Why I’m Hoping My Son Becomes a Footballer
My four-year-old son has taken to running around the house and the backyard, kicking a ball in front of him like he’s about to score the winning goal in the World Cup final. His hero, Lionel Messi, maybe the best player in the world, but I’m hoping my son grows up to be more than just a footballer—that he also develops into an outstanding father, husband, and role model in his community. Here are my reasons why I hope my son becomes a footballer.
Sport makes you happier.
What’s not to love about the sport? It is great exercise, and it provides us with an opportunity to meet up with friends. What’s more, research has shown that it also makes you happier and improves your mental health. Sport also teaches children discipline and patience – as well as physical strength and self-confidence. So for these reasons, I hope my son becomes a footballer in the future. And if he does, then he will follow in his father’s footsteps too!
As part of our education system, we are told to work hard at school so we can get a good job later on in life. But many people choose their jobs based on what they enjoy doing, rather than what pays well.
Children who play sports do better in exams.
A new study has shown that children who take part in extra-curricular activities – such as football or drama – will get better GCSE grades. In fact, every extra activity helps raise their performance in a class by around 2 percent, compared to those who do not do any voluntary work. The research also showed that youngsters of lower socioeconomic status benefit more from extracurricular activities. Children from poorer families achieve higher results if they take part in outside school activities than their richer classmates. This is partly because poor students often have less access to after-school academic support, which is usually provided by parents for wealthier kids. But it seems that taking part in sports and other extra-curricular activities can offset these disadvantages and help close the gap between rich and poor pupils.
Exercise is more important than you think.
Almost everyone benefits from moving more. The health benefits of exercise are numerous and include improved heart health, weight control, and even clearer skin. Not to mention that exercise can boost your self-esteem and give you more energy. Before you put your feet up on that couch tonight, consider how much fun it would be to kick a ball around with your son. You might just find yourself enjoying a healthier lifestyle in no time!
A parent’s perspective: As parents, we have many responsibilities; we’re teachers, mentors, and caretakers. But when my son was born five years ago, one of my greatest joys was watching him learn new things every day. Watching him develop into an active child has given me an appreciation for sports—and has helped me appreciate all that exercise does for our bodies as well as our minds.
It’s good for your mental health.
Studies have shown that football, or soccer, in America, is not only good for your physical health but also boosts mental health and well-being. The sport has been linked to reduced depression and anxiety as well as increased optimism and self-esteem. Findings suggest that those who play at least three times per week are likely to experience higher levels of well-being than those who don’t. In fact, one study found that playing football can even help ease symptoms of mild depression. While it’s unclear exactly why these benefits occur, researchers believe it may be due to people engaging with their local community through games and training sessions.
Footballers earn a good amount of money.
Since his early days playing football on parks and streets, my son has worked hard to make his professional debut. He is still very young but wants to be an international footballer when he grows up. While there are certainly challenges and risks with being a professional footballer, let’s look at why it could pay off for him in the future. A recent study by financial services firm PwC revealed that Premier League clubs will have generated revenues of £3.6 billion during the 2013-14 season – which works out as average revenue of £97 million per club! In addition, England’s top-flight clubs paid their players over £1 billion during the 2012-13 season, meaning they earned more than half of all Premier League income.
I’ve watched all of my sons develop as players and people over their time with Arsenal. They are better, stronger, more skilled footballers and better young men than they were before they joined. But it’s not just on-the-pitch progress that excites me; it’s off-the-pitch too. The values instilled in them by their coach and his staff – respect, humility, community spirit – have made them into great young men. These are qualities any parent would want for their child. And when you see your son step out onto the pitch at Emirates Stadium to represent his club against Manchester United or Bayern Munich or any other top team in Europe – well, there is no feeling like it in world sport. It makes you proud to be an Arsenal fan and a father at once.