Soccer Checklist for Youth Players: Prepare for Practice and Games

Sometimes life causes us to panic before a match. Rushing out of the house to drive to the field is an every weekend thing. 

Here are the things that you can’t afford to leave the house without:

Detailed Checklist


  1. Uniform: Make sure you have your team jersey, shorts, and socks.
  2. Practice clothes: Wear appropriate sports clothing
  3. Cleats: Cleaned and in good condition.
  4. Shin guards: Make sure they fit properly and comfortably.
  5. Goalkeeper gloves: If you play the goalkeeper position.
  6. Headband or hair ties: For those with long hair.
  7. Spare clothes: Especially if the weather might change or there’s a chance of getting wet.
  8. Weather-appropriate gear: Umbrella, raincoat, or extra warm clothing, depending on the forecast.


  1. Soccer ball: properly inflated.
  2. Water bottle: Filled with water or an electrolyte drink.
  3. Pump & needle: To inflate your ball if needed.
  4. Bag: To carry all your gear.
  5. Towel: Especially for rainy days or to wipe sweat.
  6. First aid kit: Basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, etc.
  7. Sunscreen: Especially for sunny days.
  8. Lip balm: To prevent chapped lips.
  9. Insect repellent: If you’re playing in an area with bugs.

Personal Items

  1. Identification card (ID): This is especially important for cup and tournament games.
  2. Emergency contact information: In case of any issues.
  3. Snacks: Energy bars, fruits, or other healthy options.
  4. Medications: Any personal medications you might need, e.g., asthma inhaler.

Mental Readiness

  1. Game or practice schedule: Know the timing and location.
  2. Arrival time: Always aim to be a little early.
  3. Mindset: Bring a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and improve.
  4. Team communication: Ensure you know any pre-game, practice strategies, or lineup changes.


  1. Thank yous: Always remember to thank your coach and teammates.
  2. Clean up: Make sure to clean your space, whether it’s on the sidelines or in the changing room.
  3. Cool down and stretch: Do some light stretches after games or practices to prevent injury.
  4. Hydration and refueling: Drink water and have a post-game snack to recover energy.

Staying Hydrated

Proper water intake amounts depend on your body size and weight.

A good rule of thumb is:

½ – 1 fluid oz of water per lbs of body weight


40-60 mL per Kg of body weight

Visualize Your Role

Try to imagine and visualize how:

  • The ball feels in your feet
  • To trap a ball from the air
  • To take a good first touch into space
  • Pass and shoot
  • You are supposed to be positioned in your role
  • The space between you and your teammates looks like


And anything you’ve been working on, including any tactical instructions the coach gave you in preparation for the match. If you are a goalkeeper, you should imagine your positioning in the goal, the weight and texture of the ball in your hand, and how it feels to stretch your body to dive and make a great save.

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