Most parents know the frustration of thinking you’re ready to head out the door for practice or a game, and realizing that the soccer essentials are scattered throughout the house. Buying a right-sized soccer bag to keep everything in is the first step – and knowing what to put in your soccer bag is the next hurdle.
To help you figure out what to put in your soccer bag, think about what your soccer player (or you!!) will need pre-game, during the game, and after the game.
We’ve gone through these questions and created a handy checklist for soccer bag essentials.
The truth is that you may not need everything on this list, but it should be a helpful starting place as you think about what to put in your soccer bag.
What to Put in Your Soccer Bag: Pre-Game Essentials
In other words, what does your kid need to get ready for their game?
- Soccer Uniform
This means soccer cleats, socks, soccer shorts, compression shorts, including soccer cleats and soccer socks.
- Shin Guards
All players should have shin guards for practices and games – and it doesn’t hurt to have an extra pair in your soccer bag.
- Hairbrush and Hair Ties
Any player with long hair will tell you it’s super annoying to have your one hair tie break when you wrap it around a ponytail once too many times. Just throw some hair ties or headbands in your soccer bag, along with a hairbrush, and you’ll never have to frantically worry about borrowing a hair tie pre-game.
There are many brands out there that are specialized for sports. These sunscreens offer more broad-band protection against UV rays and don’t sweat off as easily. Our personal favorite is the Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray.
- Bug Spray
If you’re playing in an area where bugs are an issue, be sure to toss in your favorite bug spray.
- Personal Needs
Does your child wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums during the game? Do you need to bring their favorite goalie gloves? Athletes with asthma will likely need an inhaler, and players in cold climates may need hats and gloves.
What to Put in Your Soccer Bag: Game Essentials
AKA: What does your kid need during the game itself?
- Soccer Ball
Some teams provide soccer balls, while others require you to have yours on hand at all times.
- Water Bottle
The best water bottles have sport tops that make it easy to drink when you only have a quick second on the sidelines — or pour over your head on a super hot day. Many athletes also like stainless steel water bottles, since they don’t sweat and they keep your drink super cold.
What to Put in Your Soccer Bag: Post-Game Essentials
What will your soccer player need after the game?
Soccer makes you ravenous. While the traditional sliced oranges should be prepared day-of and not stored in your kid’s soccer bag, you can safely keep things like a few bags of nuts or granola bars (the non-chocolate chip melty kind) in their bag so you can avoid hanger after the game.
- Change of clothes
Some players may be fine going home in their kit, while others want to change out of their uniform right away. Keeping a change of clothes in your kid’s soccer bag is just a good idea.
Try going to a soccer game and not seeing a bunch of players walking around wearing the classic Adidas slide-on sandals post-match. There’s a reason they’re so popular!
- Sports Towel
A small, lightweight sports towel can be great for both wiping off sweat post-game, or sitting on while changing out of socks and cleats.
- Plastic Bag for Dirty Gear
Toss in some old grocery bags so you can easily take out just the dirty gear for laundry and cleaning, and save yourself the trouble of finding that rogue, stinky sock in a few weeks.
What to Put in Your Soccer Bag for Emergencies
Emergencies – of the medical and broken shoelace kind – will undoubtedly happen one day. These soccer bag essentials will help you feel prepared.
- First Aid Kit
Look for or assemble a first aid kit with Neosporin, band-aids, pain relievers, elastic compression bandages, and instant cold packs. Check out our article on how to make the ultimate soccer first aid kit.
- Extra Everything
If your kid’s soccer bag has the space, give a high-five to your future self by throwing in an extra set of everything: socks, shorts, jerseys, shin guards, and even cleats, if you can.
So that’s our comprehensive list of what to put in your soccer bag or backpack. Best of luck at your next match, where you’re certain to be the most prepared on the pitch.