My love of soccer started in my hometown of Lima, Peru. From a
young age, I spent hours playing and watching the game. Although I
was passionate about all the tournaments and games, the most
anticipated event was the one that came every four years: The World
Despite other sports being more popular in some areas of the
globe (namely, the United States), the World Cup never ceases to
bring the world together in a way that few other events
successfully can. But
there was something different about the cup this time around.
This year's World Cup was widely referred to as the "social" cup.
300 million tweets throughout the duration of the 2014 games.
They also routinely boasted
those elaborate heat maps with tweets about each game,
illustrating just how social the game of soccer--football or
futbol, perhaps to you--has become both around the world and in
But at its core, soccer is more than an excuse to gather with
your friends, drink beer, and scream at the television. Soccer is
the most popular sport in the world. All you really need is a ball,
something to serve as a goal, and a few friends. It is also a great
sport for kids, because it teaches teamwork and strategy and lets
them get in some exercise at the same time. People of various ages
and skill levels can participate in soccer. That's why roughly
4 percent of the world's population plays soccer.
The University of Copenhagen in Denmark conducted a study about
soccer. Their research showed that
soccer provides all-round fitness and can be used as treatment for
lifestyle-related diseases. But more than that, "soccer is a
very popular team sport that contains positive motivational and
social factors that may facilitate compliance and contribute to the
maintenance of a physically active lifestyle. The studies presented
have demonstrated that soccer training for two-three hours per week
causes significant cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal
adaptations, independent on gender, age or lack of experience with
soccer," said the study leader Peter Krustrup.
So now that the World Cup is over and we are once again learning
about the health benefits of soccer, it is time for all of
us--especially kids--to go out and play!