The Value of Playing Multiple Sports

Leslie Osborne is a former professional soccer player and PCA National Advisory Board member. She began her career at Santa Clara University, playing for PCA National Advisory Board Member Jerry Smith (@SCUJerrySmith). During her collegiate career she won an NCAA championship and was honored with the Honda Sports Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate female athlete. After college, she became a member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team and played for several women’s professional soccer league teams before retiring in 2014.

Playing multiple sports as a kid helped Osborne excel and reach an elite level of soccer. She was able to build muscle strength and skills from basketball and tennis that aided her soccer abilities. She also reaped the benefits of playing both individual and team sports, because the different mentalities taught her how to optimize performance. She also attributes a lack of injury during her youth sports days to playing multiple sports, as she was less subject to overuse injury.

Anecdotally, she shares that 19 out of 20 players on the US National Team during her tenure reported having played multiple sports until their senior year of high school. That is a convincing statistic on the power of young athletes avoiding early specialization!

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