While you're basking in the glow of summer (sunscreen, please) it's time to get ready for fall sports. Whether you're the next Alex, Meghan, Kylian or Lionel, practice makes perfect when it comes to scoring big on the soccer field.
We're jumping into fall sports with a winning attitude, enough thick skin to win the World Cup and the latest gear. Lace up. It's soccer season.
The best cleats
It's tough to elevate your game without the proper footwear. That means wearing a solid pair of cleats that's appropriate for the surface you'll (mostly) be playing on -- grass or artificial grass. While many school fields have transitioned their fields to synthetic grass, many still rely on natural grass.
Traditional soccer cleats are molded cleats made for firm ground. They feature non-removable rubber studs designed to provide stability on most natural grass fields. Multiground cleats (featured here) use shorter studs and are constructed to deliver performance on whatever surface you'll play on. Because the studs are shorter, you'll have less traction on a rainy, muddy field, but they're more comfortable during warmer months when dry heat makes for a firmer field.
Featuring classic Adidas styling, these lightweight leather cleats are durable and soft with a quilted leather forefoot. Available in two colorways: White/Neon, Black/Pink in men's and women's sizing.
Made from 50% recycled materials, this Adidas shoe features a soft synthetic outsole, which sits on a versatile upper, designed to perform on firm ground, hard ground and artificial grass surfaces.
You'll get the best deal on this shoe at Amazon -- it starts at just $38 there. If you're willing to pay more, Adidas has the full Accuracy 4 line available
, with more color options and specialized cleats for each kind of terrain.
Since 2008, the NFHS has required all high school soccer players to wear
shin guards approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards
for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). Referees are authorized to inspect
player equipment and remove players from a game if their shin guards are
too small or don't fit right.
Shin guards should fit snug (but
not be uncomfortable) and should sit about two inches below the knee.
Shin guards are traditionally worn under socks, which are designed to
cover the entire shin.
Adidas' easy-to-wear, comfortable shin guards feature a soft backing for comfort and offer an ankle guard for extra support and coverage. The hard shield offers protection you can rely on. Find them on Amazon in a variety of colors.BUY IT AT AMAZON: Adidas Unisex X League Shin Guards, $22 and up
Comfort is key when looking for soccer socks. Higher-quality socks will
offer extra cushioning under the heel and the sole of the foot. That
cushioning will come in handy when the game goes into extra time and
your dogs start barking.
In addition to quality socks that won't
become threadbare mid-season, look for socks that cover shin guards
completely, are made from soft fabric and offer a snug (but not tight)
Adidas training socks are made from soft yarns with just enough stretch to keep your shin guards in place. We like the compression in the ankle and arch, which feels like a soft hug for your foot throughout the game or practice. Offered in seven color choices.
BUY IT AT AMAZON: Adidas Metro OTC Socks, $10
A size 5 ball is regulation-size for high school competition and above.
Practicing in the backyard or at the park with a friend, you likely
realized the one thing you can count on about soccer: Your soccer balls
will get lost. We suggest stocking up and buying a few size 5 practice
balls for the season.
Offered in a variety of sizes and colors, Adidas' sturdy, nylon-bound practice ball is a solid go-to for skill building off the pitch. Multiple designs are available.
BUY IT AT AMAZON: Adidas Unisex Starlancer Club Soccer Ball, $15 and up
Playmaker's CityPlay is a smart soccer analytics tool that provides more than 25 critical metrics to help you improve your game. The tracker comfortably attaches to your cleat and connects to your mobile device to offer feedback on everything from dribbling to agility.
Amazon users gave this handy soccer wearable a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, highly recommending the tech as a way to track and improve foot skills. Be sure to apply the coupon before checkout to get the best deal.BUY IT AT AMAZON: CityPlay Smart Soccer Tracker, $170 after coupon (reduced from $200)
Level up on footwork with this speed training set, which includes a 12-rung agility ladder, 12 cones, four metal stakes and carrying case. A footwork manual is also included for reference. Rated 4.7 stars. BUY IT AT AMAZON: Agility Ladder Speed Training Set, $25
When it comes to the bag for all your soccer gear, we like one with a designated ventilated shoe compartment and a soccer ball compartment as well.
This soccer backpack features a main compartment big enough to hold shin guards, goalie gloves and other gear. You'll also find two zippered accessory pockets on the sides and two water bottle holders. Though we don't recommend machine washing this bag, its shoe compartment liners can be pulled out and easily dusted off or wiped down with a wet rag.
This bag normally retails for $30, but Amazon Prime members can get it for $23. BUY IT AT AMAZON: Yorepek Soccer Bag, $23 with Amazon Prime (reduced from $30)
Looking for a less expensive, lightweight option? The Adidas Alliance 2 Sackpack features drop mesh water bottle pockets, a cinch opening and zippered exterior pocket. It's a smaller bag, but it's still big enough to fit a size 5 soccer ball. We also love that it's machine washable. Normally priced at $20, it's currently on sale at Amazon for $15.