Welcome Spring Season 2019
Hello, and thanks for coming to check out this blog! The Soccer Spring season of the new year, 2019, is almost here. Are you registering your child(ren) for soccer for the first time? Or signing up again? How exciting! I know you must have a lot of questions and I hope to answer a lot of them for you – in terms of what you will need for the season. Choose which section applies to your situation:
First things first, you need a ball. While a Coach might bring extra balls to practice, it’s best that each player have their very own soccer ball. This gives you the freedom to also practice at home. Soccer balls come in three regulation sizes including 3, 4, and 5. Normally, players, U4-U8 will use a size 3, U9-U11 is size 4, while U12 and above is size 5. TIP: Not all balls are created equal. Choose wisely within your budget (Walmart balls – not usually a great option). You get what you pay for – cheap balls are poor quality, break down quicker, deflate regularly and so on. Here’s what we picked for Ava for the Spring Season.
As a Soccer Mom, I love soccer fashion. I am always on the hunt for unique looking gear, especially cleats. Cleats are often a requirement for outdoor soccer but feel free to check with your club. Some may prohibit a player from practice without them, others don’t mind sneakers – but games definitely require cleats. There are several types of cleats for different situations. You’ve got your firm ground cleats, turf cleats, soft ground cleats, and indoor cleats. There are also football cleats – these are not good for any soccer situation so be sure to check for that. TIP: An easy way to tell is by observing the spike pattern on the bottom of the shoe as pictured below.
Sizing is definitely something to pay attention to with cleats. Each brand and style has a different fit and it’s important to have your player try on a few to see what works best. TIP: Avoid buying cleats online until you know what your size is in your favored brand and style. These are the matching Adidas MESSI cleats that we got for Ava for the Spring Season.
Another piece of critical gear is a pair of shin guards, which are two pieces of hard plastic/material that sit on the shins to protect against hard kicks by other players. They come in many shapes and sizes for both youth and adult. Follow the sizing guide on each set but also try on several to find the pair that works for your child. Shin guards with a breathable cushion on the inner side are Ava’s preferred style. She despises the sets that have the elastic bands on them, like these. I don’t blame her. They tend to cause additional sweating, chafing, itching, and redness. TIP: Shin guards are worn INSIDE the sock at all times and should be fully covered by the sock. No joke.
There are specific socks you should wear while playing soccer and they are, of course, called soccer socks. Some clubs issue socks with uniforms so for games you don’t really get a choice. Like everything else, there are many styles, fits and extras, like sweat-wicking and odor-eating. Finding fun and interesting socks is pretty hard and often quite expensive so I tend to stick with the solid colored Adidas or uniform socks for Ava. TIP: Socks should not go above the knee. If they do, roll or fold the sock down to help secure the shin guard.
Bring your water bottle. If it’s hot outside, bring several bottles, a big jug, or even a cooler. You need to stay hydrated whether it’s water or some kind of sports drink, don’t forget! As an experienced Soccer Mom, I advise leaving the sugary soda and juice at home if you don’t want nasty looks and eye rolls. TIP: If it’s warm/hot, consider a misting water bottle.
If this is not your first time on the pitch, maybe this is your second season in the sport, there are some things to check up on. Not every kid will practice during the offseason and if the cleats haven’t been worn, now is the time to try them on. Along with the shin guards and socks. It’s been known to happen that parents don’t have their kids try the gear on until first practice only to realize that nothing fits anymore. That could lead to missing out on practice depending on club policies and we don’t want that, do we? So, be sure to check last seasons gear for fit, holes/damages and just overall quality so you can make appropriate purchases ahead of time.
These are items that aren’t required but certainly nice to have. Lace bands are those cool rubber bands that go between the spikes on the cleats and covers the laces on the top. These are for kids whose laces seem to never stay tied, or the laces are so long that they flop around everywhere and cause a safety hazard. We don’t put these Ava’s cleats. We just tie her laces 4 to 5 times very tightly and they rarely come undone.
Kids love those cooling towels that you soak in cold water, then snap and wear on your neck or head to help cool you down. Some of these things are more for the summer, however, it depends on where you live. Here in the south, it will probably be quite warm before we have our final spring season game. Also, depending on your climate, consider Bug Spray and SunScreen. TIP: You might want a bag to carry all this stuff in. Just saying.
For parents, it’s advisable to bring an outdoor/camp style chair because let’s face it, sitting on bleachers hurts the butt and the back! Some form of shade, be it an umbrella or a canopy tent, is always a good idea. We bring a tent to practices and games, it’s totally worth it. Get a cheap one at Dicks for like $40.00, they go on sale frequently. TIP: If you coach and/or have multiple kids that play, consider getting a sports wagon to lug all your gear. It will make your life easier.
General TIP: Having two sets of gear is great if you can fit it into your budget. Leave a set in the car in case you can’t make it home, you forgot, you thought you had both socks but one is missing, or whatever reason.
Thank you for reading to the end and I hope I’ve shed some light on the topic. Please leave any questions or comments below and I will respond in a timely manner.