ALWAYS DO A BAG CHECK BEFORE YOU GO
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your kid’s soccer game and they have forgotten some part of their uniform. Thankfully we live only about 5 miles from our home soccer fields, so it’s usually not too hard to run back to the house. We had an “incident” about a month ago that was the perfect storm of a forgotten uniform fail.
I should mention that I am a well-seasoned soccer mom with ten years of soccer experience under my belt, so I hope you can learn from my soccer mom advice. I’ve learned to go through the standard “soccer bag/uniform check” before we leave for games. I (annoyingly, I’m sure) make my girls go through everything in their soccer bag or I do it myself to make sure we haven’t missed something.
I did the bag check this time and we had everything my younger daughter needed for her game. We always have to arrive 30 minutes early for the kids to warm up, so my husband thought he would do some multitasking and decided to go get a quick haircut. He dropped me and our daughter off at the field and went to the nearby Fantastic Sam’s.
OUR WORST BAG CHECK FAIL EVER
As the other team arrived, I saw that both teams were wearing blue. When that happens, we as the home team have to change into our white jersey shirts. I suddenly saw my daughter running top speed across the field to me and yelling desperately, “Mom, my white jersey isn’t in my bag!” In my mind I could see that white jersey in her bag because I had checked it myself before we left. I later found out that my daughter had to get something out of the bottom of her bag right before we left, so she pulled everything out, left it on the floor and obviously didn’t put everything back in. <sigh>
Remember that my husband was gone and he had taken our car. I called him, hoping that he was just waiting to get his haircut. He had gotten lucky and didn’t have to wait at all, so he was in the haircutting chair. They had cut about half of his hair by this point. I explained the situation and could feel his embarrassment as I listened to him tell the stylist that he was going to have to run home right now for the jersey.
My wonderful hubby ran home, got the jersey and brought it to us, saving the day. As he drove the car through the parking lot and handed the shirt to me out the car window, I caught a glimpse of his half-haircut mohawk. He immediately drove back to finish his haircut. Thankfully, my daughter got her jersey with about 5 minutes to spare before the game started.
Some advice from this seasoned soccer mom is to always have a spare bag packed and in your car. That wouldn’t have helped us this time since we just have one blue and one white jersey for each daughter, but it has saved us many times with some of the other things the kids need. Below are my top must-have items to always have on-hand in your car to avoid the dreaded “forgotten item” situation.
JERSEY NUMBER ADVICE
This one has been a life-saver for us! If you can, pick the same jersey number for each of your kids in the same sport. This may not work out for everyone, but it does work for us. Both of my girls play for the same soccer club and both have jersey number 3. Our girls are three years apart in age, but in a pinch, they can swap uniforms. This is particularly helpful for those times your kid waits until the last minute to get dressed and has no clue as to where their jersey is. We usually find that it’s wet in the washer or wadded up behind their bathroom door. It really reduces the stress to know you have a backup.
PACK YOUR SPARE SOCCER BAG
This seasoned soccer mom advice is to always have a spare soccer bag packed and in your car. In many cases, the spare items can just be an older items that you have replaced over time. Not all of these things are necessary items, but are nice to have with you in case you need them. Of course if your children play in different sports, just use these ideas as a baseline and adjust for what they need to have for their sport.
Soccer Bag – when they get a new one, use their old bag as your spare. Another option is to use one that you get for free as part of participating in certain tournaments.
Warm-up Jacket and Pants – our soccer club changes uniforms about every two years. When the kids get new warm-ups, pack their older ones in your spare soccer bag
Cleats – when they get a new pair, pack their old pair in the spare bag. Just two weeks ago, our daughter had half of her cleat bottom rip apart from the top of the shoe. Somehow she managed to finish the game and only told us afterwards. Having an older pair of cleats as spares doesn’t always work because kids’ feet grow so quickly, so it may be a good idea to buy a cheap pair of spare cleats. Sometimes you can find a decent pair at a sports store in their discount area. Last year we picked up a pair of Adidas cleats for $30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods that were originally $70. In general, I feel that Adidas is a great brand with a lower price point.
Socks – buy one extra pair of each sock color when you purchase new soccer club uniforms so you always have extras on hand
Shorts – buy a pair that looks similar to the actual uniform shorts.
Shin Guards – keep an older pair on-hand. These are my older daughter’s favorite style of shin guards, which use an outer breathable sheath that holds the guard in place.
Water Bottle – for kids and parents!
Chilling Towel – these are great for those hot summer days. Douse them in water and it’s like instant refrigeration!
Under Armour – one black, long-sleeved sport shirt and one pair of capri length leggings. Living in Minnesota, it’s often colder outside than the kids realize before we leave for games.
Single Use Ice Packs – these are great to have ready to go in case of an injury. Just break the inner bag, mix and you have an instant ice pack.
Cleat / Shoe Dryer – I’m not going to lie… cleats are going to get stinky, but when you combine “normal” stink with them getting wet and not drying out fast enough and you have a guaranteed noxious, putrid odor to deal with. We leave our cleat dryer in the garage and the kids can take off their cleats and dry them out when they return from a game. We take ours with us when we travel to out-of-town games/tournaments.
Standard Garbage Bag – this sounds odd, right? Well, it’s one of those must-have items for game days when it’s raining. Just put their soccer bag inside the garbage bag and everything stays nice and dry!
Outdoor Blanket – I bought this a couple of months ago and have been very happy with it. Last weekend it was raining during one of our daughter’s games. The rain beaded up on the colored side and rolled right off.
Extra Ball – when they get a new ball, keep the old one in your car
General Items for the kids and the family – Ponytail holders, Sunscreen, Kleenex, Bandaids, Sunglasses, Umbrella, Ibuprofen
Folding Sports Chair – This is my favorite chair because it has the side fold-out table and has a set of side pockets that you use to keep items you want to have on-hand.
I hope you have found this post helpful and that it makes you think of a few things you hadn’t considered to always have with you for games. Leave a comment if there is anything that you bring to games that I have forgotten!