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Suiting Up For Soccer

Nov 27, 2007
New soccer moms often comment that one of the best things about the game is the lack of equipment they have to buy to outfit their kids. No shoulder pads, knee braces, helmets and mouth guards like football, and not even a glove or bat like baseball are required to play this popular playground and park sport. While the low equipment costs is one of the benefits to organized soccer, there are some things parents will need to purchase for the safety of their child as they play this internationally famous game.

Guard the shins

A requirement for almost every league is shin guards. These come in a variety of styles and are essential to protect the shins of players from errant balls or a kick that isn't meant to connect with them, but somehow does. A good shin guard protects the player from below the knee to the ankle and has a detachable ankle protection plate. It should be made of a flexible plastic outer covering and have a soft lining for comfort. An uncomfortable shin guard often finds itself sitting the back of the van at game time. The kind of guard with adjustable straps is also wise to buy young players because it can accommodate changes in muscle and size as growing girls and boys change size frequently. For the protection of your child's legs and ankles, investing in a quality pair of shin guards is a must.

Warm those muscles

Another vantage soccer has over other sports is its ability to be played all year long. In places with mild winters, fall soccer leagues run into December, and spring leagues can start as early as February. Just because it's warm enough to play, doesn't mean its warm enough to be outside in shorts. Warm up suits are helpful to players when the summer months are long gone. Even if the player will be wearing their team uniform on the field, a warm up suit before and after the game offers comfort and protection. Muscles are less prone to injury when they are warm and loose. A nylon warm-up suit with pants with flared legs that can be used with cleats and shoes will help keep muscles warm and soft until play gets started. Some players who sit on the bench wear the warm up jacket, if approved by the league, in order to stay warm while they are awaiting their turn.

Watch those hands

For most soccer players hands are a non-issue as it's the only part of the body that is not supposed to come into contact with the ball. However for goalies hands must be protected just as well as the net. Gloves for goalies are an important piece of safety equipment. When you consider the speed at which a kicked leather ball comes flying toward the goal, it's easy to see why some padding between the bare hand and ball is necessary. Good gloves are usually insolated rough leather on the outside and have strong padding in the palm and each finger. Another important feature is the wrist band so they don't go flying off the hands at the first impact. As your child becomes an accomplished goalie, he or she will learn the best ways to use their hands for both safety and skill. Until then a pair of good goalie gloves are a must.

Investing the time, energy and expertise in placing your child in a sport is a worthwhile pursuit that will give your whole family plenty of memories and esteem. Make sure that investment pays off with a good experience by using the proper apparel to ensure safety and development.
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