benefits of Soccer for Children

The little boy mistaken for Messi's son gave us all a lesson in good ball control. What are the benefits of soccer for children? We'll tell you them here.
Skilled Dutchman is Mistaken for Messi's Son: Learn 5 Benefits of Soccer for Children
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 21 May, 2023

Social networks were abuzz for several hours after a mix-up between the son of one of the best players in the world, Lionel Messi, and a little Dutch boy who went viral for his skill with the ball. This gave us the kick to wonder about the benefits of soccer for children.

The video was shared on Instagram thousands of times. In it, you can see a child resembling Mateo, Messi’s son, dominating the ball. However, shortly afterward, it was clarified that the real protagonist is Amin, an 8-year-old boy from the Netherlands.

The situation is ideal to remind us of the importance of sport in development. In addition to improving physical fitness and balance, soccer can help children develop different social and emotional skills.

The benefits of soccer for children

The practice of sports is an extremely beneficial activity for children’s development, as it provides them with numerous benefits that allow them to strengthen their body and mind.

In fact, a study published by the journal Health Qual Life Outcomes, suggests that there is a close relationship between health-related quality of life and sports practice in children.

Here are the most notable benefits of soccer in children’s development.

1. It improves their physical skills

Among the most important physical skills that children develop while playing soccer are coordination, balance, and agility. Coordination involves the ability to perform controlled and precise movements with different parts of the body at the same time.

Balance refers to the ability to keep the body in a stable position while moving or at rest. Agility, on the other hand, is related to the ability to move quickly and flexibly in different directions.

In addition, soccer promotes visual-spatial awareness and eye-foot coordination, which has an impact on children’s motor skills and perception of the surrounding space. As you can see, soccer is not only a fun sport for children, but it can also be a valuable tool for their growth.

It’s important for children to practice physical activities that help them develop these skills, as detailed by Frontiers in Pediatrics in this article. Science has verified that there are positive results in these aspects when soccer is learned as a child.

2. It improves their social and emotional skills

In addition to physical skills, it’s necessary for children to develop social and emotional skills for their growth and well-being. Among the most important ones they can acquire are the following:

  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Resilience

This is the focus of this study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It reports the evidence of physical sports activities in children and their relationship with the development of healthy prosocial behavior. This can be defined as the ability to act voluntarily and positively, showing receptiveness, helpfulness, and cooperation in relationships with others.

3. It improves their cognitive abilities

According to an article published in Frontiers in Psychology, soccer is a sport that stimulates quick decision-making and problem-solving in high-pressure situations. This skill is crucial for children, as it teaches them how to overcome challenges and cope with stressful situations.

4. It strengthens their bone density

Playing soccer for young children can have important benefits on their bone health. According to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, in 2016, children who participated in high-impact, weight-bearing sports, such as soccer, had greater bone density compared to those who did not.

This characteristic is essential for healthy growth. Childhood and adolescence are characterized by the constant remodeling of bone tissue.

5. It keeps their general health in good condition

Being a sport that requires constant movement, children who practice it can improve their cardiovascular and respiratory health. This, in turn, helps reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases in the future.

In addition, soccer can help maintain a healthy weight. This is explained in an article published in the Nutrients Journal, which evaluated the body composition of children playing soccer.

It was concluded that “soccer practice is positively associated with increases in lean body mass and decreases in fat mass”. Specifically, this translates into more muscle and less adipose tissue.

Sports also improve sleep quality. Children need adequate rest for optimal growth and development.

Tips to encourage soccer practice in children and take advantage of its benefits

There’s no doubt that soccer practice in children can be beneficial for their physical and emotional health, as well as for their social development. Bearing this in mind, here are some tips to encourage their practice:

  • Provide them with a safe and supervised environment to play.
  • Highlight the importance of regular practice and constant effort.
  • Motivate them by example and active participation in their games and competitions.
  • Soccer helps them develop teamwork and cooperation skills.
  • Teach them to respect the rules, as well as their teammates and opponents.
  • Motivate them to celebrate their achievements and progress, not just focus on results.

By following these tips, parents can encourage their children to practice this beneficial sport and contribute to their personal development. The priority should always be for them to have fun with soccer and not feel any pressure.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Alesi, M., Bianco, A., Padulo, J., Luppina, G., Petrucci, M., Paoli, A., Palma, A., & Pepi, A. (2015). Motor and cognitive growth following a Football Training Program. Frontiers in psychology6, 1627.
  • Hernandez-Martin, A., Garcia-Unanue, J., Martínez-Rodríguez, A., Manzano-Carrasco, S., Felipe, J. L., Carvalho, M. J., Gallardo, L., & Sanchez-Sanchez, J. (2021). The Effects of Football Practice on Nutritional Status and Body Composition in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients13(8), 2562.
  • Li, J., & Shao, W. (2022). Influence of Sports Activities on Prosocial Behavior of Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review. International journal of environmental research and public health19(11), 6484.
  • Mao, X., Zhang, J., Li, Y., Cao, Y., Ding, M., Li, W., & Fan, L. (2022). The effects of football practice on children’s fundamental movement skills: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 10.
  • Mitchell, J. A., Chesi, A., Elci, O., McCormack, S. E., Roy, S. M., Kalkwarf, H. J., Lappe, J. M., Gilsanz, V., Oberfield, S. E., Shepherd, J. A., Kelly, A., Grant, S. F. A., & Zemel, B. S. (2016). Physical activity benefits the skeleton of children genetically predisposed to lower bone density in adulthood: Physical activity and pediatric bone density. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research31(8), 1504–1512.
  • Moeijes, J., van Busschbach, J. T., Wieringa, T. H., Kone, J., Bosscher, R. J., & Twisk, J. W. R. (2019). Sports participation and health-related quality of life in children: results of a cross-sectional study. Health and quality of life outcomes17(1), 64.
  • National Alliance for Yout Sport (NAYS). (2016, junio 20). Soccer receives A+ grade for health benefits for kids, study finds. Consultado el 19 de abril de 2023. Disponible en:
  • Pacheco, J. R., Rueda, S. R., & Vega, C. A. (2013). Conducta prosocial: una alternativa a las conductas agresivas. Revista Investigium IRE Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, 4(1), 234-247.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.