Articles by: Soccer Fan

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball

Start out with one juggle with your thigh. Make sure that the ball is hitting our thigh and not your knee. To get to two, you have to relax and make sure you hit the ball up high enough to re adjust your position. Repeat for an hour or so every day. Then progress to three juggles. The 3rd juggle will be the most difficult. You must relax and learn to use both legs.

Then one juggle with your laces. To use your laces you must bend your knees. Do NOT hit the ball while it’s higher than your knee, because it will cause you to kick it up. So bend your knees, relax, and

US Women Soccer Apparel

US Women Soccer Apparel and Accessories

The 2019 US Women's Soccer team does it again! The women in blue and red pull off the ultimate goal and win another World Cup, the 4th in their history. The WWC has only been around since 1991, yet the US Women have already captured 4 of the possible 8 World Cups! That's an astonishing 50%!! Of course the fans will want to wear all the apparel! 

Since 1991, Nike has adorned the US Soccer Jerseys and other US Women's soccer apparel. Today Nike continues to provide the Red, White, and Blue women with some of the hottest soccer uniforms for women and girls of all ages. 

From the US Women Soccer greats like Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Christine Lilly, Brianna Scurry, Hope Solo, and Abby Wambach to today's hottest soccer stars like Alex Morgan and Rapinoe, the soccer apparel for the US women contains some of the hottest styles in modern era. Let's take a look at some of the best US women's soccer apparel on the market today. 

USWNT Poster

US Soccer Gifts for Girls

If you are looking to buy a great gift for that Soccer loving girl on your gift list, for whatever the occasion, you've come to the right place. We will give you a list of great gifts to help you celebrate the special day and the Women's World Cup Victory simultaneously.  

Find some of the most unique USA Soccer apparel gifts and kids soccer clothes. Below is a comprehensive list to buy US Women soccer Training pants, Hoodies, warm up jackets, warm-up pants, shirts, soccer accessories, and other kids soccer clothes. 

The Nike U.S.A 2019/20 Squad Training Top

Train like the US women do in the Nike US Soccer Dry Squad Training top in blue. Made especially for the female soccer player, the blue training shirt gives the athlete all the advantages in Dri-FIT technology that helps you stay dry, comfortable and focused. The soft, 100% polyester fabric has just the right amount of stretch with a slim fit for optimal performance. 

 

USNWT Women's Soccer Jersey 2019/20

Of course the most spectacular piece of soccer apparel for any kid or adutl is the US Women's Soccer Jersey! The very shirt they wore during their historic win at the 2019 World Cup. Nike, as always, held nothing back in designing the magnificent jersey of the stars and stripes.            
  • Nike Breathe fabric helps you stay dry and cool.
  • Dri-FIT technology helps keep you dry and comfortable.
  • "ONE NATION. ONE TEAM." is printed on the inside.
  • Standard fit for a relaxed, easy feel

USA Soccer Hoodie Jacket 

Get the same hoodie that your favorite women's soccer player was wearing during the 2019 World Cup! The historic win can now be celebrated with this great Dri-Fit Squad Hoodie which can double as a US Women's Warm up jacket. Warm up like your favorite USA Women player!

Squad Hoodie is made with the following:

  • sweat-wicking technology to help keep you dry and comfortable. 
  • A woven team crest on the sleeve lets you show your team pride.
  • Dri-FIT technology helps keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Standard fit has a relaxed, easy feel. 100% POLYESTER

Another Option for a great hoodie or warm up jacket to rock with some USA soccer pride is the OTS World Cup Soccer USA Hoodie. A little different than the Nike, but still a great option. 

  • Midweight 60% cotton 40% polyester blend
  • Lightly brushed, super soft interior; Ribbed details enhance durability
  • Distressed screen printed graphics for a vintage look
  • Officially licensed product of Team USA Soccer

 

 

 

Nike USA Womens Training Pants

Get  your hands on the coolest US soccer warm up pants for women in the game. The sleek navy blue training pants are a great addition to your US womens apparel collection. If you want something that feels like some US Soccer sweat pants, these are it. 

The Squad Training Pants are made with:

  • Stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric to help you stay dry and comfortable on the field. 
  • Zippered leg hems let you change quickly, and zippered pockets stash your stuff.
  • Zipper on the heel of each leg lets you easily change  shoes. Zippered side pockets secure your belongings while you play. 91% POLYESTER 9% SPANDEX

Nike Women's Soccer Leggings

Use the womens soccer leggings under your shorts for those cold days on the soccer field. Or you can just wear them to go out for a run while training for soccer season. Either way, the Nike soccer leggings will help you achieve your goals in style!

  • Elastic waistband with interior drawstring for an adjustable fit
  • Dri-Fit to help keep you dry and comfortable
  • Nike Power fabric give you stretch and support

USA Womens Power Leggings

 

 

USA Womens Soccer Blanket Soft Fleece

Cafe Press offers a beautiful quality 100% polyester soft and warm US Soccer fleece blanket measures 50"x60". Professionally printed with premium inks for long lasting warmth. These blankets are perfect to use at home as a sofa throw or lap blanket or to spruce up a student's dorm room or bedroom. They make great gifts for women and girls of all ages. 


Nike USA National Team Stadium Backpack

Carry all your soccer belongings and even some equipment in style with the new USA women's National Team Stadium backpack! Take it to school and take all your homework and books in your new favorite backpack. 

Measurements: Bottom Width: 12 in Depth: 6 in Height: 19 in Strap Length: 37 in Strap Drop: 16 in Weight: 14.4 oz

  • Features a large main storage compartment with a laptop sleeve inside
  • Women's national team stars and crest are detailed on the backpack to show your team pride


USA Women's Soccer Jewerly - Sterling Silver Soccer Ball Pendant 

Soccer Jewellry is the ultimate gift for that special soccer player on your gift list for Christmas, Birthday, or Special Occasion. The pendant is unique and unexpected. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to find that unique gift. 

  • USA BASED COMPANY AND SERVICE: This jewelry passes extensive quality checkpoints before being shipped to you. 
  • MEASUREMENTS: 1.2x1.2mm Round White Zirconia. Total Carat Wt is 1.3 cttw
  • CRAFTED: in 925 Sterling Silver with 925 stamp.
  • INCLUDES: Complimentary 18″ cable chain 


USA Women's Anthem Jacket Nike

Walk out to the biggest stage in the world with the women's U.S. Soccer Anthem Jacket. That special moment before the start of every match can now be imitated with the Anthem Jacket. Made of comfortable red 100% polyester fabric and embossed sleeves to commemorate the USA soccer dominance.

Features

  • Ribbed cuffs for a tighter sleeve fit
  •  Soft and comfortable, Thick knit fabric feels
  • Woven USA logo shows off the stars and stripes

Nike USA Soccer Crest Tee

The Nike USA Soccer tee goes with everything. Now you can show off your colors and pride with style wherever you go with the US Soccer Crest tee. The sleek navy blue color goes with your shorts or blue jeans every step of the way.

            

USA True Squad Cap Nike

Nike USA Soccer Baseball cap for the hot sunny day, styling with your favorite jeans and tee, or for a night out in the town. The True Squad Cap offers a sleek look for the US Soccer fan to demonstrate their support. 

The hat comes in two different colors, white and blue. Of course with Nike's top quality trademark logo. 

Nike USA Soccer Beanie Officially Licensed

Perfect soccer apparel for those cold days at the stadium, or the cold days of soccer practice. Actually you don't have to be involved with soccer, this can be worn anytime you want, but knowing you are supporting your favorite National Soccer team ever....  USA! 

And you can pair it up with your USA Soccer Scarf below.

  • 100% Knit Acrylic
  • USA badge on front cuff

USWNT  Women's Soccer Scarf Officially Licensed

Soccer scarfs are unique to this sport for some unknown reason. The only explanation we could come up with for this tradition is that the scarfs first became popular in Great Britain in the early 1900s. Soccer is sometimes played in the cold weather of England and fans had to bundle up with jackets, scarfs, and gloves to keep warm. Scarf manufacturers started making the scarfs out of the team colors. With this the fans could now stay warm during cold games and wear their team colors on their scarf. 

Throughout the years, the scarf has evolved into different designs for teams and some for special soccer matches. Now scarfs not only show off your team colors, but also your team crest. 

You can now stay warm or just show off your true USA colors of Red, White, and Blue with the officially licensed USA Women's Soccer Scarf. The scarf is perfect for Coaches, Players, Fans, Kids, Gifts, or any other person wishing to show their support for the team on game day!

USWNT Soccer Size 5 Signature Ball

Another great gift idea for the super passionate USA soccer fan, player, or even coach! It's a great addition to a soccer collection. 

The SIZE 5 soccer BALL is also great for skill training, games, and shooting practice.

Official licensed gear made with excellent materials for quality ball control. GREAT FOR PLAYERS: Awesome gift idea for kids, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces who love the beautiful game!

USWNT Soccer Champions Crest Poster 2019

Display the new and improved 2019 USA soccer champions crest  on your wall and show your support for everyone to see with this One Nation One Team poster. The 3 stars show the 3 World Cup Champtions, before they won in 2019. 

  • Measures 24" x 36"
  • A great gift idea for all US Soccer Fans

NIKE USA Soccer Mercurial Lite Shin Guard

  • The Mercurial Lite Shin Guards offers low-profile reliable protection. Anatomical design keeps the guards in place during play.
  • Dri-FIT fabric sleeves for a strapless fit.
  • Left and right guard are contoured for a better fit.
  • Molded EVA foam absorbs energy from impact.
  • M: 5’3” – 5’7”
  • US Womens Soccer 2019 Tumbler

    Not officially licensed, but still a great coffee cup for those who love to drink a warm cup of coffee and love Megan Rapinoe! Now you can have the best of both worlds! Celebrate the US women's Soccer WC win and Rapinoe's famaous pose.  Helps  keep Hot drinks hot and Cold drinks Cold.

    • Vacuum Insulated with Lid.
    • Choose 20oz or 30 oz
    • Material: Stainless Steel / Powder Coating

    https://u90soccer.com/usa-womens-long-sleeve-top-141188.html

    USA Womens Long Sleeve Top


    https://u90soccer.com/usa-womens-1-2-zip-pullover-147064.html

    USA Womens 1/2 Zip Pullover

    https://u90soccer.com/usa-womens-tech-fleece-pants-142809.html

    Tech Fleece Pant

    https://u90soccer.com/usa-womens-knee-high-crew-socks-143313.html

    Crew Socks

    Adidas Soccer Shorts

    Soccer shorts manufacturers started out with long hemlines and the length all the way to the knees.. that was way back in the 1950s. This was the original soccer kits made by companies back then. 

    In the late 1960s, Adidas began making uniforms and other apparel for Soccer teams, most notably starting with a track suit for the great Franz Beckenbauer. But only a few pairs of shorts were made. During the time between the 1940s  and 1970's the shorts started getting shorter. By 1970 the soccer shorts were very short and then got even shorter in the 1980s!! It's almost embarrassing how short they were. Just take a look at a few photos of Maradona or Cruyf wearing basically speedos!

    It was the 1990's when Adidas and other soccer clothing manufacturers began producing football shorts with longer hemlines, thank goodness. Today the shorts are what we would call "normal", but we are sure that the 80s and 70s thought the same thing about their short shorts.... So let's take a look at some of the hottest and most popular Adidas soccer shorts on the market today. We will only discuss soccer shorts.

    What are the best Adidas soccer shorts for men?

    Easily one of the most comfortable shorts on the planet. The Adidas Regista Shorts offer comfort for men, women, and children of all ages, quality, style, and precision manufacturing. They also offer several colors to fit every man's uniform needs and of course your style. The shorts offer a good length, great fit, and the lightweight of the short makes it easy for men to play soccer all day, even during the hot weather summer months. 

    • Featuring sustainable DRYDYE technology that dyes fabric without using water. 
    • Engineered with climacool® heat management.
    • Drawcord on elastic waist.
    • Diagonal mesh inserts on lower legs.

    The adidas Regista are also great for working out. Weather you are playing, lifting, or exercising, these are perfect for every occassion. 

      Another Adidas pair of soccer shorts that will conquer the needs of every soccer playing adult is The Squad 13 shorts. These soccer shorts offer a thicker, but heavier version of the Regista shorts. Depending on your desires, this short may be what you were looking for. We feel that it's a snugger fit, but overall the quailty and comfort are exceptional. Polyester Climalite: Stay dry, stay comfortable. Climalite keeps your body dry by drawing sweat away from the skin. Elastic/drawstring waist.

    • Polyester
    • Climalite: Stay dry, stay comfortable. Climalite keeps your body dry by drawing sweat away from the skin.
    • Elastic/drawstring waist.

    What are the best Adidas Soccer Shorts for Kids?

    Once again Adidas comes through with the Regista shorts for kids playing soccer. Weather it's for a hot summer day at the park or part of their soccer uniform, the adidas shorts are  great for youth sports players in general.  The Regista shorts offer a durable polyester finish that will last the wear and tear that little kids put into their soccer shorts. From slide tackles on the soccer field to sliding down the slide on the playground, these shorts will meet the kid's demands. 

    • Short Elastic waistband with drawstring 
    • Climacool ventilation keeps you cool and dry
    • Mesh inserts for breathability
    • 7.5 inch inseam 100% Polyester

    What are the best Adidas Soccer Shorts for Women? 

    You could have probably guessed the answer... yes the Adidas Regista soccer shorts for women are ideal for the athletic girl out there who wants high performing soccer shorts, but that offer more than just good looks. Adidas gave the female version a slight modification to increase the style and performance of the shorts. 

    The Regista version of the soccer short continues to impress everyone, including the opponents. The soccer shorts for women comes in several colors to fit your needs. 

    • 5 inches inseam (size Medium)
    • Climalite fabric sweeps sweat away from skin
    • Drawcord elastic waist lets you customize your fit
    • 3 Stripes on sides; piping above cuffs for a sporty look

    Conclusion:

    The Adidas Regista shorts offer quality, style, and comfort for men, women, and youth soccer players of all ages. The shorts come in various sizes and colors to meet everyone's needs. The durability is exceptional for such a light and comfortable material. We've worn these Regista shorts before and played many games in them, you can't go wrong with these shorts. 

    Size 3 Soccer Match Ball

    Size 3 Soccer Match balls are seldom purchased for “match only” due to the fact that the soccer games for young players are mostly just for fun. The size 3 soccer ball was made for kids as young as toddlers starting to play and being introduced to soccer. The kids don’t graduate to a size 4 soccer ball until they are 9 years old. So most kids will play with a size 3 soccer ball from about 5  years old up to 9. During this time since the kids are so young, they will not put much wear and tear on the ball.

    You can easily get away with having your son or daughter’s size 3 ball being a “training ball” and a “match ball”. A decent ball will continue to keep its shape and quality as long as it’s maintained appropriately by keeping it out of extreme weather conditions.

    Remember that for the other kids who are still learning to love the game, a size 3 match ball probably won’t  make a huge difference. The point of playing at such a young age is to learn the basics of playing soccer. The majority of children playing with a size 3 ball are still developing their technique and the quality of the ball will be mostly irrelevant until they reach the age of 7 or 8, unless it has completely lost its integrity (or “true bounce”), then you definitely need to replace it.

    However, there are a few exceptions where very high skilled young athletes compete at high level tournaments. These young soccer players will need a good size 3 match ball that will live up to their skills. You don't want to compromise their skills with a cheap training ball, you want a size 3 match football.

    Here are some things to consider when purchasing a game ball for the elite young soccer players that needs a size 3 game ball.. 

    Price

    You should expect to pay between $35 - $50 for a good quality size 3 footbalall match ball. Inspect the ball before you buy because there are numerous size 3 balls that appear well constructed and very shiny, but may be made from materials that impact the responsiveness. You can learn more about the construction and dynamics of a soccer ball by reading our Soccer Ball Sizes Explained article. 

    Quality

    A quality size 3 match ball can be difficult to find due to the fact that young kids are the ones playing with the ball. Make sure to review our article on Soccer Ball Sizes Explained and Best Soccer Ball for 8 Year old  to learn how to choose the best quality.

    In the past I have found that some balls are very sticky and “stick” to the cleats of players. The end result is that kids are flying the down field and end up tripping over the ball when they attempt to take a touch to dribble. This can happen because the material the ball is made of has not been “broken in”. ​

    Why is a soccer ball sticky? 

    This happens mostly with balls made of Special TPU exterior material. I can’t figure out why the balls stick, but it’s mostly with my favorite balls. It has something to do with the material. One thing you can do to speed up the process and remove the stickyness of a new soccer ball is to wash it with some soap and dry it down with a towel. This takes a few practices most of the time and will eventually be your favorite ball.

    Recommended Size 3 Match Soccer Balls

    • MLS CAPITANO BALL, INSPIRED BY MLS ACTION. Attack. Shoot. Repeat. Make every minute of training and game count with this soccer ball. 
    • Special TPU exterior material is designed to resist abrasion and last longer
    • Butyl bladder for best air retention to keep the ball's shape and stay inflated longer

    • Butyl bladder for perfect air retention to keep the ball's shape and integrity, and a Special TPU exterior material designed to resist abrasion and last longer
    • Designed as part of the 2015 Champions League Collection. The CL always creates some pretty cool soccer balls. 
    • Machined-stitched construction ensures soft touch and great durability for youth
    • A huge plus  is that this ball is also available in a mini size 1 ball, for inside training 🙂

    Nike Gold Cup Pitch Soccer Ball

    • Built for intense training and youth games, the Nike Gold Cup Pitch Soccer Ball features a machine-stitched TPU casing with enhanced protection against tears and abrasions for long lasting ball. 
    • The reinforced butyl bladder ensures consistent shape retention for responsive, powerful touches.
    • Cool bright colors and graphics allow enhanced visibility of the ball, for easier prediction of trajectory for younger players. 

    Conclusion:

    Soccer ball manufacturers don't always focus on making match balls in size 3 for youth football players.


    One  major reason for this is that the market is very small, only kids between the ages of 6 and 10 years old are playing official games with a size 3 ball. Considering that most football and soccer leagues don't even start playing official games until the kids are 9 years old, this could potentially diminish the amount of kids actually playing football games at such a young age and shrink the market for size 3 premium soccer match balls.


    For this and several other reasons, you will have a difficult time finding a size 3 match ball. But don't worry, we have included 3 very good options above for your review. We have also included many other resources within this blog that will help you decide. 


    Soccer Ball Fast Facts: Learn quick facts about soccer balls

    Soccer Balls recommended for kids: Title says it all, look for other balls for youth too.

    Select Numero 10 Soccer Ball: Select also offers great quality balls. 

    History of Adidas WC Soccer Ball

    The History Of Adidas Officials Match Balls At FIFA World Cup

    The FIFA World Cup is the most popular event in World Football, FIFA has proactively developed all elements of the sport, consisting of improvements in the official match ball layout. Over the years we've seen increasingly more era and technology being added to the ball design and structure, giving it better weather resistance and higher performance. Adidas has been the official ball designer since 1970s. Here are descriptions of some of their innovations.

    • Telstar: Mexico, 1970

    Adidas started out to make soccer balls in 1963 however made the primary and official FIFA World Cup ball in 1970. This is the first ball used within the World Cup to apply the Buckminster type of design. Also, the primary ball with 32 black and white panels. The TELSTAR turned into greater visible on black and white televisions (1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico™ become the first to be broadcast live on tv).

    • Telstar Durlast R: West Germany, 1974

    Two match balls were used in 1974 – Adidas Telstar turned modified with new black branding replacing the gold one and a new all-white version of Telstar named Adidas Chile.

    • Tango Durlast: Argentina, 1978

    The ball design represented elegance, dynamism, and passion.  The well-known Adidas Tango design covered 20 panels with triads that created of 12 identical circles for the 1978 World Cup and used again in 1982. The Tango design stimulated the blueprint for the next five FIFA World Cup Tournaments.

    • Tango Espana: Spain, 1982

    The first ball with water-proof traits. General wear from kicking but supposed the rubber commenced to wear after a short time and had to be replaced while playing the game. The last real leather-based international official world cup ball.

    • Azteca: México, 1986

    The FIFA World Cup Mexico was a first polyurethane lined ball which was good rain-resistant. The first synthetic official match ball, with great qualities on hard, difficult and wet surfaces. The Azteca changed into elegantly embellished with designs inspired via Mexico’s Aztec architecture and work of art as murals.

    • Etrusco:  Italy, 1990

     The Adidas Etrusco Unico, the official ball in 1990  with an internal layer of black polyurethane foam completely waterproof. The name and layout paid homage to Italy’s history and the pleasant artwork of the Etruscans.

    • Questra: USA, 1994

    Adidas introduced the first professional match ball providing an extremely high tech ultra-high energy-return back layer of white polyethylene foam, giving a more overall performance ball.FIFA World Cup USA, 1994, official soccer ball which enveloped in a layer of polystyrene foam. This not simplest made it greater water-proof but allowed the ball extra acceleration when kicked. The new game ball felt softer and smoother to touch. Improved ball control and velocity while playing the game. The ball’s design represents space technology, excessive-pace rockets and America’s “quest for the celebrities.

    • 1998: France, Tricolore

    The ball used in 1998, the Adidas Tricolore, was the first ever multi-colored official soccer ball. The TRICOLORE used under glass print technology with a fine layer of synthetic foam.

    • 2002: Japan/South Korea Fevernova

    This was the very first WC ball to have a triangular design, so in terms of visual, it was definitely visionary. Now the ball was blamed for a few mistakes that happened during the 2002 WC, because critics thought it was too light. I agree that it's a little on the lighter side, but it shouldn't be blamed. Besides, Ronaldo had no problem scoring against Germany.... 

    • 2006: Germany, The Teamgeist

    A little different 14 panel ball design was introduced by adidas for the 2006 World Cup. The ball wasn't much of a hit, but it did offer great quality and design. The cool part was the Golden ball design that was used for the WC final between Argentina and Germany, and Germany pulled out the win. 

    • 2010: South Africa, Jo'bulani

    This for us was a special WC, with soccer  being played back in South Africa. The ball was again another design reinvention by Adidas as they brought out an 8 panel design. Again the critics called out the ball for it's unpredictable nature due to the aerodynamics of the ball...... Much criticism for no reason. 

    We actually bought one of these balls and we could still play with it in 2016!!!! It's unbelievable how long these premium match balls will last. We did take great care of it, but used it throughout the years for matches only. Great design, great quality, awesome ball. The only problem is that we don't know what happened to our Jo'bulani ball......

    The ball also saw Spain win their first ever World Cup over the Netherlands....

    The 2014 WC Brazuca ball was perfect for Brazil. This design brought back the vibrant colors of South America and Brazil. The ball was named by the fans for the first time ever. A little different color ball that represented the Brazilian colors of Green, Gold, and Black was used for the final between Italy and France. This also saw Zidane get red carded for headbutting an opponent. 

    You can learn a ton more about the 2014 WC Brazuca ball in this article we wrote:  Adidas Brazuca Replica Ball

    There are several photos of the 2018 World Cup Soccer ball we got before the games were played. The 2018 ball  introduces a totally new panel shape. Set to be released in late 2017, the new Adidas 2018 World Cup Soccer Ball will be used officially for the first time in the 2017 Soccer Club World Cup final in December. The ball was already tested in the FIFA Blues Stars Youth Cup final.

    This ball was a tribute to the original Telstar that was used in the 1970 and 1974 World Cups. You can learn more about the Telstar 18 in our Adidas World Cup 2018 Soccer Ball Review.

    Youth Soccer Age Groups Explained

    Youth Soccer Age Groups 2019/2020

    Age groupings for youth soccer players is sometimes confusing, especially for new parents trying to navigate the youth soccer travel leagues. The first thing you need to know is that the cutoff date that youth soccer clubs use is now Jan 1st - Dec. 30th, so basically the Calendar year. This is more aligned with the other countries competing in the world of soccer.  This  used to be different in the United States just about 5 years ago. Now you should just be able to refer to an age group as a birth year. For example a child born on October 30th, 2006 can just be labeled a "2006" player. No need for the "U14" label. 

    The second factor to understanding the youth soccer club age groupings is that the Under means you are Under that age group on January 1st. For example, a child that turns 13 years old on August 1st, 2006, is considered a U14 player, since they will be Under 14 as of Jan. 1st, 2019. 

    To avoid confusion, stay away from using the "U" or "Under" label. Just use the birthyear and you will make everyone's life easier, including yours. We need to catch up with this and stop using the "under" label. 

    Understand that there are normally two seasons (Fall and Spring) every youth soccer club year, but your child will still hold the same age group throughout the entire year, until the end of the Spring Season, which is usually in June of each year. 

    The table below will help you with the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 ageroups However when in doubt, refer back to the rule. Just use the BIRTH YEAR!!!

    Single year age grouping for Fall 2019/ Spring 2020 Seasons:

    UNDER 19

    Born anytime in 2001

    UNDER 18

    Born anytime in 2002

    UNDER 17

    Born anytime in 2003

    UNDER 16

    Born anytime in 2004

    UNDER 15

    Born anytime in 2005

    UNDER 14

    Born anytime in 2006

    UNDER 13

    Born anytime in 2007

    UNDER 12

    Born anytime in 2008

    UNDER 11

    Born anytime in 2009

    UNDER 10

    Born anytime in 2010

    UNDER 9

    Born anytime in 2011

    UNDER 8

    Born anytime in 2012

    UNDER 7

    Born anytime in 2013

    UNDER 6

    Born anytime in 2014

    Soccer Free Play Model

    TedKroeten

    When we talk about soccer player development there are numerous methods and models that are discussed and debated. Some bring up the Total Football by Johan Cruyf and the Netherlands, which is today a huge factor in developing players at La Masia in Barcelona and Ajax in Holland. Others mention the Belgium model and the changes they’ve made since 2002 after missing the World Cup. Many will point to Spain and their use of Futsal to improve player development and win the 2010 World Cup. Speaking of Futsal, there are also the South American countries like Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina who use Futsal and street soccer to develop young soccer players. Then you have the youth development models of France, England, and Germany that produce magnificent players year after year. 

    However, one thing is for certain, the majority of players that come through these great academies and training methods share something in common. They put in countless hours of “Free Play” when at home and near their neighborhood. Ted Croeten was interviewed in the first episode of the Youth Soccer Evolution (YSE) Podcast, which you can listen to below. The video is only audio.

    Ted Kroeten takes us through his journey from playing pond hockey to revolutionizing the way we look at soccer player development. His struggle to understand the Free Play model and the obstacles he encountered when he started implementing it in his soccer club. Ted also discuss how Free play developed players such as Roberto Ayala. A conversation with Roberto Ayala led to understanding the amount of time Ayala put into his development outside of the formal training hours.

    Ted also discuss his encounter with Zlatan Ibrahimović in Sweden and how the 10,000 hour rule had a huge impact on the development of Zlatan. When Ted first met Zlatan, hew as a skinny teenager developing at the Malmo Soccer Academy.. We all know what he grew up to be.

    Ted continues his discussion about the deliberate practice vs Free Play model he uses today to improve youth soccer player development. He must allow the kids to play without coaching them too much. The kids should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

    He goes on to explain how the use of Futsal can be incorporated into training and development of youth players. Futsal is a very formidable game that allows players to defend and attack with constant repetition and transition. The big moment that changed his mind about free play and a  big reason why we don’t have finishers in the USA.

    In the Second part of the interview, which you can listen to below on the YouTube video with audio only, Ted explains the difference between the Acquisition and Deliberate Practice Phases in youth soccer development.

    In episode 2, it is the 2nd part of the interview with Ted Kroeten from joyofthepeople.org

     Ted continues discussing the acquisition phase in youth soccer development. He jumps into comparing the difference between the acquisition phase and the deliberate practice phase.  You can get more information about the Deliberate vs Aquisition model at joyofthepeople.org

    Check out the different types of Free Play Balls that are used for the development of young players.

    balls_large

    What are the Keys to Free Play Model

    Acquisition period must be pure, be very careful when implementing.

    Don’t move out of acquisition period too quick and don’t move into the deliberate practice phase too quick. Be patient.

    Create High Motivation technical problems for kids during training sessions.

    Ted discussed his ideal Youth Soccer Player Development Model. What are you waiting for? Why haven’t all the clubs implemented this already? Ted lays it  out right here and free of charge just for you.

    5-6 year olds need to stay home and play with parents, to grow through organic development. As mentioned before throughout this blog and recommended, the development for young players should be at home. Cut down on traveling and play at home with parents and siblings and even neighbors.

    7-9 years old, play with friends, 2 v 2 and 3 v 3, move away from concrete stage of development; play as much as possible, as close to home as possible, use barefoot with different balls, get introduced to Futsal balls. Continue staying close to home and avoid long travel, it’s just not that important at this age.

    11-12 years old, start deliberate practice, but continue free play, watch others, 20 hours of free play a week. See the model used by JOTP at joyofthepeople.org. You might be thinking that 20 hours is alot, and it is, but that’s just what it takes to become elite. Many people think and try to skip the 20 hours by buying clinics, camps, and other personal trainings, but there is no way around it, you must play and play as much as possible.

    Continue Free Play until 16 years old. Pele, Cruyf, Messi, and Maradona played close to home and they turned out ok.

    Also check out the Rice and Beans program at JOTP

    Soccer Performance Socks

    Best Soccer Socks EVER!!.... TruSox

    For some, soccer socks appear to be just another piece of the uniform. Parents and coaches will just throw a pair of socks at you that match the uniform. The majority of people focus more on the soccer jerseys and soccer shorts since they are the most fashionable pieces. Player Jerseys and Shorts are extremely popular with soccer fans. You can also wear your soccer jersey and/or shorts out in public places without a second thought. However, the soccer socks are a different story. Many feel that the socks are just to cover the shin guards and that’s their only purpose. So many novice players go their whole life without ever experiencing the feel of a premium soccer sock.

    The truth is that the best soccer socks are more than just another piece of the uniform. Today the technology and engineering has improved tremendously. While dri-fit uniforms get all the attention, there is some real cool advances in socks too! For young players the performance of the socks won’t matter as much, but as the player grows in physical size and ability, the importance of the soccer socks also increases. To elite and professional players, the socks represent a very important piece of the uniform. The best soccer socks for professional players must meet extremely high standards. They must be lightweight. They must be tight, so they don’t roll down. The socks must be thick enough to cover the leg and stretch enough to keep their consistency.

    The best soccer socks in the world that meet the standards of professional soccer players are the one and only TRUSOX. These were developed by a former semi professional soccer player that felt that his feet moved too much inside the soccer cleats. He set out to engineer a TRUSOX that would grip the bottom of the cleats and eliminate slipping inside the cleats. This slipping and moving can sometimes cause blisters and not to mention reduce performance on the soccer field. He took the patent and developed the best soccer sock available today.

    It’s difficult to explain the look and feel of a sock that fits perfectly, all the way to the knees, super soft, and never comes down. No tape is needed to keep them up. They are so light that it feels like you are barefoot. It’s basically heaven for an elite soccer player.

    The price of the TRUSOX, are high, but pro players pay a premium to ensure their socks are of the highest quality. You will see many players wearing these socks during professional games. There are many imitators, but this is the original premium sock for soccer players. Sometimes the socks that belong to a uniform are not TRUSOX, so what does the pro player do? They wear a shorter TRUSOX sock in their cleat, then they cut their own “uniform socks” so that only the top portion of the uniform sock shoes. See the photo below. Pro soccer players are so in love with the TRUSOX that they go the extra step to tape their “uniform sock” to the TRUSOX. They do this because they could get fined by their team and league for wearing different socks. They have to wear the sponsor's uniform socks, but we see what they've been up to. 

    You can see above how the players use a TruSox under their uniform sock. This is Real Madrid players during a game. Just so you know, the players wear the shorter TRUSOX Mid-Calf Crew Cushion Soccer under their longer uniform socks. You can get those as well on Amazon. 

    So What makes the TruSox so special? Here are the biggest benefits of TruSox:

    • MAKE CHANGES IN DIRECTIONS FASTER - since the grip is so clean, you gain traction quicker and explode faster. 
    • PREVENT BLISTERS - No slipping means no more blisters. 
    • SUPER COMFORTABLE - Nice thick cloth that stretches gives great comfort. 
    • Materials: 60 Nylon, 39 Cotton, 1 Spandex.

    So now lets take a look at some of these quality soccer socks made today.

    Top 4  Soccer Socks competing with TruSox

    Adidas, the giant and original world wide soccer manufacturer of all soccer related apparel, responded with the Adidas Traxion soccer sock to compete with TruSox. Adidas claims that the Traxion Socks will provide Traxion areas of the foot and Achilles increase grip and stability within your shoe. This reduces slipping and blisters from instability. 

    • 80% Nylon/17% Polyester/3% Spandex
    • Cushioned foot and ankle provide protection from impact and arch and ankle support provide added stability
    • Climalite moisture wicking yarns help keep your feet cool and dry, and FORMOTION 'left/right' specific fit foot bed provides added comfort
    • Clima cool mesh channels promote breathability

    Nike is probably the 2nd best to TrusSox. Nike came out aggressively with their own "NikeGrip" soccer sock to compete with TruSox. Their Engineered Traction System is a good alternative to TruSox, but not quite. With enhanced traction, Nike Dri-Fit material, and arch compression keep your foot secure in both wet and dry conditions inside your soccer cleats.

    • 6% spandex
    • Anatomically correct Left/Right foot specific, arch compression
    • 49% polyester/40% nylon/5% cotton/6% spandex

    Under Armour and Diadora

    Under Armour didn't try very hard as they are not too deep into the Soccer market. But they did come out with their UA Global Performance Over The Calf Soccer Sock. It's a good attempt at making a premium soccer sock. They have some good Compression and the Armourblock Technology helps prevent growth of odor causing bacteria in the sock, that's always nice for kids. Overall these are great performance soccer socks. 


    • Strategic Cushion reduces bulk, delivers flexibility & breathability
    • Reinforced Heel & Toe maximizes durability
    • Precision Y-heel pocket improves fit & enhances comfort


    Diadora never made much of an attempt to replicate the technology of TruSox, but it does have the Diadora Squadra Soccer Socks. These are unique because they have a wider calf and to fit the shin guards. These socks also compete with the likes of Nike, Adidas, and UA for confort and quality, but they don't offer as much grip inside the shoe. 

    • 60% Polyester, 30% Nylon, 10% Spandex
    • Polyester and nylon for durability and color fast
    • Arch and ankle Cradles

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Conclusion:

    Not far behind are the giants of professional sports apparel, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour and then numerous others, like Diadora. These three giants continue to make soccer socks that rival the look and feel of the TRUSOX. While their designs and technology are catching up, nothing compares to the quality of TRUSOX. However this is not a diss at any of these companies, because their socks are also very good. I have worn the Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour premium socks and they feel very good. The fact is that these companies can and do make quality soccer socks and should definitely be part of the conversation of the best soccer socks in the world.

    Best Ronaldo Soccer Ball

    Best Ronaldo Soccer Balls


    A  Ronaldo soccer ball made by Forever Fanatics. This ball brings out the best visuals for any Ronaldo soccer fan. The is the newest of all the Ronaldo soccer balls on the market. If you are looking for a gift that is related to Cristiano, this is it. 

    We have reviewed the specifications of the ball and it's great fro training with your team or individually. 

    We would recommend this ball for a child that loves watching and imulating Cristiano Ronaldo. This would allow him/her to visualize winning the World Cup with the final goal! 


    The Nike Strike CR7 Soccer Ball

    Nike Strike CR7 Soccer Ball

    The best option on the market for a Cristiano Ronaldo soccer ball is definitely the Strike ball. The Nike Strike CR7 Soccer Ball features a reinforced rubber bladder and a contrast power graphic for consistent feel and easy visual tracking. The signature details included on the ball pay tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo.

    The Ronaldo ball is probably the most expensive and premium on the market today. This ball can be used for games and trainings with adults and children alike. 

    Syecomb Soccer Ball Ronaldo Portugal


    Syecomb Soccer Ball Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

    Syecomb Soccer Ball Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal is a tribute to one of Portugal National team's favorites son, Mr. Ronaldo himself. This is the medium range ball for the serious Ronaldo trainer or fan. 


    This unique ball is the best gift for the soccer loving boy or a girl on your list. The high-quality ball will make great training and play with friends. The CR Ball ​features the unique colors of the Portugal national team with pride. The ball also features a large face image of the greatest goal scoring legend of his time. 

    What's best is that this ball comes with a set of air pump and needle. The high quality air pump, can be used to do many other things like pumping air on you bicycles, balls, and more!

    Conclusion:

    The best Ronaldo soccer ball on the market today as mentioned above has to be the Nike CR7 Strike Ball. This ball offers the best quaility if you are looking to do mostly playing with the ball. But if you are looking more for a ball that will offer a great visual gift for the Ronaldo fan, then you should go with the Ronaldo Superstar Soccer Ball. This one offers some unique images and it's all about Ronaldo! 


    You can learn more about Ronaldo's early life and what he did to become one of the greatest goal scorers of all time by reading the Becoming Cristiano Ronaldo article. 

    If you are looking to Train and become one of the best players of all time just like Ronaldo, then maybe you should think about getting this one. The elastic cord allows your son or daughter to train alone without assistance for hours and hours at a time. Don’t spend too much time looking for ball or running to retrieve it, just focus on training.

    Train like Cristiano Ronaldo

    Becoming Christiano Ronaldo

    Ronaldo, one of the greatest of all time started out the same way the majority of us are fortunate enough to begin. But Ronaldo took a different path and became one of the best of all time. Why did Ronaldo become Ronaldo? What made him what he is today? Why can’t that be duplicated? Today we look at Ronaldo’s upbringing and analyze what he did to develop into one of the greatest players of all time.

    Early Life

    His family lived in one of the poorest areas in Madeira. This is common not only with soccer greats, but with the majority of professional athletes around the world.

    His neighbors have stated that “he was always playing with the ball”, “you would always see him up and down, up and down the street with the ball”. If his neighbors saw him, this means he was always playing at home.

    He Played street soccer with his friends and neighbors. He even talks about it in the documentary. Ronaldo said that they had to play street soccer on a sloped street, they would put rocks down as goal posts. When a car would be driving by, they had to remove the rocks. Ronaldo’s mother discusses how Ronaldo would come home from school and state that he didn’t have homework. Dinner would be on the table, but instead he would grab “a fruit and a yogurt and would not return until 9pm”.

    If he was playing street soccer and at home on his own, this means that Free Play played a big role in his development. 

    There were no coaches around on the street or at home following him around telling him what to do. It was all Free Play.

    What about Ronaldo’s environment and culture? I believe that the environment and culture make a huge difference in the development of any player. For starters, Ronaldo’s dad was director of a small soccer club in the City of Medeira. Ronaldo saw that his father enjoyed being around soccer so it was inevitable that Ronaldo would play as well.

    His mother also loved soccer. She claims in the documentary that she wanted her son to play like Luis Figo. What a great environment to live under, his mom and dad both loved the game and that was a significant contributor to his development. Ronaldo’s mother also goes on to state that she wanted Ronaldo to play for Sporting Lisbon and supported the transfer when he was 12 years old. Sporting Lisbon was her favorite club growing up.

    Christiano Ronaldo started playing for his dad’s club at 6 years old. He remembers that he had a lot of fun and they practiced almost every day. Can you imagine if you asked a parent in the US to practice everyday? Ronaldo loved to practice. He had an insatiable thirst for soccer and the key to his development was that the environment fed that thirst. Everywhere he went, he could play, at home, on the street, at school, and at his club. What a great soccer environment!

    At about 10 years old, Ronaldo had established himself as one of the best players around. Ronaldo’s father contacted Ronaldo’s godfather and they facilitated a transfer to Nacional de Madeira. According to Nacional de Madeira coach, Antonio Mandoca, Ronaldo always wanted the ball at his feet. “He wanted to do everything on his own”. Think about what we do with 10 year old kids who are selfish with the ball….. I’ve seen so many parents and coaches coach this out of the kids. They yell at them that they must pass the ball. They work on drills all day long to coach the kids to pass because “he’s not a team player”. They forget the fact that the reason that the player is trying to do everything on his own is because he wants his team to win, he/she is competitive, but we view that as a negative. What we can learn from this is that we need to let kids be kids and let nature take its course. Kids are selfish weather we like it or not, and eventually they grow out of it.

    What about his size? Today Ronaldo is known for his power and speed. His runs and shots are powerful. You would never have known that he was considered to be “too thin” as a young boy. His mother talks about how she was afraid that Ronaldo would break his shin from a hard tackle. What this should tell you is that size doesn’t matter. We HAVE to let nature take its course and allow kids to grow. We must nurture their development.Ronaldo trophy

    Ronaldo’s parents, sisters, and coaches report that he used to cry if he didn’t score or if his friends didn’t score goals. He did this so much that he earned the nickname “crybaby”. This is another example of how we need to let kids be kids. Ronaldo was only acting like a child, because that is what he was. Imagine how he would have been treated in the USA….. he would have been told that he doesn’t have the psychological make up to make a winner, etc. etc. He was a child and that’s how children act. My nephew who went on to play for the Regional ODP and college used to cry as well when he didn’t score, but that’s because he had a passion and that’s all.

    Paolo Cardoso, from Sporting Lisbon, talks about the first time he met Ronaldo for the tryout. He said that he “put him (Ronaldo) to work with older players, got ball, went past two or three players, we looked at each other and knew he was special. Never seen such quality in a player.” He goes on to state that Ronaldo was “Player of unusual talent, excellent dribbler, we recommended that we sign him up!”.

    At just 12 years old, Paolo knew that they had something special. Up to that time, Ronaldo had never attended any prestigious camps, clubs, or coaching clinics. He had never met any world famous coaches or anything of that sort. He just simply loved soccer, had a great soccer environment and culture around him, had a passion for learning and competing, had thousands of hours of free play, and was very athletic.

    If you analyse these things, you notice that none of them cost anything. His love and passion for soccer and competition were part of his character, his soccer environment and culture were given to him, and his free play hours and athletic ability were part of his environment. He did receive good coaching, not great, but just good. He didn’t start getting “excellent coaching” until he reached Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United. By that time he was already considered a great soccer player, he was 12 years old. I believe that his parents and coaches made the right decision to send him away at 12-13 years old. I think this is the time when players are ready to be coached. By this time they should already be polished technically and ready for the tactical side of training and intentional practice.

    Find out how to get Ronaldo's soccer ball and start training today with your idol Best Ronaldo Soccer Ball

    Conclusion:

    So, when your son/daughter is U6 or U8, there is no need to pay thousands of dollars for coaching or playing. They need a love for the game, desire to play, receive reinforcement from their environment, create a culture that nurtures their creativity, free play, and thousands of hours of practice. You cannot control athleticism, and you won’t know until they reach their late teens. So in the meantime, give them what you can get for free.