Internationally recognized as one of the most popular sports in the world, soccer—or fútbol—is played from country to country in the most unique ways.
With the women’s World Cup this year, if you’ve been catching football fever and decided to take up the beautiful game yourself, you might have realized it’s just a bit more difficult than grabbing any kind of ball and heading to an open space.
Although it can be played like that, to be the best (and who wouldn’t want to be), you have to be equipped with the best.
At Best Buy Soccer we truly want to give you the best buys—especially when it comes to soccer equipment you need to gear up for your next season.
So, whether you are just starting out on the field or have been playing for a while and are looking for a few equipment-upgrades, we have the ultimate soccer checklist to get you ready for your upcoming season.
There are several different levels in soccer equipment, so let’s start with the basics. Especially if you have a child at the youth level or you are just getting started in soccer yourself, a basic understanding of the particular equipment you need can help on your next shopping trip to the sports store.
1. You’ll need shoes. Soccer cleats to be specific.
There are various types of soccer cleats that you can invest in. If you or your child is going to be playing in an organized league, they will most likely require a certain type of shoe or soccer cleat depending on the surface of the playing field.
Not only do soccer cleats offer a unique type of support and protection than regular shoes, they also are specifically designed for movement, direction changes, kicking, and controlling the ball.
To help you choose the proper size and style, here are a few tips:
- Get familiar with the parts of the shoe. For example, there are various parts, including:
- The upper part, that covers the foot and attaches to the sole.
- The insole is where your foot will rest and should have adequate support and cushion for comfort.
- The outer sole is the bottom of the shoe where the studs are (or are not—depending on the playing surface).
- Heel counter is where your heel is supported.
- Know the different material that shoes can be made out of and what works best for you:
- Real leather can give you a more molded, on-touch feeling with the ball—however, it can get quite wet and heavy when raining.
- Synthetic leather is less stretchy and doesn’t conform to your foot as much but can be better in the various weather conditions. It is also much more affordable.
- Consider the studs (the parts that stick out from beneath the shoe), and the different types you can choose from:
- Detachable studs are found on most cleats for those players who are much more advanced. With these shoes, you can swap between metal and plastic studs—depending on the surface you play on and weather conditions.
- Molded studs are already formed on the bottom of the soccer cleat and cannot be changed or removed. They are great for hard ground and definitely recommended for beginners. Normally a cleat will come with 10-14 molded studs on the bottom.
- Turf shoes have sort of a rubber pattern to the bottom of them that can help with gripping since these shoes are recommended to play on turf fields or hard surfaces.
- Indoor shoes have a flat rubber sole and mimic the feel of sneakers—but are a little lower cut. They do not have enough studs beneath them and can be used on flat surfaces.
2. You’ll need a Soccer ball—especially if you’re training on your own.
With most teams—youth teams and adult leagues—a coach will set the rules on the ball situation. Some players are required to bring their own ball while in some teams, the coach or the equipment manager will provide the balls for the players.
However, even if you are playing in a team where the balls are already provided, you or your child can definitely still benefit from having a personal ball to train with. Investing in a high-quality soccer ball can go a long way in helping you or your child get a real feel for the ball at private practice before team practice starts.
Soccer balls will run from size one all the way up to size five—the larger the number, the bigger the size. Normally, with most youth players, you’ll start with a size three and move up from there. Size one soccer balls are generally used for technique work.
- Size 1: Can be used at all ages. Normally has a circumference of 18-20” and are used for technical work.
- Size 3: Normally played with by players under 8 years old. Has a circumference of 23-24”.
- Size 4: As your child grows, they are upgraded to a 25-26” ball, and play with it until normally age 13.
- Size 5: With a circumference of 27-28”, this is the typical adult/full-sized soccer ball.
3. Don’t forget to knock on your shinguards!
Protecting your legs while playing contact soccer is important. You’ll be able to choose from a couple of different types of shinguards, including:
- Single Piece Shinguards: This type of shinguard slips right inside the sock and can be held in place with sleeves.
- Velcro Shinguards: With these straps, you can hold the shinguard in place. You can also invest in these shinguards that also have the ankle guard. These provide more coverage and are much better to hold in place.
Some other pieces you may need to get started to play are:
- Soccer Socks: which help keep the shinguards up. During game day, these are normally provided by the team so all the players are wearing the same.
- The Uniform: Also provided for by the team so all players are alike (essential for younger players and most leagues).
- Goalkeeper Gloves: If you or your child is interested in playing goalie, these gloves can help support the wrists and have you get a better grip on the ball.
- Bag for Gear: A bag to hold the water bottle, practice clothes, sandals, ball, and anything else you may need for practice or a game can definitely come in handy.
- Extra Equipment: If you’re taking your training seriously on your own, you can definitely improve by investing in a soccer net, speed ladders, cones, and a set of training balls.
We hope that this guide has helped you devise a checklist to get you started on your pro soccer career (or help your kid make some new friends on the field!).
At Best Buy Soccer, we can help you get everything you need checked off of YOUR list before next season begins!