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Rick Davis On What Youth Athletes Get from Sports

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Rick Davis, a PCA National Advisory Board Member, is a retired professional soccer player and former member of the U.S. National Team. He played with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, and was named Player of the Year in 1979. Davis was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001 and served as Executive Director of AYSO.

With his expansive experience as a leader and coach of youth sports, Davis shares what he thinks are the greatest takeaways for young athletes. The first is the physical development and benefits associated with playing a sport. Kids need to be active, and sports give them a great outlet. It also sets up lifelong healthy habits of exercise.

The second benefit for kids playing sports is the psychological and social opportunities. Playing on a team gives children a chance to interact with a new set of people, and this will help them develop important social skills. Not only do young athletes interact with teammates, which provides a friend group outside of school, but they are also working with a different set of adults, which can provide an important source of mentorship and growth.

Finally, Davis believes the third, and most important, benefit for children playing sports is having fun. Sports are a great opportunity for kids to enjoy an activity, and this should always be encouraged and supported.