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Flying screens

Shopping for a Soccer Ball - What's Important?

Size:

  • Size 3
    • Smallest ball and is generally used for children under the age of 8
  • Size 4
    • For players ages 8 through 13
    • Has a circumference of 25-26 inches and weighs between 12-13 ounces
  • Size 5
    • The international standard match ball for all ages 13 and older
    • Weighs between 14-16 ounces and has a circumference of 27-28 inches

Covering:

There are currently two types of synthetic leather covers:
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    • PVC is durable and inexpensive
    • Both water resistant and scuff resistant
    • Great for entry level and youth players
  • Polyurethane
    • Polyurethane has a good feel and ideal durability
    • Both water and scuff resistant
    • Usually has a gloss coating for added protection
    • Good for intermediate to advanced players
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Paneling:

Soccer balls are designed with a specific panel design to determine how aerodynamic the ball is and how much control a player will feel.
  • 32 Panels
    • Most traditional round ball
    • Roundness gives it superior flight and playability
  • 20 Panels
    • A 20 panel ball gives the player more control of the ball off of his/her foot
    • Control is important for long passes and precise shots on goal
  • 18 Panels
    • Major League Soccer uses an 18 panel design ball
    • 18 panels give the ball better aerodynamics for a true flight and create better control for the athlete
  • 6 Panels
    • Indoor soccer leagues use a six-panel design ball
    • Since indoor soccer is extremely fast-paced, a ball with fewer panels aids in moving faster through the air
    • Fewer seams and fewer panels result in less air/wind resistance

Shopping for Shin Guards - What's Important?

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Material:

  • Fiberglass
    • Fiberglass is lightweight, stiff and offers excellent protection
  • Foam Rubber
    • Foam rubber is light and moldable, but offers less protection
  • Polyurethane
    • Polyurethane is slightly heavier and less moldable than other shin guard materials but offers extreme protection
  • Plastic
    • Plastic is generally less expensive
  • Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Foam or Lycra Backing
    • Commonly found on the backside of all guards for comfort
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Ankle Guards:

  • Included
    • Many shin guards include padded ankle protectors which attach to the bottom of the guard
    • Protects the ankles and Achilles tendon against direct kicks, but are soft and flexible enough as to not to interfere with movement
    • Strongly recommended for players ages 12 and under
  • Excluded:
    • Many shin guards do not include any type of ankle guard
    • This offers less protection to the ankle and Achilles area, but offers improved speed and flexibility

Fit:

  • Shin guards should cover most of the area from the ankle to the knee
  • Measure the shin from just below where the knee bends to about 1" above the shoe top
  • Some manufacturers label the shin guard sizes according to age
  • Senior (large) shin guards are generally designed for players taller than 5' 4"
  • Junior (medium) shin guards are designed for players shorter than 5' 4"

Compression Sleeves:

  • Benefits include:
    • Holding the shin guard firmly in place
    • Providing compression
    • Increasing blood flow
    • Reducing cramping and fatigue
    • Machine washable
Synthetic Cleats

Shopping for Cleats - What's Important?

Lacing:

  • Traditional Lacing
    • Laces are located on the top of the cleat, as seen on most athletic and casual shoes
    • Traditional lacing offers great support and lockdown of the foot
  • Asymmetrical lacing
    • Laces are moved to the lateral side of the shoe
    • Lacing will not interfere with contact to the ball allowing for a cleaner striking surface

Features:

  • Tongue Flap
    • Keeps the tongue and laces of the cleat in place
    • Helps prevent laces from coming untied during the course of a game
  • Shoelace cover
    • Similar to the tongue flap, a shoelace cover will keep the laces in place and prevent them from coming untied
    • Most importantly, the shoelace cover aids in enabling the player to achieve cleaner contact with the bal
Kangaroo Cleats

Materials:

  • Synthetic Leather
    • A man-made synthetic material that is lighter and less expensive than leather
    • May be used in key areas of an upper for added support
    • Durable and easy to clean
  • Kangaroo Leather
    • Premium quality natural leather often used on more expensive cleats
    • It is a thin glove-like material that provides strength, durability and improved feel of the ball

Molded Studs:

  • Stable, strong and ideal for beginner and intermediate players
  • Outsoles have non-removable hard plastic cleats formed on the bottom of the shoe
  • Work well on harder turf surfaces
  • Two primary categories:
    • Hard Ground (HG)
      • HG cleats are used on fields with extremely dry grass, dirt and even gravel
      • These surfaces do not require much penetration of the stud in the ground for traction
      • This durable outsole is easy to identify by the greater number of studs, compared to firm ground cleats
    • Firm Ground (FG)
      • FG cleats are the classic soccer cleat with studs designed to provide traction and stability on most outdoor soccer fields

Indoor Cleat:

  • Indoor cleats often have a gum rubber outsole with a herringbone pattern , which is designed to stick to smooth hardwood floors

Turf Cleat:

  • Turf cleats often feature smaller, hard rubber projections or molded patterns in place of studs/cleats
  • They can help prevent shin splints especially on hard indoor/outdoor surfaces and artificial turf
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