With the 2010 Football World Cup less than a year away, many people would be thinking about getting their own football out and “playing” with their friends. If you’re planning on doing this in your backyard and it’s just for fun, then it’s still okay to put some jackets on the ground instead of goalposts! However, if you are joining an amateur team, or playing in any competitive way, you should definitely consider getting the right pair of soccer goals. Luckily there are many variations to choose from, from small-sized soccer drills to full-sized professionals. Here are some ideas to help you decide what you might need.
Soccer Goal Practice
There are three things to consider before buying multiple purposes: first, what will it be used for? In other words, will they be used for competition or just for fun? The second thing to consider is who will use it. Is it for younger children or for children older than twelve? The third consideration, after discussing the other two, is of course the budget. How much do you want to spend? This will determine the type of material from which your purpose is made.
Portable practice soccer goals are readily available, and are usually made of plastic so they are not too heavy. Many of the practice objectives are smaller than those used for competitive matches, but are excellent for shooting practice. They usually have a tight, springy rebound net that bounces the ball back to you after scoring a goal.
Soccer Goals for Competition Practice
For any type of soccer practice that involves more than just shooting at goal, or a little kick just for fun, it is advisable to think about using a more professional style of goal.
Metal or plastic professional soccer goals are available in a variety of sizes. For children older than twelve years, the full size goal should be used. It is 8 feet high and 24 feet wide. Naturally, the size of the pitch should reflect the size of the goal used, so a good, full-sized soccer field would be 50 yards wide and 90 yards long. It also allows the players to get a full fitness workout as well as practice their soccer skills.
For small children who need to train for the junior leagues, smaller practice goals can be used – they can also play in smaller areas of the field. Smaller soccer goal sizes vary to suit all needs, but the following guidelines, or something close to them, should be the goal: for 8 to 11 year olds, the goal should be about 7 feet wide by 21 feet wide. The pitch should be shorter, say 70 yards. For 6 to 7 year olds aim for a training goal that is approximately 6.5 feet high and 18 feet wide, and uses a court area about 30 yards wide by 50 yards long.
Purpose Plastic or Aluminum?
The construction material of a soccer goal depends on how serious you are about football. If you’re a school or college team, you might be advised to mark a permanent pitch and invest in an aluminum goal, which is sturdy and durable, and fairly weather-resistant. However, if soccer is an occasional sport for you, or if you don’t have the space to mark a permanent soccer field because the area is also used for other sports, then cheaper, portable plastic nets offer an ideal solution. You just need to set it up before practicing, then take it down and save it after.
Football Goal Safety Considerations
In any sport, safety is paramount, both to protect the players as well as any spectators who come to watch the match. When setting up a soccer goal, whether for practice or matchplay, always make sure that the goal is securely anchored. The heavier aluminum balls are usually sunk into the ground and held there firmly. However, portable lightweight plastic nets can be blown off by strong winds, or dropped by a hit from a ball or player. So make sure especially with the purpose of these plastic drills, that they are tethered or attached securely to prevent accidents or accidents.
Finally remember that practice makes perfect, and that all the hard work you put in now might make you one of the football stars of tomorrow, and maybe you’ll even play in the World Cup one day!
Greg Rowles is a huge football fan, both league and international football. He writes about various aspects of the sport from soccer goals to team uniforms; and from the history of football to future competitions, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship in South Africa.