Mei 05, 2009

A Guide to Buying Soccer Equipment

When it comes to buying soccer gear, most people think of heading over to a sporting goods store. But what they don't know is that this isn't the only solution to getting what you need. The online soccer market gives soccer enthusiasts many more choices than the conventional sporting goods store. Here is some information on where and what to buy online to keep the game alive.

Where to start: As is the case with all sports gear, the quality of soccer equipment varies greatly. Depending on how serious you are about being the best, you can spend either a lot or a little. There's no reason to go all out if you mainly play pick-up games here and there, but if your goal is the professional leagues then it is a good idea to invest in quality soccer gear.

To play the game, you don't need much to begin. The basics include a pair of soccer shoes, clothing, shin guards, and a ball. Since soccer is a game you play with your feet, let's begin by discussing shoes. Your shoes are the most important equipment you'll own when playing soccer. They should fit snugly, like a glove, and allow for the maximum efficiency in control while playing. Shoes that are too loose fitting won't allow you the control you need when the ball comes your way.

There are two basic types of soccer shoes: one for play on natural grass (cleats) and the other for indoor play. Even better is a combination of turf-indoor shoe. Cleats give you sure footing and allow for quick direction changes. Indoor shoes have flat rubber soles that easily grip the hard playing surface of an indoor court. The ultra-thin sole allows you to get under the ball with your feet. Turf shoes are very similar to indoor shoes, but their soles will usually have more distinct texturing (almost like mini-cleats) for traction on turf. You may want a hybrid indoor/turf soccer shoe if you play on a variety of surfaces.

Clothing is also an essential part of soccer. The three components to any uniform include the shirt, shorts, and socks. Soccer jerseys are designed to keep you cool and wick away sweat while you run across the field. Short-sleeved jerseys are ideal for summer practices, and long-sleeved jerseys serve you well on cooler days. How should the jersey fit? It should be loose enough to let you move freely, but not so loose that it gets caught on others players when you're fighting for the ball. Soccer shorts are designed to allow full leg motion and should fall somewhere between mid-thigh and the top of your knee. To complete your uniform, you must buy soccer socks. They should be long enough to cover your shin guards, and thick enough to give your feet some cushioning.

When it comes to sports gear, don't overlook the importance of safety equipment. Getting kicked in the shins is extremely painful--that's why shin guards are so important to soccer players. To get the most protection, buy shin guards that you pull over the ankle and strap around the calf. For a greater range of flexibility, however, opt for the simple shin guards that are strapless and held in place by your socks.

The final basic component of any soccer game is the ball. Soccer balls have three pieces--the cover, the lining, and the bladder. Each of these elements affects the feel and control of the ball. The cover is the exterior of the ball; this is what makes contact with your feet. The best balls usually feature a synthetic cover; these are generally softer and more responsive than others. The lining goes between the cover and the bladder to provide structure and shape to the ball. Cheap soccer balls usually have two polyester layers, whereas the best will have four layers of cotton and polyester. And finally, the bladder holds the air in the ball. Latex bladders are usually seen in high-end balls; this means that it will require more frequent inflating than the lower-end butyl bladders.

The style, design, and quality of all of this equipment are quite far ranging. The Internet is your best resource for purchasing exactly what you need, want, and can afford. Keep these tips in mind when searching for your equipment, and you'll be on your way to soccer bliss.