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Hello soccer parents of future Philadelphia Union Stars! We've got some exciting news to share. The Philadelphia Union Foundation and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) have teamed up to create a specialized Mental Health Toolkit for Young Soccer Players.

As parents, you know that ensuring your kids wear their cleats, shin guards, and jerseys is critical for their physical safety during games. But what about their mental well-being? Being a teenager is challenging, and balancing that with the responsibilities and pressures of being a young athlete can be akin to playing a championship match in extra time—every single day.

We’ve crafted this toolkit to address five key issues that may be affecting your child both on and off the pitch:

  1. Bullying:  Seeing your child mistreated by a coach after missing a chance on goal or making a mistake.

  2. Anxiety: That heart-pounding sensation right before a penalty kick.

  3. Social Media: Navigating likes, follows, and unfortunately, the occasional troll.

  4. Grief: Learning to cope when life serves up an unexpected red card.

  5. Depression: Those days when even the game they love can't lift their spirits.

For each of these topics, the toolkit offers a down-to-earth explanation, signs to watch for, and practical strategies for you and your young player to tackle these challenges head-on.

As parents, you're the behind-the-scenes coaches. Your guidance is crucial for developing not just your child’s physical skills in soccer but also their emotional and mental resilience. Use this toolkit as your playbook for helping them cope with the ups and downs they may experience.

We're all on the same team when it comes to raising happy, healthy young athletes. Together, let's ensure our children are as mentally and emotionally prepared for life as they are for the beautiful game of soccer. 

Let’s kick off mental wellness with the same passion and commitment that our kids bring to the soccer field! 





Tackling Bullying: A Parent’s Game Plan to Support Young Soccer Players

We all want our kids to score goals and have fun on the field, but what happens when another player, or even a teammate, turns into a bully? The good news is, just like preparing for a big match, there are strategies you can use to help your young athlete deal with bullies.


Navigating Anxiety: Don't Let It Bench Your Young Star!

Ever see your child pace back and forth before a big game or seem overly nervous about an upcoming match? That could be anxiety. While a touch of nerves can help them focus, too much anxiety can negatively affect their performance, both in soccer and in life.



Social Media: Scoring Goals or Own Goals? A Guide for Parents

Social media can be a fun way for your young athlete to connect with friends and follow their favorite soccer stars. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges that could affect their mental well-being. Let's delve into how you can help them navigate the digital world safely.


Experiencing Grief: Help Your Young Player Through Tough Times

Sometimes life serves up an unexpected red card—a loss, a significant change, or a disappointment that hits hard. Grief can be a complex opponent, affecting not just your young athlete's emotional well-being but also their performance on the soccer field.



Kick Depression Off the Pitch: A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Your Young Athlete

Soccer is usually a source of joy and excitement for our young athletes, but what happens when the thrill of scoring a goal or making a great play doesn't bring the happiness it used to? Depression can be a formidable opponent, one that doesn't just go away after the final whistle.


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