Prevent injuries with proper youth soccer gear.
Youth soccer players do need the same type of equipment as more mature soccer players. But, it is important that their gear fits properly. Children will get more enjoyment from the game, and will be less likely to injure themselves.
Youth soccer gear includes a solid pair of soccer cleats, well-fitting soccer shorts, and socks that match the team jersey. Soccer shinguards will provide lower leg protection, and a soccer jersey, to top it off. Let’s look a little deeper at each item of youth soccer gear.
Soccer Cleats and Shoes
Cleat or shoe types include removable cleats, molded cleats, indoor soccer shoes and turf shoes:
- Molded Cleats have non-removable, pre-formed rubber or plastic cleats on the bottom. Metal cleats are not allowed. They can be used on all outdoor field types but will not perform as well on turf, or wet, soggy fields.
- Removable Cleats are made of a hard plastic. These studs can be replaced as they wear down. Players of a higher skill level usually use this type of cleat on longer grass, or wet soggy fields.
- Indoor soccer shoes look similar to a sneaker, but they are very different. They are made with exclusive compounds in the sole that provide improved grip over sneakers. They are cut lower to prevent rolling off the ankles as your child makes the moves that soccer requires. They are made for firm surfaces like gyms, but not for indoor artificial turf.
- Turf Shoes are specifically for playing on artificial turf. It doesn’t matter if it is indoor or outdoor turf. The sole has been specially designed with studs that are shorter than molded or removable cleats. They are multi-directional in nature. This helps provide the grip necessary for playing on artificial turf.
Soccer shin guards are made from a variety of materials. These materials can include:
- Foam rubber.
Shin guards are required as part of youth soccer gear and one of the best ways to prevent injury. In soccer most of the action is at your feet. It is sometimes suggested that different positions need to wear a different type of shin guard. I will provide the information, but only you and your child can decide what is best.
- Defenders – thicker model with more protection.
- Midfielders – protective, lightweight, and more rounded in style.
- Forwards – more ankle protection and very light.
This guide will be helpful in choosing the proper shin guard size for your child:
- X-Small: up to a height of 3 feet 9 inches
- Small: up to a height of 4 feet 5 inches
- Medium: up to a height of 5 feet 1 inch
- Large: over 5 feet 2 inches
Youth Soccer Socks
These socks are not much different from the socks that older players wear. They are just smaller. They are needed to hold the shin guards in place, and to match the team’s uniform.
Less expensive socks are usually made from a polyester-acrylic blend. Sometimes cotton is added for comfort, but don’t expect a lot of cotton. But you can find 100% cotton socks.
Choosing top quality socks made with synthetic microfibers will pull perspiration away from the foot. They will have a padded sole to enhance foot comfort as well.
TIP – If your child’s foot sweats a great deal, put talcum powder or foot powder in the sock to help soak it up. This will help prevent blisters.
Youth Soccer Jerseys
Most jerseys today are made from a combination of light-weight microfibers that are and do not absorb much moisture. When it comes to youth soccer, the team or association usually supplies the jerseys. So for that reason, I will leave the jersey choosing to you and your soccer association. Unless you are looking for replica soccer jerseys.
Even though they may be cool to your kids, baggy shorts are not good for the soccer field. If they are too long, they can restrict easy movement. If this happens your child may get injured, or may not play up to their ability. The less restriction, the better it is for their game. They also have to fit your team’s uniform. Some associations will provide shorts and socks as part of the team uniform.
If you use this information as a guide you should be able to get the right youth soccer gear for your child.