Early Childhood Development for Ages 3-8

About our Coaching Philosophy at Riverside Soccer.

I thank you for taking the time for reading the following article. I hope this helps with what you are seeing within the program and what we are trying to achieve with our members. You as parents are vital to our mission and so it is imperative we are all on the same page.

Over the coming weeks I will outline our methods from what we as coaches are trying to achieve and pass them along to you.

PARALLEL PLAY. What we are seeing at 4 years through 8 years.

Parallel play is when children play alongside each other. They do not necessarily interact as they play. Often we will comment on how nicely they are playing together, in other words they are NOT fighting with each other. We have to remember young children play next to one another. If you think about it, it is very rare they are cooperative or sharing. They are engaged in their own games and activities. It is their world. Other children just happen to be around.

In soccer it is most evident in the 5 and 6 year olds. It still occurs to a lesser extent with the 7’s and 8’s. Players in these age groups often swarm around the BALL. Yes, you have seen it. What do we adults say? “ Spread out”. Why should they when the BALL is the only toy on the field. Take your sibling to the candy store and say, “Don’t touch”. Yeah right. They have not yet learned the social skill of sharing. That BALL is theirs. Hence passing will only occur by happenstance.

So we at Riverside want to take advantage of this and produce soccer players who are comfortable on the ball. Encouraging ball manipulation and a liking for learning new skills as individuals. As coaches/teachers for 5 and 6 year olds, we are trying to set up multiple activities where the players are together, but still involved in individual play. At  7 and 8 we are attempting to get the players in pairs/threes. Parallel play and learning to share with other are developmental milestones children are trying to master at this early stage. We are on the same page. THEIR PAGE.


coach-richwestonRichard Weston.
Director of Soccer.
Riverside Soccer Club.
U5-U8. Coach Educator. Colorado State Soccer Association