Soccer, Training, & Injury Prevention

Common injuries for soccer players include acute and overuse. 

The top 10 most common injuries include:

  1. Ankle sprains

  2. Runner’s knee

  3. Achilles Tendonitis

  4. IT band syndrome

  5. Concussion

  6. Shin splints

  7. Plantar Fasciitis

  8. Turf toe

  9. Hamstring injuries

  10. Stress Fracture

Most people are familiar with the RICE method approach to treating soccer injuries. RICE is short for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. However, it is recommended that some injuries require movement for faster recovery, everything depends on the type of injury and the severity of the injury. 

When an injury occurs SWELLING is normal. Prolonged swelling could be a concern. Repair starts immediately at the site of injury, therefore, heat is already present. With heat already present, it is recommended to use ice for the first 24-48 hours to prevent secondary damage to surrounding tissue. After 72 hours heat may be beneficial. 

Note that a muscle strain (pulled muscle) should not be stretched right away. It could create more damage to the muscle tissue when it is trying to repair itself. Once the muscle has had a proper amount of rest for recovery, a small full range of movement will be beneficial. 

Ways to avoid burnout/injury:

An athlete is could be at risk for an injury or burnt out if there is not a proper balance of the following: an adequate amount of sleep each night especially before games/tournaments, proper nutrition and fueling, stretching & massage, proper warm up & cool down, use of proper technique & gear while playing, and maintaining strength by performing sport-specific exercises on a weekly basis. Always allow enough time for the injury to heal before returning to sport.

For more questions or advice, please reach out to

Basic Nutrition Tips

Nutrition is a major component of an athlete’s journey to success. There is no perfect formula to get an athlete there, as everyone’s body is different. Most athletes lack the efficiency to adequately fuel themselves. With such busy schedules at a young age, there is little time to have a proper meal. Pre-game/practice snacks and hydration are very important to an athlete’s energy levels. 

Below you will find a few tips quoted from research-based articles.  

“Fluids are very important for maintaining hydration and should be consumed before, during, and after athletic events to prevent dehydration. Timing of food consumption is important to optimize performance. Meals should be eaten a minimum of 3 h before exercise and snacks should be eaten 1 h to 2 h before activity. Recovery foods should be consumed within 30 min of exercise and again within 1 h to 2 h of activity to allow muscles to rebuild and ensure proper recovery.” (3)

“Recovery foods should be consumed within 30 min of exercise, and again within 1 h to 2 h of exercise, to help reload muscles with glycogen and allow for proper recovery. These foods should include protein and carbohydrates.” (3)

Be aware of the signs of dehydration from your athlete; these include:

  • Dizziness

  • Dry mouth

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle cramps

  • Darker urine color

Every child is unique and different types of foods will work better before, during, and after physical activity. Keep this in mind as you assist your child in making healthy eating and drinking choices on a daily basis, especially before practices and games.

For more questions or advice, please reach out to

Mental Health in Young Athletes

Middle school soccer is meant to be a positive, fun, and safe environment for all athletes. It is a great way to work on character and team-building skills. Self-esteem is very important for a young athlete, but problems can arise from current presence and encounters in social media. 

Some research has shown, 70% of young athletes stop playing organized sports by age 13. The increased pressure to specialize in a single, high-level sport—and win—may be a driving factor in the lower participation rates of adolescents in organized sports. (1)

“They’re not having fun anymore. They’re weary of the pressure. They’re tired of being yelled at by coaches and, sometimes, by their parents. The most talented players sometimes are forced to quit because they’ve been playing competitively for so long that they’re hurt…But those for whom winning is the most important thing can unravel a child’s devotion to a team and a sport quickly.” (1)

To the athletes: It is your responsibility to address any concerns you may have with a parent and/or coach. Playing a variety of sports will help you grow physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, there is so much for you to learn in your soccer career. The world is at your fingertips, have fun, make friends, respect one another, and always remember that you are in control of your success. All that is required is for you to show up and give your best effort. 

To the parents: Thank you for entrusting your athlete to our school/league. Some young athletes respond poorly to criticism, but encouragement of small accomplishments may go a long way. Keep a lookout to the following signs as they may indicate sudden underperformance at school or their sport. 

  • Abrupt or drastic changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns

  • Increasingly pronounced moodiness or anger swings 

  • Atypical obsession with social media and with what others are doing

  • Increased tearfulness 

  • Sudden lack of interest in school, friends or hobbies

  • Anything that feels out of the ordinary about the child’s behavior (2)

To the coaches: It is our job to be a role model for these young athletes and to lead them into finding a better version of themselves. Please follow the mission statement of Saint Johns Middle School Athletic Association, as we are all here for the same goal, to promote community citizenship, good sportsmanship, and physical and mental development through healthy, organized competition and teamwork.

Questions or Concerns?

Call or email me to find out more about ways to improve  your child’s athletic abilities and overall health/wellness.

About Cortney Welch

She is super passionate about informing our youth on how to be the best versions of themselves. Having played soccer my entire life, as well as in college as a Division I athlete, I understand the physical and mental demands of the sport. I wish that someone would have informed my younger self of all the ways to take care of my body in order to avoid preventable injuries while playing soccer as well as all other sports. As a coach, I have learned how to instill positive mindsets in all of the athletes that I have worked with. Coaching is so much bigger than just teaching the skills of the sport, we are also role models for life. I hope you find this sheet informative and helpful. Good luck to all of the teams this season!

Head Soccer Coach for Girls  – Alice B. Landrum Middle School

Strength and Conditioning Coach/Personal Trainer – Momentum Fit Incorporated

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist- NSCA

 U.S. Soccer D – Coaching License

(912) 977-0110



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