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The checklist for a youth soccer player

The new soccer season is fast approaching. Have you got everything your child needs to start the season off strong? Make sure they have the right gear for every practice session, game, and tournament with this comprehensive checklist of items from Soccer Garage:


You will need all the basics like t-shirts, soccer shorts, socks. If you can, spend the extra and buy sports-specific t-shirts with moisture-wicking fabric. Young players sweat a lot, and this will keep them dry and cool for longer. They will play better more often. Also, proper soccer t-shirts will last longer.

As a backup, put a set of socks, a t-shirt, and shorts in a Ziploc bag for rainy and damp days.


Your child will need a comfortable pair of flip-flops to wear between games, and while traveling. Discourage them from wearing their soccer shoes anywhere but on the pitch. The shoes will last longer and take on less damage. Also, use surface specific soccer shows.


There are other items that go into your soccer bags. First, there is the water bottle. Get an insulated water bottle that will keep the water cool for longer and one that has indicators so that your child can follow water drinking targets to remain hydrated. You will also need small sticks to get the mud out of shoes, trash bags, extra elbow and knee bandages, and a small first aid kit.

When traveling for an away game, the team will provide a list of items for you, so match that with what you already have.

Soccer Nutrition: What to eat before your big game

Nutrition is important for everyone but is even more important for a soccer player before a game. Please note that although this article talks about what to eat the night before and the morning before a game, ideally you want to eat like this most of the time. Also, the following are examples that you need to tailor for your individual needs as a player.

The night before

The meal planning for the big game starts the night before. First off, avoid any junk food or food that you have not eaten before. The last thing you need is a distressed tummy before a game. With a lot of practice and training, you need to refill your glycogen stores, so look to eat whole complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, pasta, or darker bread. Also, start your hydration program the day before the game.

In the morning

Avoid eating large meals before your game. In the morning, about two to four hours before a match, eat a breakfast high in carbohydrates. Cereals and fruits are a good example of an appropriate breakfast before a match. If there is a lot of time between breakfast and a match, stick to small snacks like fruit and simple carbs leading up to the game.

The key here is to prioritize carbohydrates and hydration over protein and fats. The carbs fill your energy stores, keeping your energy levels stable throughout a game. After a game, you need lean protein and carbs to maintain and rebuild muscle.

Written by Soccer Garage.

Why Holding a Parents Meeting For Your Youth Soccer Team Can Improve Team Atmosphere

Summary: Youth soccer teams require an immense amount of organization and cooperation from the parents.

As a youth soccer coach, your immediate focus might on preparing for the preseason through a series of intense conditioning, long stretching sessions, and developing new plays and strategies. While all of these factors will pay huge dividends in the long run, one of the most underestimated areas are team meetings – not just ordinary team meetings, but parents meetings.

Improved Organization

One of the best ways to let your team know your expectations and goals for the season is to hold a mandatory parents meeting prior to the season. Doing so will allow you to communicate with the entire team and also let them know how you plan on running your practices.

Maintaining organization throughout the season can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not fully prepared. Feel free to let parents lend a hand when it comes to specific events. Most of the time, they’ll gladly volunteer, due to the fact that it’ll help them get closer to their children. Throw out a variety of options. For instance, you might want to treat the team to some juice boxes or snacks after every practice. Or, some of the members may need adequate transportation to away games – a van would work perfectly. These are only a few of the things that you’ll face throughout the season. And, when it comes to preparation, there’s no such thing as being “over prepared”, because when it’s all said and done, you know things won’t be all fine and dandy.

Discussing Costs and Fees

While everything should be self-explanatory within the contract (depending on the league) it’s important that the parents understand the costs of having their child on a youth soccer team – it’s definitely not free. Feel free to explain the total amount that each family will have to invest in items such as: soccer clothes, soccer cleats, accessories, and other supplies that they’ll need throughout the year.

Furthermore, if the league requires a specific fee for joining, be sure to communicate this among the families. The last thing you’ll want is an angry parent getting on your case for not discussing the costs of a soccer shinguard – from experience, it’s not pretty. Be realistic with all costs. You must also be strict with your policies as well. Leniency may come natural for young players, but they also need to learn that there are rules that must be followed in order to succeed. And, this can potentially translate into the real world as well – allowing them to uncover valuable life skills that will make them into a more mature individual.


How to Develop a Child’s Soccer Skill Set to Maximize their In-Game Performance

Summary: By utilizing specific training techniques and focusing on certain segments of one’s game, you can substantially improve your child’s overall playmaking skills.

Developing soccer skills at an early age is crucial for improving one’s game to a higher level. Now, there are numerous skills that players like to focus on like passing, dribbling, and shooting. These all work in tandem to improve one’s overall game. Here is a breakdown of some of the most important skills that you can help your child with, even in the comforts of your own backyard.

Don’t Limit Your Skills to One Foot

The utilization of both feet in soccer is a crucial component, just like it is in the sport of basketball. For example, if you’re always dribbling to the right just because that’s your dominant foot, you’re essentially predictable every time you have the ball. But, if you train your child to be equally skilled with both feet, he or she can maneuver around defenders and stay on the offense while maintaining balance. It’s an important, and underrated, skill that most children do not learn when they’re young. Be sure that you purchase the right types of kids soccer cleats to maximize their performance as well.

Maintain Balance and Strength

As stated above, paying attention to training both feet is an important aspect of soccer. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that your child has equal strength in both legs as well. Do some exercises where he or she dribbles the ball at full speed with both feet zigzagging in opposite directions. This helps promote balance and comfort when it comes to running with the ball. Most players need to stop and settle the ball to get their bodies turned to the right position before they kick it. If one foot is weaker than the other, the opposing defender will most likely block it, or the goalie will easily defend it due to the lack of velocity behind the kick. On the other hand, if your child is a goalkeeper, he or she will want the right kids goalkeeper gloves that are both sturdy and comfortable. Pertinent vision is a crucial component.

Beyond this, accuracy is also an important factor as well. While this takes years of practice to develop, by training your child at a young age, he or she will get an idea of where the ball will generally fly according to the type of kick that he or she performs. The more practice that they get, the better they will become at knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

Youth Soccer Shopping List for Parents

If you’re thinking about enrolling your son or daughter in your local youth soccer league this season, then you probably want to know what you’ll need to buy. One of the great concepts about soccer the world over is its affordability. The sport has expensive products and gadgets to use, but you don’t need a lot to play the game. Your league will probably cover youth soccer jerseys as they order for the whole team, but you’ll need to supply all the other equipment. Here’s a good list to go buy. [READ MORE] (more…)

Q&A with Soccer Tactician Adin Osmanbasic Part 2

What was the impact on Barcelona if the opposition were pressing them high during their 15-pass preparation?

The opponent risks being combined through as Barcelona use the goalkeeper – meaning a natural 11 vs. 10 advantage as you press them. Even if they aren’t near their own goal they are still very talented in tight spaces, so pressing high and leaving space in behind your defense is risky vs. such players who can break presses. Of course they might not be able to position themselves perfectly to begin the positional attack but if they can break the high press then they can progress into the attack in a very advantageous situation. If you are able to press them successfully then you can win the ball high up the field and quickly attack their disorganized positioning in transition!  [READ MORE]


Q&A with Soccer Tactician Adin Osmanbasic Part 1

How long have you been actively taking a keen interest in the tactics and strategies of the game and where did this stem from?

Hmm, I began actively taking part in analysis roughly 5 years ago. It stemmed from 2 things: 1) Me being born to a Bosnian family in Germany, and 2) My natural curiosity about things. Both Bosnia and Germany are crazy about football so I have always had a passion for it, and in regards to my curiosity – I have always wanted to know how things work and why certain things happen within matches. So put those two together and you have a keen interest in football! [READ MORE]


Soccer Tactician Adin Osmanbasic

It’s quite difficult to actually pinpoint when it started, it could, perhaps, have arrived years ago, though the introduction of social media has probably elevated it to a scale where it has grown in awareness. There is no doubting that the topic of soccer tactics and strategies has now entered the majority of soccer fans consciousness. Supporters are more aware of their team and the opposition’s shape, both their styles of play and how each player affects the dynamics of the side. Truth be told, these conversations were probably taking place between fans in certain countries a long time ago, yet in certain places, particularly Britain and the US, this subject was thought of as being unnecessary, as physicality and how much the players ‘wanted it’ – whatever that means – were the most important factors in deciding a game. [READ MORE] (more…)

Some Thoughts and Tips on Goalkeeping Gear

There’s a lot of misinformation and bad science floating around about goalkeeping gear that players buy into for one reason or another. In baseball, superstitions are well founded, and surely soccer players experience this too, but at every level goalkeepers are subject to some of the most interesting rumors about the sport.

It’s said, for instance, that a neon goalkeeper jersey somehow makes the keeper into a giant bullseye. This has never been proven, and would actually be a benefit for the keeper. His or her job is to stop the ball from going in the net, and they’ve already agreed to use their body as a shield. [READ MORE] (more…)

Saving the Minnows Part 2

So when does a minnow actually stop being labelled as one? Can they progress up to the next level? A quick look at Turkey’s qualifying campaigns in the 80’s shows 8-0 and 6-0 defeats to Bobby Robson’s England side. The same nation went on to finish 3rd 20 years later at the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Recent progression can be found in the modern game’s current set of underdogs, Azerbaijan offering a promising example. In the 00′s, Milli, consistently finished bottom of their group, registering heavy losses like the 6-1 home defeat to Serbia or the 8-0 hammering in Poland. The side’s 2014 qualifying campaign was remarkably better, holding Russia to a 1-1 draw at home and finishing 4th above Northern Ireland. OK, not the cream of Europe but evidence of improvement and competitiveness. [READ MORE]