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Equipping Your Player

For parents new to soccer, one of the first questions after signing their child up is “What do I need to get my child before the season starts?”

For Intramural Players, K-3rd grade and BAYS travel players...

  1. Shin guards.
    1. These protective devices are mandatory to play soccer.
      NOTE: Please have your player wear his/her shin guards underneath socks!
    2. Shin guards should fit securely, and provide adequate protection of the shin bone, and with some pads, offer additional protection of the ankle area. Personal preference dictates which style you choose. Both are acceptable. 
    3. BAYS players must have shin pads to participate in league games.
  2. Soccer socks. Consider picking up two or more pairs of these extra-long socks, which are designed to cover the shin guards.
    1. Black is the Wayland color (and recommended for all BAYS players), particularly when playing vs. Newton who are also black/orange and wear orange socks.
  3. Soccer shorts.
    1. Intramural players (grades K, 1, 2, and fall grade 3) do not have to have “soccer” shorts per se; any athletic/gym shorts will do. In terms of colors, black is a good choice.
    2. BAYS players must have black shorts.
  4. Jerseys
    1. Kindergarten players are given jerseys by their coaches on first day of practice
    2. Intramural players (1-2 and Fall of 3rd grade) ?are given reversible jerseys by their coaches on first day of practice. These should be used in successive seasons, so hang onto your jersey! If jerseys are lost, you will need to purchase a replacement from the WAYS Equipment Manager.
    3. BAYS players must have a numbered Wayland uniform jersey, which can be ordered from the Natick Outdoor Store.  (Natick Outdoor should also have a list of available numbers but it's a good idea to also check with your player's coach before ordering.
  5. Ball. (See comments below on the ball selection)
    1. Kindergarten & Grades 1 & 2: Size 3
    2. Grades 3 – 6 (Under 9 – Under 12 age groups): Size 4
    3. Grades 7 and up (Under 13 and older age groups): Size 5
  6. Warm up pants. For younger players, any loose fitting pair of pants will suffice during the colder parts of the season. Just be sure your player wears shorts underneath. When it comes time to play, they should wear just their shorts as warm up pants restrict their motion. Trust us---on cold days, the only people who are cold are the spectators, who aren’t moving!
  7. Cleats. Although relatively inexpensive, cleats are not strictly necessary for first and second graders. By the third grade, players will start changing directions quickly enough to warrant the additional traction that cleats provide (especially on wet fields---remember, soccer is traditionally played in the rain!).

    A bit of advice...Cleat prices can vary greatly. What is most important in selecting soccer foot gear is to ensure proper fit. Sliding heels, too much room in the toe box, no arch support, etc. can lead to problems and discomfort during play. As feet grow quickly, check and re-check fit frequently during the season to ensure your player is comfortable and has a proper fitting shoe. Sometimes foot beds can be hard, and a cushioned insert can help dimish heel pain if your player experiences such discomfort. Bottom line is to ensure your player is properly sized, and fit by a knowledgeable sportswear professional. 

    A not about higher-end Cleats...For older players who show a strong interest in the sport, investing in higher quality cleats is recommended. Kangaroo leather shoes fit, breath and provide a more sensitive touch better than less-expensive synthetic shoes. Smaller specialty soccer stores like Brine and Soccer Stuff can offer a wider selection (see below).

Where to buy Equipment 

  • WAYS currently uses Natick Outdoor Store for TRAVEL TEAM uniforms. Intramural shirts are available from the WAYS Intramural Equipment Manager. Natick has a good selection of all the necessary gear.
  • The major sports superstores (Dick's, Sports Authority) offer a good collection of inexpensive soccer gear (balls, shin guards, cleats, shorts).
  • Bob's has a decent selection of cleats and sportswear. Look for sales in newspaper fliers before each season.  
  • Brine's Sporting Goods in Sudbury has a very knowledgeable staff and a good selection of soccer gear.
  • Soccer Stuff in Acton also has a very good selection and competent staff, and as you might guess, specializes in soccer.

Ball Selection

Of all the soccer items you can purchase, the most important to kindle your child’s interest in soccer is the ball itself. Your player can only have fun at home playing soccer only if he/she owns one, and having fun with the ball is the quickest way to develop those skills critical to enjoying the game. Note that Wayland Youth Soccer does not provide enough balls for everyone at practice, so it is important for players to bring their own to practices (be sure to write your player’s name on it!).

Choose a ball that is:
  1. Fully inflated at the store. That way, you lessen the chance of having picked one with a slow leak.
  2. Has sewn panels. Most balls are constructed this way. On the less expensive models, threads will be partly visible at the seams.
  3. Avoid glued-on panels- not only do these balls have a poor “feel” on the foot, but the panels do peel off, and their edges can be a serious safety hazard.
  4. Also, avoid pure rubber balls, which do not behave like real soccer balls.
Cover types
Soccer balls come in a variety of cover surfaces. The better surfaces have a soft (but not too soft), cushiony feel to them. They are easier to control on the field, and feel better when kicked.
Balls with PVC covers (shiny, hard plastic) are better in wet conditions as they tend not to absorb water. However, they are harder on the foot, and can hurt in cold weather. In addition, in cold weather and as they age, they tend to get brittle.
How Much to Spend
You can purchase a good quality ball for between $15 and $25.
Ball Safety
If you are lucky(!), your player will have his ball until it begins to wear out. It is time to retire the ball when you see the panels breaking at the seams. When that happens, the edges can be a serious safety hazard to the eyes and forehead, and the ball should be discarded.

updated 9/3/12