If you’re a parent or coach of an eighth-grade soccer player, you may have noticed that some of your players are quitting club soccer.
It can be frustrating and sad to see the team dynamic change mid-season, but there are many reasons why eighth-graders may decide to leave the sport.
Or, maybe your child is considering leaving club soccer for good.
In fact, according to a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, nearly 70% of kids stop playing sports by age 13.
Nonetheless, understanding the reasons can help coaches and parents address potential issues and help players stay engaged in the sport they love.
Why Players Might Consider Quitting in 8th Grade
When it comes to 8th graders’ soccer participation, several factors can influence their decision to quit club soccer.
From my lens and experience talking with parents, here are some of the more common influences:
Peer Influence and Team Dynamics
Peer influence and team dynamics can play a significant role in determining whether a player continues to participate in club soccer.
If a player feels excluded or unsupported by their teammates, they may be more likely to quit.
Because of the development of players at this age, some kids may feel like they are falling behind. It can be frustrating thinking that your teammates are getting better while you are not.
In many cases, this is simply perception.
On the other hand, positive team dynamics and a sense of belonging can help players feel more invested in the sport.
Parental and Coaching Influences
There’s no doubt that parents and coaches have a huge impact on players.
If parents are not supportive of their child’s involvement in the sport or if coaches are overly critical or demanding, the player may be more likely to quit. I’ve seen it happen!
On the flip side, supportive parents and coaches who provide positive feedback and encouragement can help players feel more motivated to continue playing.
Alternative Interests and Time Constraints
As players get older, they may become interested in other activities or hobbies, or they may have less free time due to schoolwork or other commitments.
If a player feels like they have too many other obligations or interests, they may be more likely to quit soccer.
Academic and Social Pressures
During the eighth grade ages, hormones tend to rage.
Many young athletes struggle to keep their emotions in check, and their school work balanced, and they may feel like the world is crumbling under them. In these situations, it really helps to have an adult guide them.
Additionally, social pressures, such as the desire to fit in with peers or participate in other activities, may cause young athletes to quit soccer.
As an eighth grader way back in the day, I remember quitting soccer because more of my friends played basketball. When I look back on it, I definitely regret this decision.
Impact of Entering High School
Entering high school is a significant milestone for 8th graders, and it can have a considerable impact on their club soccer participation.
As I mentioned above, high school brings new opportunities and challenges for students, including academic pressure, extracurricular activities, and social events.
As a result, some 8th graders may decide to quit club soccer to focus on these new activities.
Moreover, high school soccer may also factor in 8th graders quitting club soccer. High school soccer offers a competitive environment and a chance to represent their school, which can be appealing to many young athletes.
Additionally, high school soccer may be more accessible and affordable than club soccer, as sometimes the cost isn’t worth it or is out of reach for some families.
Sometimes the pressure can get to kids. Making the tough decision to quit club soccer altogether should be made carefully and logically.
Ultimately, it’s the child’s decision but, as a parent, providing your opinion can be helpful.