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What are some significant changes in soccer equipment?
Soccer equipment is constantly changing as the manufacturers find better materials and more effective product to introduce to soccer players. For example, moisture management clothing is typically considered to be shirts and shorts. Now the same material that helps a player feel dry and comfortable during a training session is also in the socks, shin guards and shoes. Balls have seen incredible innovations from Adidas and Nike. Their flight is more accurate, the bounce is consistent and the ‘touch’ and ‘playability’ helps a great player become even greater. This year you will see the Nike First2 Pro FG women’s fit shoe that rewrites the fit of soccer cleat to match the shape of a women’s foot better than any shoe on the market. Diadora will introduce the Gamma Carbonio shin guard made of Kevlar (the same material in bullet proof vests). Adidas introduced the Teamgeist ball for last year’s FIFA World Cup in Germany. It features thermal bonded panels and a cover that took Bayer Chemical years to develop. Play one game with it and you’ll experience the difference.
What makes a good soccer cleat?
Fit and function. The shoe has to feel good on your foot. And, it has to have the right sole for the surface you are playing on. Players are particular about the materials, color and brands but across the board every player will decide whether to put their cleats on for a big match by asking: does it fit? Is it the right shoe for the field today?
What makes a good shinguard?
For young players they just need to want to wear it. All shin guards made by reputable manufacturers will provide a reasonable amount of protection from bumps and bruises caused by the normal run of play. The important thing for a shin guard is that the player isn’t annoyed by it for any reason. They need to wear them. Older players will consider the size, weight and fit of the guard much more closely. High School players beginning in the Spring of ’08 will have to wear guards that meet a national standard. This standard will be enforced by referees and focuses on the size of the guard.
Does the modern soccer equipment make a difference in the game? Why?
Modern equipment can make a great player better. Realistically, an average player will not see a difference in their game if they wear the Adidas Copa Mundial shoe (made 25 years ago and hasn’t changed since) or the Adidas Predator Absolute TRX FG with laser-engraved rubber for better ball control and the numerous other enhancements it features. I do believe the top players can make a shot swerve a little more and a pass a little more accurate because of the additional features in today’s shoes, balls and equipment. The manufacturers seem to share this opinion, too. The price of the top level footwear and equipment is much more than the mid-range and entry level equipment. A top level player that invests more time to training will also expect to invest more money in his/her equipment. So, every player and every level can find the right combination of gear to match their game.

Soccer is an amazing sport that lets the whole world onto its field. Every person can play with just a simple ball and a few like minded individuals to knock it around. You don’t have to be the fastest, the strongest, the tallest or the toughest. You don’t have coaches feeding you plays in the middle of the game and in every game every player will control the ball and have the chance to lead his/her team to victory.


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