WRITTEN BY: COACH BRUCE LOVELACE
UPDATED ON: JANUARY 6, 2024
You've just signed your daughter up for kids soccer, but don't know what soccer gear you need. This youth soccer equipment list will help. It's a guide on soccer equipment for kids that will give you the must have as well as the good to have items for youth soccer.
Although the great Brazilian soccer star, Pele, started playing soccer with a ball made of tied up rags, your child needs a real soccer ball. There are a few important things to know about kids soccer balls before you go out a waste your money on a premium soccer ball.
A soccer ball is such an integral part of your child's soccer experience that there are a few specific topics you should explore.
To begin with you need to know the right size soccer ball for your child's age. Kids start with size 3 balls at the age of two and progress to full size adult-size balls as teenagers.
You can easily spend over $30 for a good soccer ball for serious players, but it make sense to get a good beginners soccer ball that costs less than $20.
One of the very popular starter soccer balls would be loved by Tom Hanks (via the movie Cast Away). The traditional Wilson soccer ball is highly rated and affordable, but it's rather mundane in looks. If you really want to please your newbie soccer player, try one of the cool soccer balls pictured here.
Getting a decent goal for your child is important for several reason. The main goal is to score goals (HaHa) in the game of soccer. The earlier your daughter learns the main aim in soccer is to kick the ball into the net, the better off she'll be.
Although you can create targets like the side of your garage or shooing the ball between two bushes, it's not quite the same experience as successfully striking the ball into the back of the net of the goal.
You should be aware of the various sizes of goals for each age group as well as the benefits of getting a rebounding goal that returns the ball back to your child. Here's the completed article on kickwalls for soccer.
For the newbie soccer player, the small foldable nets are the best. They are very affordable, hold up well through weather and accidental collisions, and fold away flat for easy storage.
Soccer cleats reduced the likelihood that your child will slip. Cleated soccer shoes are made specifically to keep your traction on the grass and enable young players to move quickly around the field, and change direction suddenly without slipping.
The biggest question that arise about soccer cleats is if your son really needs them at his age level. Over the 12 years running the youth soccer franchise The most common question asked was if the kids needed to wear cleats.
My answer was always the same. No. I expanded on that answer and said that wearing the soccer cleats does help reduce slippage, especially when the grass was wet, and that the kids will enjoy wearing their special shoes on soccer day.
Ours was strictly an "introduction to soccer" program and soccer cleats were not required, but there are some benefits for kids to wear cleats. To learn more about this, read: kids soccer cleats.
Shin guards will protect your child those painful kicks to the shin.
Soccer shin guards are not necessary for toddlers and preschoolers to wear while playing, but the kids usually get a kick (pun intended) out of wearing them. Once the kids get bigger and their legs get longer the kicking gets stronger.
There are 3 main categories of shin guards and each has their own advantages. Prices vary quite a bit depending on materials and design. There are designs where the shin guard and sock come together as one unit. Secondly, there are shin guards that slide into the soccer sock and only protect the shin.
Finally, there are shin guards that include padded areas around the ankle bones. These are the ones I recommend for kids. Read my complete post on what you need to know about kids shin guards.
Soccer socks are different than regular socks. They are longer. Soccer socks go over top of the shin guards to help hold them in place and should prevent them from twisting around to the wrong side of the leg.
How long soccer socks should be depends on personal preference. Once they're long enough to securely hold the shin guard in place, they can be pulled up further or folded over.
Fit the soccer sock so that is tight enough to hold the shin guard in place and prevent the socks from falling down while your child is running. If they're too tight and uncomfortable they'll distract your player. You don't want them so tight that they restrict movement of the legs.
Sizes range from extra small youth sizes for the peewee players to extra large adult sizes. For current prices on a huge variety of socks, you can check Amazon.
See my helpful guide on what to look for when choosing soccer socks for kids.
Agility cones and discs are very versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks. The different colors of the cones and disks can be used to facilitate different uses within a real soccer scrimmage or a soccer related game.
In addition to working on dribbling skills by dribbling through a sequence of them, these plastic discs and cones can mark off smaller areas on the field, can be used as targets, and also as imaginary objects like volcanoes, ice cream cones, colored trees, or donuts as part of an imaginary game. Read the complete guide on kids soccer cones or 10 creative ways to use disc cones for more great ideas.
A water bottle is one of the must have pieces of youth soccer equipment. Young children and adult soccer players as well should stay fully hydrated.
Beginning soccer players need to form good habits as soon as possible as that includes drinking enough H2O before during and after athletic activity.
For the soccer players younger 12 ounce water bottles are large enough and easier for them to carry. For kids 10 years old and older I recommend at least a 20 ounce water bottle.
Here's a complete article on how to choose the best water bottle for soccer players.
There are hundreds of different designs available. Soccer water bottles come with a variety of nozzle/valves and lids as well as personalized or generic for both boys and girls. Make sure the one you choose is BPA free. Look for an upcoming article on the best soccer water bottles.
Young soccer players do not NEED goalie gloves, but it's another one of those items included on the list of youth soccer equipment that has value. Your child does not need to wear goalie gloves in order to play goalkeeper, but a somewhat earl introduction to using goalie gloves will improve their performance as they grow.
One important point is that youth soccer goalie gloves must be sized right for them to be both functional and comfortable.
Over time balls will lose the air pressure that's been pumped into them. Although modern designed soccer balls are vastly over the balls I grew up playing with. Slightly underinflated balls are acceptable for younger soccer players, but you should still be aware of the correct pressure for soccer balls.
Soccer bags are very useful for storing and carrying youth soccer equipment. Kids love to have a soccer bag to store all of their possessions. That includes soccer game day equipment, practice gear, and even for pajamas parties at their friends house.
Your child's soccer bag should be big enough to hold her ball, cleats, water bottle, snacks, windbreaker, possible rain gear, and related apparel.
When it comes to youth soccer gear, you can keep your youth soccer equipment gear list really short, but it becomes a lot more fun when you add on some fun extras. A properly inflated soccer ball, decent cleats, two goals, and some friends is all you need to have fun for a pick-up game.
For participation in an organized league, where it's still friendly but a little more competitive, the extra soccer equipment becomes more important . I hope you found this post helpful. For more articles on this site use the search box below.
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