What You Need to Know about Soccer Gear

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Understanding your soccer gear can help you improve your child's performance and help you keep your child safe. Most of the gear in soccer is designed to help prevent skidding or falls, or to reduce injuries. Here are some of the most important kinds of gear your child might need.

==> Soccer Shoes

Your child's shoes are by far the most important piece of equipment he (or she) will need in his soccer career.

You should get him a pair of shoes that fit well, but have just a little bit of room to grow into. The shoes should have spring, to make running and kicking easy.

The cleats on the soccer shoes should give the shoes maximum traction. The cleats should be molded directly into the shoes, rather than be screwed in.

==> Shin Guards

Soccer can be a contact-intensive sport. Shin guards protect one of the most exposed areas of your child's body.

When struggling for control of the ball, children often find themselves clashing shins with other kids. It's not uncommon for a shoe to find a child's shin, or for the ball to hit someone's shin.

Without proper shin guards, this can result in bruising in the shin, internal bleeding or even fractures.

A great shin guard should be strong enough to absorb most of the force of any impact. It should start at below the knee and end above the ankle.

The perfect sized shin guard should not impede movement of the knee or the ankle.

==> The Ball Itself

Most soccer balls are made of leather. This is perfectly fine for most games.

For wet games, however, you want to make sure you're using a non-absorbent ball. Leather balls can soak in a lot of water and become a heavy cannonball in wet weather. Non-absorbent balls prevent this and ensure that nobody gets hurt.

==> Mouthguards

Mouthguards aren't just for boxers. When playing soccer, mouthguards help prevent your teeth from cutting up your tongue, cheeks and lips.

You can buy either generic mouthguards, or have your child specifically fitted for a mouthguard designed just for him. You can get one at your dentist's office.

==> Goalie Equipment

Goalies need slightly different gear, because their upper body is exposed as well as their lower body.

A goalie should wear a shirt that covers all the way down to his hands to protect his arms. Since his hands are going to absorb a lot of force, he should have sturdy protective gloves.

That's the kind of gear your child will need in order to play soccer safely and competitively. Don't think that just because your child is young that he doesn't need gear. Kids can be very rough and very competitive, even at a young age.

What You Need to Know about Soccer Gear

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