Ever since we created and started giving away free soccer drills and coaching guides we’ve been asked by readers which products we recommend for young soccer players. Clearly the bulk of the requests that come our way are for our favorite soccer balls and soccer cleats for kids and beginners, but we also get asked about other products too.
We initially focused on creating the ultimate essentials list. This is all the soccer gear we thought young players and parents needed. While it wasn’t exhaustive a list it did very well in terms of the feedback we got from parents. That led to even more requests for the best soccer cleats, the best soccer accesories, best soccer uniforms and so on. That’s when we decided to create this page. We even found amazing soccer books, YouTube channels and DVDs that are great for players and for new coaches trying to learn about soccer history, tactics, strategy or just new tools for training.
Our team of editors scoured the internet, spoke to parents and consulted with coaches to find the best soccer gear. We then categorized products, read online reviews, rated them and ranked them in our fancy spreadsheet. Finally, we chose the best products for each category and wrote this piece. Six weeks later we’re feeling good about our recommended soccer products. We only shared what we thought were the best of the best.
We hope you can utilize our tools below to narrow down your search for great soccer gear. We focused on young players up to around youth level in order to keep things manageable. We also found that by that teenage years players know what they want so making recommendations wasn’t super helpful to parents. (They know everything already) 🙂
Remember as always that we may make a commission if you click on our recommendations and buy. We want to make sure you know that and we appreciate the support.
If you’ve ever been at a game or practice and forgot something important, then you are probably the worst the parent ever….JUST KIDDING!! (You might feel like it at that moment.) I have forgotten my daughter’s recital outfit on the day of dress rehearsal once…not my finest moment!! We all leave the house in a hurry and 9 times out of 10 times forget something. Most of the time it is a non-essential item but every now and then it’s something like SHOES or a recital costume!!
Our little secret for being prepared without having to remember every little thing that you need is…a sports survival bag. The best “practice” for any sports season is to set up a bag that has everything you will or might need for the season. It should be a bag that you can just grab and go without having to pack every time.
Clearly you need a soccer ball. Most teams require players to bring their own balls; they are used for lots of drills in practice, and your athlete will likely want to practice at home as well. Aside from the ball, shin guards are the next most important piece of equipment for soccer. All teams require players to have them. We found shin guards that are high-quality, comfortable, and come in a variety of sizes.
Next we get super practical by recommending a water ball. Yes, your athlete will need lots of water, so most teams require that families provide a water bottle for practices and games. We chose a large capacity, unbreakable bottle they can use for years.
Next we get into the fun and cool stuff. Basically we want you to pack things that let you create your own field and drills plus help your young one with their practise. Practice cones serve lots of purposes, from marking out a playing field in your backyard to providing a path for dribbling or passing drills. Cones can be used to set up makeshift goals, divide up playing areas, and more. Then there is one of the best ways to practice soccer skills on your own is with a rebounder. These devices are nets with a bit of tension to provide spring. Throw or kick the ball into them, and it will bounce back at various speeds and angles, allowing the player opportunities to simulate game play conditions.
While there are loads of other things you will need (don’t worry, we cover those in detail further below), this is our core list of must have soccer essentials.
To help you remember the things that can’t always stay in the bag, we created a FREE printable and attach it to the bag. This isn’t just for a soccer bag, it can be used for any sport. The list of things is pretty exhaustive. I suggest covering it clear packing tape or laminating it so it doesn’t tear.
Other Stuff: Instant cold pack, Bug spray, Umbrella, Mouth guards, Sunscreen, First aid kit, Tissues, Wet wipes, Trash bags (for dirty wet clothes). Snacks: (we have some great suggestions for how to pack them HERE and what to pack HERE) and don’t forget WATER, WATER, and more WATER. Cold Weather: Lava Buns, instant hand warmers and a blanket. Optional: Scissors, cowbell, extra ball, empty water bottles, Gatorade single packets to add to water. In Your Trunk: Foldable chairs, shade and a collapsible wagon.
Pick up shin guards, soccer socks and jerseys, and prep the pitch with soccer nets and field equipment from the top brands in the industry.
Our team of editors scoured the internet, spoke to parents and consulted with coaches to find the best soccer gear. We then categorized them and rated them, only sharing what we thought were the best of the best for you to look at.
We started out by finding the best soccer balls and soccer ball pumps for players and coaches of all ages, abilities and styles of play. From the perfect ball to help you nail the sweet spot every time to the classic Wilson soccer ball and a handy pump you can throw in your bag so you’re always ready, we’ve got you covered.
When it comes to soccer cleats we had to use some help from parents and coaches. Cleats change a lot every year so recent advice from those who live with these choices made sense. In order to be a successful soccer player, you must have the right cleats.
Technically, good cleats should feel comfortable and have an anti-slip traction. You need to choose between high-speed, tackling or control. Clearly we are focused on juniors and kids so we looked at the big-name athletic brands like Nike to Adidas who cater to kids more than smaller brands. Many of them mini takedowns of popular adult models so its not a bad idea to took at awesome adult boots and see if they’re made for children.
It isn’t just shoes and shin guards because we looked at training tools and equipment as well as bags and other accessories most people don’t think about. You need a sturdy backpack for your child to be able to carry their own stuff when at practice. What about two kids or an excessive amount of stuff? Cue the all conquering sports duffle bag that fits everything.
It is one thing to show up to a field or run to the backyard to start to practice, it is another to train and get better. We found a number of cool training aids to help kids train on their own. Something as simple as cones let you set up drills. Advanced on and a tool like the Star-Kick gives young players the touches they need to master ball control. Want more, how about a return net that mimics ball return and really amps up training.
Soccer Balls / Pumps
When you’re shopping for a soccer ball you should look for a ball with a nice touch. Consistency is important so you can perfect every pass and shot. Balls that maintain consistent air pressure make for responsive handling all the time as well as easier control of the ball. We also focused on balls we found has consistent flight and high durability.
Don’t forget to check out some of these other popular soccer balls our readers rave about (the second row below). All of these are great balls so its more a matter of preference than anything else. Whether you need a new soccer ball for daily drills, practice or competitive play you will find something awesome below. We chose only high-quality balls that are machine stitched with a synthetic build for rugged durability and a soft touch.
This ball comes in array of sizes ranging from 3 for very young players to 5 for teens and adults. This has visual markings to help them find the “sweet spot” where a kick will generate the maximum power.
For soccer purists, The Traditional is the first choice ball. This machine-sewn ball has the classic black and white panel design. Comes in size 5 (ages 13+), size 4 (ages 8-12), size 3 (ages 8 & under).
Quickly control the ball and precisely pass and shoot; great ball for a beginning or young athlete. Special TPU exterior material is designed to resist abrasion and last longer. A great all round ball.
Any parent who has dropped children off at soccer practice and games will tell you that many parks don’t allow cars near the fields. Your athlete and his or her admiring fans are likely to need to walk to get to the play area. That’s why a backpack makes our list of best soccer bags. Make your child’s life a bit easier with this great pack to carry soccer gear.
If you are tired of carrying too many bags for your team or losing your balls a great quality mesh soccer ball bag is a lifesaver. Find one constructed of high quality mesh (watch out for cheap crap quality ones as they break easily) and that has an easy to grab handle (poor quality ones have a simple string that’s annoying to carry). Finally, there is the universally practical duffel bag for throwing all your kids crap into.
We’ve chosen the best selection of soccer cones, soccer flags and other field equipment for training players of all ages and abilities. With these choices you will quickly be able to get your training drills or get a field ready for a competitive game.
Practice cones serve lots of purposes, from marking out a playing field in your backyard to providing a path for dribbling or passing drills. Cones can be used to set up makeshift goals, divide up playing areas, and more.
Used by top coaches around the world. These cones are used to mark boundaries, set up a slalom run forcing change of speed and direction. Manufactured with safety in mind. Low profile disc prevent injury when fallen upon.
Athletic Specialties WPLW Non-clogging, water resistant paint. Universal tip will work in ALL striping machines and marking wands. Provides a “brilliant” 4” line with a sharply defined edge. Sold in cases of 12 cans.
Training has advanced a lot since I was a kid. Today, you can buy innovative training equipment like the hands free solo trainer designed to help youngsters develop passing and shooting skills on their own. Practice nets weren’t a thing when I was growing up and now you can simulate multiple rebounds through creative tension solutions that vary spring rate. Add to that the fact that today you can buy a foldable full size portable goal that you can pack into your car and boy have things changed.
The Star-Kick gives young players the touches they need to master ball control, develop proper passing and shooting techniques, and improve receiving. Fits size 3, 4 and 5 soccer balls and is easy to set up.
One of the best ways to practice soccer skills on your own is with a rebounder. These devices are nets with a bit of tension to provide spring. Throw or kick the ball into them, and it will bounce back.
When you need the true game experience of the ball rebounding off a real crossbar look no further. This sturdy, solid frame goal which is also portable is the best we’ve used. Every size you can imagine.
Find the perfect soccer team benches that are an ideal solution for temporary small group seating. The pop-up style bench seats can be transported easily from field to field making it the perfect seat for teams and spectators.
Kwik Goal 6-seat Kwik Bench. 18″W seats with 16″H seat backs, 108″ total width. Connected nylon seats with collapsible steel frame. Black nylon carry bag included. Perfect for tournaments and temporary team seating.
Lightweight football team bench with a 3 second set up time, and a quick assemble team shelter that erects in just 3 minutes. This gives your team a comfy seat and keeps them protected from the elements! 8 seats.
The original Insta-bench! Compact, lightweight portable bench easily unfolds to seat up to 6 people. Perfect for the sidelines. Includes convenient carry bag. Weather resistant and durable. 100% polyester and steel.
Buy all the Kids Soccer Uniforms your team needs. We recommend the best selection of Team Soccer Uniforms for youth teams and clubs. We found some great options that offer a variety of styles, colors and sizes of soccer bibs and soccer scrimmage vests.
These blue and red nylon mesh pinnies are perfect for any youth sports team, at any level! Pinnies jerseys come in a set of 12 (6 blue and 6 red). Can be used in a variety of sports! Great for practice!
When buying boots for kids, first find out what type of surface they will be playing on – soft ground (SG), firm ground (FG) or turf, as each one requires a different kind of stud and boot (although we did find boots that are great on all three). Next, think about whether you want natural leathers, which normally – but not always – feel softer, or synthetic leathers, which are usually better at keeping their shape and don’t absorb water. You’ll also need to consider lacing – asymmetrical is currently popular, but there are plenty of other options, which your child may prefer the feel of. Think about weight too – it usually stands that the more lightweight a boot is, the easier it’ll be to play in.
Best Soccer Coaching Books, Training DVDs and Awesome Soccer Youtube Channels for Learning Soccer Skills
You thought you were just going to sign up your child for the youth league. Now here you are, a newly appointed coach. You didn’t ask for it, but it happened anyway. Now you need help. Don’t despair. We’ve picked some awesome books, DVDs and Youtube channels to help you find your way.
Some books are “complete guidebooks” that take you from starting out all the way through the expert level. Some other books focus on topics like mental toughness and soccer history. We even included a killer book f0r female soccer players looking to take names.
When it comes to DVDs we focused on skills and drills. Likeways with Youtube channels we found some great skills channels that can help you visualize what you want your players to do.
From surviving your first practice and first game, matching your drills and strategies to age and ability, winning over problem player and parents, making it fun and rewarding, knowing what to do in game situations, being the coach you never had and much more. We have you covered with the best soccer books, DVDs and Youtube channels.
“If there was only one book we could recommend, Soccer iQ would be it.” -Football.com. Dan Blank has been coaching college soccer for over twenty years and served most recently as associate head coach at the University of Georgia. His writing is great and we have found it really helpful in our coaching lives.
“Coach Latham has put one in the back of the net with a book that players, parents, and coaches will find useful. I recommend it for all soccer lovers.”―Sam Snow, Director of Coaching, US Youth Soccer. I think that says it all. Coach Latham preps young players to be their best by sharing soccer secrets, exercises, and tricks for kids.
This book tells you how, starting at point zero, an uninitiated coach can meld kids into a team and help them enjoy one of the most rewarding experiences of their youth. (In the end, you may be the one who reaps the biggest reward, as you watch kids learn and grow in an experience they’ll treasure for a lifetime.)
This book is perfect if you’ve never coached before. This friendly guide explains soccer rules, shows you how to approach coaching, and gives you practical pointers on improving your team’s soccer skills and encouraging good sportsmanship. How to understand rules, develop a philosophy and more.
Score! Finally, a book that explains everything about soccer. Learn the rules. Get kitted up, get out on the field, and show off your fancy footwork. From-the-field anecdotes and tips, fun facts throughout, maps and infographics, an illustrated diagram, a photo gallery, comparisons, glossary & more.
How do you know when to pass the ball or when to keep it? What’s the best way to practice dribbling? How do you keep the defense from stealing the ball from you? Whether you play defense, goalie, or offense, The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book has all the tips and strategies you need to help you improve your game…
A pioneering soccer book that chronicles the evolution of soccer tactics and the lives of the itinerant coaching geniuses who have spread their distinctive styles across the globe How the Europeans harnessed individual technique and built it into a team structure. This soccer book is essential for any coach.
Do you love lacing up your cleats for the first game of the season―and do you love it even more when they’re caked with mud after the game? Are there many nights when you dream about kicking the ball, and watching as it soars through the air toward the goal? You’re definitely soccer-crazy and this book is definitely for you! Read on.
Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australiaand Even Iraq Are Destined to Become the Kings of the Worlds Most Popular Sport. Soccernomics pioneers a new way of looking at soccer through a unique perspective not in other books.
The Soccer Book illustrates every aspect of the sport in great detail, from the history of the game to how it’s played — the rules, field of play, players, officials, clothing, and equipment. Eye-catching artwork and jargon-free text clearly explain every aspect of the game.
Simple Football Psychology Techniques to Improve Your Game. Mental toughness marks out the very best players – the ability to play when pressure is highest. Soccer Tough demystifies this crucial side of the game and offers practical techniques to actively develop focus, energy, and confidence.
Teach Soccer Skills to 5, 6, and 7 year olds. This book provides 117 drills for teaching soccer skills through fun, easy to use games. The drills are designed to teach the fundamentals of soccer in an enjoyable, positive manner that keeps children focused, engaged, and entertained. A great workout.
This is above and beyond expectations for any soccer coach. The six soccer DVDs will help enhance any soccer team’s season. –Bobby Woods-Former Pro Athlete & Coach Highly Recommended! –Video Librarian Magazine.
A collection of 20 different moves that will leave your opponent standing. Each move is detailed and shown at match speed and in slow motion. What appears to be complex is made easy for players of all ages and abilities.
With the help of this video kids can learn the moves and tricks that the international superstars of soccer use to fool their defenders. Developed by Matthias Nowak, the technical skills coach of FC Bayern Munich (Women).
Masterfully done! Soccer Training DVD includes Simple, Fun and Effective Ball Control Drills, Games and Techniques for Kids, Coaches and Parents. Best for Soccer Kids of All ages to learn ball control and fundamentals of control.
“Championship Soccer Drills” was one of the most challenging videos the Youth Sports Club has ever made. 45 minutes of many drills and other skill building techniques that coaches will find useful. Many can be done in backyard.
“Backyard Soccer Drills” was filmed in suburban New York with a small group of five kids and one coach/parent. One of the most creative sports instructional videos to date. Fundamental soccer drills as well as advanced drills.