As a dad of two preschoolers, I’m very aware of what soccer equipment works best for toddlers. Getting hold of the best equipment makes soccer so much more fun for both you and them. So, let me show you what you need for your toddler as they begin their journey of playing soccer!
The soccer equipment a toddler needs is a jersey, shorts, long socks, soccer shoes, and a soccer ball. Each of these items is essential for a toddler to be able to play soccer. It is also beneficial to have shin guards and a small soccer goal.
In this article, I want to take you through each piece of equipment your toddler needs for soccer, and I’ll give you a specific recommendation for what to buy.
What Does a Toddler Need for Soccer?
The list of equipment you need for soccer is not extensive. This is as true for toddlers as it is for adults.
One of the reasons soccer is so popular is because of the minimal requirements for playing a game.
However, certain items will make your toddler’s experience of the game far more enjoyable.
And don’t be fooled into thinking you need to purchase the most expensive gear out there! As long as you get hold of something that is good quality, you and your toddler will be just fine!
Toddler Soccer Jersey
One of the most purchased pieces of soccer equipment is a soccer jersey.
A jersey is the defining piece of equipment for any team. It displays the team’s colors and shows those around you what team you are on.
If your toddler is playing with a team, the coach may issue them with a jersey.
Most of the time, you will have to purchase a jersey yourself for them.
If you are unsure about what jersey to get, I recommend looking at these options on Amazon and choosing one that you like the look of.
Ultimately, there is no right and wrong when it comes to the jersey you decide to get for your child.
Unless a team has asked you to get hold of a specific color jersey, simply find one that both you and your toddler are happy with.
If you need a guide to choosing the correct size jersey for your toddler, check out my Soccer Jersey Buyer’s Guide. It will help you avoid making a mistake with choosing.
Toddler Soccer Shoes
The second most purchased piece of soccer equipment is soccer shoes or cleats.
Cleats are a significant part of soccer at most levels of the game. (If you want to discover more about cleats, check out my article –What are Soccer Cleats? Everything You Need to Know.)
But because toddlers are so young, many people suggest that they shouldn’t be wearing cleats yet.
So, should you be buying soccer cleats for your toddler?
Toddlers don’t need to wear soccer cleats. A regular pair of sneakers will work well. Wearing cleats at such a young age has the potential to hinder the child more than it benefits them.
The best option for your toddler is to buy them a pair of soccer shoes rather than cleats.
Soccer shoes look similar to cleats but without the studs on the sole of the shoe.
When your toddler is a little older, maybe around five years old, I would recommend buying some cleats, but as a toddler, they are better without them.
Toddler Soccer Ball
Next, you need to get a soccer ball for your toddler.
In my article – Best Soccer Ball for Toddlers – I recommend a selection of different balls you may want to consider for your toddler.
I have found that the best option is to get a colorful ball that your toddler will enjoy following around and playing with.
This ball on Amazon is a great option.
Just make sure you choose a size 3 ball. Anything bigger will be too much for your child at this age.
You can find a more detailed guide to soccer ball sizes in the image below.
Shorts and Socks
To make up a full uniform (or “kit” as it’s known in soccer), you will need to purchase some shorts and socks to go along with the soccer jersey.
Traditionally these should match the jersey. Or at the least, they should be a similar color scheme. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what color these are.
If your toddler is playing as part of a team and the team has a color preference, the coach will let you know.
If you are just playing soccer with your child socially or in your backyard, then choose whatever colors you prefer.
You’ll probably have noticed that soccer players wear long socks that come up to the knee.
The main reason for this is because players must wear shin guards and keep them covered. Long socks keep the shin guards covered.
You may or may not decide to put shin guards on your kids, but you should get them some long sports socks to wear while playing soccer.
Soccer Shin Guards
At most levels of soccer, including youth, high school, and professional, shin guards are mandatory.
They are worn to protect against damage to a player’s lower leg, as this is the area of the body that is most likely to get kicked during a game.
For toddlers, shin guards aren’t mandatory, but I would advise you to get some for your child.
They don’t need to be expensive, just good enough to protect your toddler while playing soccer and at risk of being kicked by another player.
You don’t want your child to lose interest in the game because they hurt themselves once when you could have given them shin guards to wear!
These ones on Amazon would be a great option. The small size works well for children with a shin size of 7-8 inches, so check your child’s shin before purchasing.
Don’t miss my step-by-step guide to wearing shin guards correctly to make sure you don’t make a mistake. You can also find out if shin guards are worn over or under a player’s socks.
The last piece of equipment you need for your toddler is a goal.
If your toddler is anything like mine, they love kicking the ball into the goal as I pretend to try and stop it!
There are a ton of options for backyard goals, but I really like this one. It’s not too big, easy to set up, move around and pack away when not needed.
It’s also a bright color which toddlers love.
Having a goal they can use is a really effective way of not only having fun but improving their aim and ability to kick the ball in a specific direction.
It’s fun and helps them with their development!
At What Age Can Toddlers Play Soccer?
One question I often hear is regarding the best age for your toddler to begin playing soccer.
Toddlers can play soccer from the age of 2. This age is perfect for introducing toddlers to soccer as they begin to understand what they need to do and enjoy playing the game. Before they are 2 years old, toddlers are not as interested in playing soccer and would rather do their own thing with the ball.
The age a child begins to play soccer depends on a number of factors.
There’s no harm in attempting to kick a ball around with your toddler before they are 2, but in my experience, toddlers respond better to playing soccer after their second birthday.
At two years old, they may not be ready for an organized game but will often love playing soccer with family or friends in the backyard.
If you do decide to purchase cleats for your toddler have a look at my article – Best Soccer Cleats for Toddlers – for my recommendations.
Otherwise, check out my guide on how to play soccer to refresh your memory on the details of the game, or have a look at my 11 tips on being a great soccer parent.