Soccer is a great sport for kids. It is also one of the most popular school sports that children are involved in. Parents take great pride in watching their child play a team sport. From a young age, children learn sportsmanship and how to be a team player. Soccer, and all its benefits to kids, will have a lasting effect on children as they go through life.
If your child has just signed up for the school or local soccer team, here are some things you should know before the first game to make the experience go as smoothly as possible.
What to bring to your kid’s soccer game:
-Comfortable footwear. Soccer games are held in an open field, usually a good distance from a school or parking lot. While at the game, you may end up doing a fair amount of walking around and cheering on your child. Comfortable sneakers could come in handy if you need to walk to and from the school to use the restroom, or walk to and from your car to retrieve any needed clothes, snacks or supplies.
-A folding chair. While some soccer fields have bleachers for spectators, some do not. It’s best to be prepared and bring something to sit on in case seating is not provided, or if there is not enough provided seating to accommodate everyone. Certain games, like end of the season games, or highly publicized games may attract more onlookers. Even if there is plenty of seating, your own chair may be more comfortable for long events.
-A Camera. Preferably one with a zoom lens, as you are a distance away from the action on the field. Most likely you are going to want to take some photos of your child. Many people have relatives who live far away and can’t attend your child’s game. Capturing some highlights and sending them to friends and relatives is a nice gesture. You may also like to preserve some memories for yourself as well. So many times I hear parents say, “oh, I wish I had my camera”.
-Sunscreen. Protecting your child and yourself against the harmful effects of the sun is a must. Soccer games generally last a couple hours. Your child will be running around and getting sweaty, and it’s important that you remember to re-apply the sunscreen a couple times during the course of the game. Remember, even on overcast days, you can still burn.
-An Umbrella- Soccer games generally proceed rain or shine. As long as there’s no threat of severe weather such as a thunderstorm or strong and powerful winds, the game must go on! An umbrella will make your soccer game viewing a lot more comfortable. Your child, as he or she is playing in the game, does not have this luxury!
-A Blanket. Depending on the weather, you may need something to keep you warm during the duration of the game. While most of the soccer season will probably be held in warm weather, there probably will be some days at the beginning and end of the season that are going to be a bit chilly. I recommend leaving a blanket in your car and using it on an as needed basis. It’s always good to have a blanket stored in your car anyway for other uses. I also have a tent (I prefer a backpacking tent) in my car that I use for camping or just play with my kids on the grass.
-A Jacket or Multiple Layers of Clothing. Again, depending on the weather, a jacket may be needed. If it’s a chilly or cold day, both you and your child may need a jacket. Even if your child is running around, they can still get cold, especially during the down times of the game. Sometimes a hat or thin gloves could come in handy.
-Soccer Equipment. This becomes very routine. Your child most likely keeps their equipment together in one place, ready to take it with them to soccer practice each day or week. But keeping a checklist and confirming that your child has all their equipment packed on the day of the game will save a lot of time and aggravation in the long run. The last thing you want to do is make an unnecessary trip home to gather forgotten equipment. Cleats, mouth guard, shin guards, hair ties or headband (if applicable), and uniform, are all examples of items and equipment your child will need to bring with them for every game.
-Snacks. Don’t forget the snacks! Soccer games require a lot of energy and concentration on the part of the players. Healthy snacks such as granola bars, mixed nuts and trail mix, or oatmeal cookies, are essential for keeping your child’s energy up for the duration of the game. Also, you may get the munchies if you’re sitting at the game for 2 hours or more.
-Water and Sports Drinks. Get a water bottle for cool drinks your kids can enjoy! This is extremely important. Keeping your child hydrated throughout the game is always necessary. Even for you, just watching the game, you’re going to need to drink regularly. the hotter the day is, the more water and drinks your body will require. I recommend bringing an insulated water bottle to keep the water cold throughout the duration of the game. There’s nothing worse than warm water on a hot sunny day!
Being prepared for any situation that may arise is key to having a positive experience for both you and your child out on the soccer field. Have fun, and congratulations on your child being involved in such a wonderful team sport!