BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
Soccer is a world-renowned sport; the “jogo bonito” brings together hundreds of people, making them put aside their difference to celebrate around a ball. There are different emotions that occur when we watch or play soccer, do you know what are they?
“Records trace the history of soccer back more than 2,000 years ago to ancient China. Greece, Rome, and parts of Central America also claim to have started the sport; but it was England that transitioned soccer or what the British and many other people around the world call “football” into the game we know today  ”.
In addition, since then, soccer has been shown to have multiple benefits for our physical and emotional health. For example: Increases aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health, builds strength, flexibility and endurance, increases muscle and bone strength, improves health due to shifts between walking, running and sprinting. It also teaches coordination, promotes teamwork and sharing, teaches you to “think on the run”, helps to increase skills in concentration, persistence and self-discipline, it is a great way to meet people and exercise with friends, etc  .
Let us delve into the benefits of soccer for our mental health. According to the blog Master Soccer Mind  there are 13:
- Helps build friendships
- Promotes being more extroverted
- You learn to win and loose
- Teaches you to work in a team
- Significantly contributes to higher self-esteem
- Teaches you the basics of life: hard work, discipline and dedication
- Helps build character and personality
- Prevents depression and helps you to be happier
- Teaches respect
- Having fun and enjoying the game
- Played globally
- Enhances healthy competitiveness
- Keeps you away from bad habits
On the other hand, according to Supportiv  “40% of elite soccer players experience anxiety or depression. Showing that mental illness can affect even the most active, social individuals. From concussions and other injuries to negative effects of being in the limelight, pro athletes face an onslaught of physical and mental pressure. Despite rising awareness, 84% of athletes feel there hasn’t been enough support for their mental wellbeing”.
There are many testimonies that evidence the above; the Fiorentina coach, Cesare Prandelli, gave one of them:
“Over the past few months, a dark cloud has developed inside of me, changing the way I see things. I came here to give 100%, but I now feel that this is no longer possible and therefore I have decided to step back for the good of everyone involved  .”
The star Rio Ferdinand lost his wife and mother of his children to cancer, the process of mourning and acceptance caused him to face mental health problems, and today he talks with those who have suffered a similar situation to help them to overcome it. Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs confessed at the end of his career to having experienced serious mental health problems, now he shares with his fans his experience in this situation and help those who are experiencing a similar situation.
There are many goals that mental health has scored on players and fans, but we can win this game against problems, it is time to enjoy this wonderful sport that undoubtedly brings us more wins than losses.