Using soccer to kick-start better health for youth
Creating opportunities for physical activity remains essential to improving healthy behaviors and long-term health outcomes for youth. According to CDC data, only 43.5% of American youth meet the federal physical activity guideline of 60 minutes per day. Since these data were collected, pandemic disruptions have further delayed improvements in this area.
During the summer of 2021, University of Delaware Extension 4-H offered the Soccer for Success Program — an all-levels, inclusive youth development program that incorporates health, wellness and soccer. This program reached 182 youth via elementary schools, public libraries, 4-H and other camps, and Boys & Girls Clubs. Teens were trained as Health and Wellness Ambassadors to carry out Soccer for Success lessons alongside the adult leaders.
The Soccer for Success Program was well received by youth and staff alike statewide. Youth participants received shin guards, soccer balls and bags. Additionally, the host sites were permitted to keep the pop-up soccer goals to promote activity year-round.
The Delaware 4-H Soccer for Success Program resulted in youth who are more active year-round by providing them with not only equipment and skills but also health, wellness and soccer education.