7 Things Your Kid Needs to Play Soccer
Compared with other sports, soccer is a sport that requires very little to start playing. Even with very little that is needed though, there are a few items your child will need to start playing. We’ve listed out seven things to focus on picking up when your kid gets started playing soccer.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you children have a well-reviewed pair of shin guards. These will protect your child from the most common soccer injuries to kids – damaging their shins.
In practice, shin guards actually serve more purposes than first perceived. Not only can they help prevent shin abrasions and bleeding, but they can actually help prevent fractures and breaks.
Research has shown that shin guards can go a long way in preventing injury. The safest material for guards is carbon, but these are a lot more expensive. Even the more basic and economical synthetic materials will help a lot.
Shin guards are not typically in vogue, and they are rather annoying to wear. Ensure your child knows how vital they are for safety, so that they keep the guards on whenever they play.
Often the first question after putting on shin guards is “how do I keep these things up on my legs while running all over the place?” And the answer is soccer socks.
This style of sock is unique for the needs of soccer. For starters, these socks are high, and typically run all the way up the mid-thigh when pulled up all the way.
They are also really tight on the legs, which is what keeps the shin guards in place and up against your leg.
Its good to have a few pairs of these, because they will get sweaty after a practice or game, and you’ll want to have several you can rotate through.
Soccer socks can be a really fun way for your child to add some flair or style to their outfit. Socks come in bright fun colors, and can be paired with the rest of the outfit. Typically you will be required to wear a set uniform for games, but practices are often open ended for attire.
Another essential item for kids to have a pair of cleats specifically designed for soccer. Because the game is played on a field, whether turf or natural grass, you can’t wear regular shoes.
Cleats allow you to dig your foot into the ground without losing traction and slipping. Cleats are also form fitting to your foot, allowing you to kick and pass more accurately.
Soccer cleats are unique from other types, such as baseball cleats. Soccer cleats must be made from rubber, and can not have a front cleat up by the toe. This is due to the nature of restricting kicking with your toe, which is dangerous.
Cleats come in all different shapes and sizes, specifically as it relates to the type of surface you play on.
Outdoor soccer played on natural grass necessitates a long cleat that can dig into the grass. Longer cleats will also help during muddy or wet weather.
Outdoor soccer played on turf usually require a shorter cleat, as it doesn’t dig into the surface nearly as far. Short spikes allow for a good combination of grip and traction.
Indoor soccer actually has special cleats that more closely resemble basketball shoes.
Soccer players need clothing to practice and play in, and your child is no different. There are a couple of different areas to focus on for apparel:
Uniform: Whenever your kid plays on an organized soccer team, a uniform is typically required and provided. This is the standard clothing choice for any and all games, and typically is comprised of a shirt/top, shorts, and socks.
Practice Clothing: Teams don’t typically provide practice apparel, at least not until you reach the upper ranks of some clubs. As such, you’ll need to have several pairs of soccer shorts and workout tops.
While not required to play soccer, having a ball to play and practice with is practically a necessity. Most teams will provide soccer balls for their practices, so it typically isn’t a requirement.
However, if you child wants to improve at soccer, they will need to practice outside of the organized events. And, the only way to practice soccer is with a ball.
There are a lot of drills that individuals can do on their own to get better at soccer, and they typically don’t require much more than just a soccer ball.
Soccer balls are not outrageously expensive and are a great investment for any budding soccer youth.
No matter what the conditions are, soccer players typically sweat a lot. The average professional soccer player runs around 7 miles in a game. While the average youth does not run this much, they still run a lot.
Staying hydrated is fundamental to good soccer techniques, and often practice fields and game situations don’t have adequate water fountains. Or, if they do, they aren’t readily accessible or timing doesn’t allow for it.
A water bottle means that, at the very least, your child will get some water during their soccer practice or game.
Beyond these basics, there are several soccer accessories that can be really beneficial:
Goalie Gloves: If your child is a goalie, then gloves are a necessary addition. They give your child protection for their hands, while also giving them the ability to catch the ball better.
Cones: Cones are great for drills for dribbling and passing. Often times the coach will have these, but having a set is also great for practicing on your own.
Rebounder: A rebounder helps a kid practice shooting by providing an area for target practice, while simultaneously “rebounding” the ball back to the kicker.
Soccer is one of the easiest sports to start playing, as there really isn’t very much gear that is required. With these essentials, your child will be set and ready to go with playing the game of soccer.
Written by Tim Frechette