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Youth Soccer Gear: Basic Needs

The Basics

One of the great things about youth soccer is that it isn't an expensive sport. Here what your child will need:

  • Soccer cleats. Soccer cleats, or what the English call "boots," are like baseball or softball cleats but the cleats are short and made of rubber (metal cleats are not allowed). Up to the age of 8 or 9, a child doesn't even need soccer shoes and will do perfectly fine in any type of athletic shoe, as long as it fits and provides good support (note: shoes which have been handed down too many times may become unstable and no longer capable of providing the support a young player needs). For tips on buying athletic shoes, click here. Remember, your kids grow out of shoes fast, so check often to see if it is time to replace their shoes. Also, never tie your child's laces around their ankles.

  • Shin Guards. Soccer is definitely a contact sport. Shin guards help reduce the chance of injury to the shin (tibia), the third-most likely area of the body to be injured playing soccer, according to a recent study.

  • Water bottle. Experts advise your child to drink fluids, preferably sports drinks, before, during and after practices and games, even in the cold weather, to avoid dehydration, or worse yet, heat illness. Your child should have his or her own personalized water bottle and needs to be reminded to drink 5 to 9 ounces (10 to 18 1/2 ounce "gulps") every 20 minutes during activity, depending on weight (Teenagers should drink more. Younger children should be given water bottles with marks on the sides showing how much they should drink each time or told how many "gulps" to drink.

  • Uniform. Team shirts or full uniforms are usually provided for free, or the cost is included in the registration fee.

  • Socks and Shorts. You'll need to buy long socks to cover your child's shin guards. Check with the coach to see what color to buy.

  • Practice T-shirts and shorts

  • Soccer ball. For practicing at home. Remember: soccer balls come in different sizes. Make sure to get the size ball your child is using in games and practices.