It’s coming. The time of year when every afternoon is ferrying the kids to and from practices. Meeting with coaches. Spending every weekend on the field eating snacks and shouting encouragement from the sidelines. Soccer season is coming! If this is your first time getting your child ready for the season, you may be worrying about what equipment they need, or what you can do to help them (and yourself) to be ready. Worry no more, I’ll help you figure out what you need to do, and next year you’ll find yourself prepared and just as excited as the kids when soccer season comes around again.
Luckily, soccer is one of the sports that really doesn’t require much equipment. If you’re wondering what to buy your kid, and you don’t want to be sold a bunch of useless extras by some pushy sporting goods salesman, heres the definitive list.
First of all, when you go shopping for the right shoes for your kid to wear, don’t simply ask for cleats. There are a variety of different cleats out there, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids show up to the first day of practice wearing baseball cleats. Soccer cleats will almost always be labeled for soccer! When looking for cleats, you’ll want to find a pair that provides good support, and fits your child’s foot without being too snug. If it’s a close fit they’ll likely grow out of them before the season’s even over.
Speaking of growing out of shoes, you’ll want to continually check to make sure that their shoes still fit. If they’re starting to get a lot of chafing and blisters, especially near their toes, it’s probably time to replace those old cleats with a fresh new pair. It’s better to buy a little big and let your child grow into them than to buy small and have to replace them every few months, but be careful not to go too big or they might risk slipping and getting injured. If you’re feeling like buying cleats is a little complicated, that’s because unfortunately it is. To make your decision a little easier, check out some of the best soccer cleats for kids.
For practice, your kid will be fine using an old t-shirt, one they don’t mind getting dirty. You’ll also want to buy them a pair of exercise/running shorts, and a pair of athletic sweats for when it’s chilly. Keeping warm is important to prevent injuries and muscle strain, it’s better to bundle your child up a little extra rather than letting them practice in the cold with nothing but shorts and a t-shirt.
Buy them a pair of thick long socks, thick to help support their feet and long so that they can fit their socks under shin guards. You don’t need to get shin guards, in fact many players go their whole lives without ever using them, but they have been shown to help prevent injury to the shin.
The uniform they’ll use at games should be provided by the coach or team, usually free or paid for when you register your child for the team. Make sure you don’t let your kid wear this around too much outside of game days, they can wear out quickly and replacing a uniform is much more frustrating than just leaving it hung up and clean in the closet until it’s needed.
Just a Few More Things…
Of course, you’ll want to buy your child a soccer ball so that they can practice at home or with their friends! You’ll also probably want to buy a good water bottle to keep your kid adequately hydrated during long games and arduous practices. I recommend putting a sticker on it or writing their name in large letters, otherwise you’ll see some other player carrying home your kid’s water bottle in no time.
You’re ready for the soccer season! Your final reminders are to shout your kid’s name real loud from the sidelines, and to definitely make friends with the coaches. You never know when you’ll be busy and need someone to carpool your kid with. Now get out there and enjoy one of the most classic and exciting sports there is!