Fall means something special around here: SOCCER SEASON! I’ve been a proud soccer mom for several years now! Here’s my little soccer player – he’s playing at the U10 level this year and we’re doing year-round soccer at this point:
My husband spent a few years coaching his team, we’ve enjoyed participating on several tournaments, and we’ve watched our son play in rain and shine. Over the years, we’ve learned from other parents (and trial and error) and have slowly acquired a few items that have made our experience more enjoyable. I thought I’d take the time out to share what some of those items are, particularly if you’re new to soccer.
Without further ado, here are the items that frequently make their way into the trunk of our car:
1. Folding Camping Chairs. I’d put this as THE most essential item for soccer parents! Only rarely do we arrive to a field where there are bleachers or benches. The Coleman chair pictured sells for about $24-$30 on Amazon (depending on color) and includes a cooler. Given that you’ll be using it a lot, I recommend you go for comfort. During the summer, you’ll find many parents with chairs that include umbrella tops. Other places to watch for a deal in my area: Costco and Fred Meyer.
2. Rolling Sports Cart. At our first tournament, we found ourselves lugging chairs, sports equipment, snacks, and water bottles all over God’s green earth. That’s when we noticed that many soccer families were using a rolling sports cart like this one (currently $62-$95 at Amazon, depending on color). We found one at Costco this summer and lemme tell you, it’s not gimmicky. The thing gets used! In fact, we used it just last weekend at an away soccer tournament.
You’ll often find that you do a fair amount of walking to get to your kid’s soccer field from the parking lot and it’s so handy to be able to throw all your gear into one of these bad boys and save your back! I love that they also have places to store your water bottles in the front. Other places to watch for deals: sporting good stores, Costco.
3. Canopy/Shade Tent. We purchased a canopy like this a few years ago. While we don’t use it for every practice or game, it definitely got some use last weekend as we found ourselves sitting in full sun for a couple hours at a time watching soccer games! We have also used ours during rainy games.
The one pictured above is roughly the same size as ours – 10′ X 10′. We can fit three camping chairs, an ice chest and our rolling cart all comfortably inside with room to spare. The one pictured above is $85-$100 depending on color on Amazon and that’s less than the price we paid. Other places to watch for deals: sporting good stores, Fred Meyer, Costco.
4. Folding 6-Seater Bench. When my husband was coaching, we ended up buying this 6-seater bench to keep our players together on the sidelines. It’s portable and can fit under a pop-up tent or canopy. It could also be an alternative to camping chairs if you have a lot of spectators! The one pictured above is about $44-$60 on Amazon, depending on color.
5. Fleece Throws. For cold weather practices and games, I love bringing fleece throws with! These ones on Amazon start at $7, but you can often find them go on sale in the fall and holidays at stores in the area. Lately, I’ve been using them to spread out on the grass for soccer practice in lieu of camping chairs. (We have hour and a half practices three days a week and I find I prefer to stretch out on a blanket!)
6. Rainboots. The first year my kid was in soccer I learned the hard way: sneakers are no bueno on the rainy, muddy fields! You need something to keep your feet dry and warm. You will notice that all the soccer parents in the know will start donning rainboots like these come the rainy days of fall. Extra points for bright colors or fun patterns. Triple extra points for coordinating your rainboots with the colors of your kid’s soccer team.
Also worth keeping on hand – gloves, scarves, and wool caps. These super cute Kamik Women’s Rainboots start at just $21 on Amazon and come in a variety of colors.
7. Thermos. Don’t waste your money driving through the espresso stand on your way to the soccer game. That paper cup won’t keep your latte insulated past the pre-game warm-up! Instead, make your coffee at home and fill up a great stainless steel thermos – like this 40 oz version on Amazon (currently $29). You can also fill it with fall drinks like cocoa or cider – YUM! Other places to watch for a deal – Costco, Fred Meyer (with store coupons), maybe even a thrift store.
Don’t feel you need to race out and buy all these items all at once – we certainly didn’t. Each year, we’d add to our collection as we were able or found a deal. Some of these items you may already have on hand. Or find at a thrift store or garage sale.
If you’re new to the soccer scene, I hope my survival guide has given you a few ideas of how to make your experience as a soccer parent more enjoyable! If you’re an old pro, I’d love to hear what you’d add to my list (along with any tips on where to find a deal!).
PS – I’ve included Amazon links to the products above. The prices and availability were accurate as of this posting, but please note – these can change at any time.