Youth Soccer Tips from US Goalkeeper Tony Meola
Youth soccer season is in full swing across the nation! US Goalkeeper Tony Meola has teamed up with Allstate Insurance. As the official insurance sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Allstate has teamed up with Meola to help ensure that our nation’s youth soccer players are taking the proper precautions to protect themselves as they play this great game as well as to provide education and inspiration to youth soccer players this fall.
Tony's Tips for Youth Soccer Players
- Avoid injuries by wearing shoes that fit. Not much equipment is required for soccer, but cleats that are too small or too big can irritate your feet. Also, don't worry about those flashy cleats your friend is wearing. Wear what works for you. Still learning the game? Go with molded cleats over the more dangerous metal spikes. An all purpose cleat will serve you well until you get a better feel for soccer cleats.
- At halftime or in between games, get off your feet. To conserve energy in your legs, find a shady spot near the field, have a seat and rest up for the next half or game. If you can elevate your feet for a couple of minutes, that would help.
- For all goalkeepers out there, learn how to dive properly. The better your technique, the less inclined your are to get injured. Also, wear the padded pants to protect your legs. Taking proper training to be a goalkeeper will be well worth it.
- Cross-training by participating in multiple sports is a great way to train as well as avoid injuries, especially for field players. For example, the constant cutting, different speeds and short bursts in basketball translate very well to soccer. Being involved in other sports also helps.
- Don’t be a hero. Some soccer injuries can be caused by consistent overuse or playing through pain. If you sustain an injury, take the time to heal up so you can get back on the field! And remember – injuries need to be managed long term, not just in the short term.
- Stay hydrated to stay in the game! Whether you’re playing in a game or practicing, fluid replenishment is vitally important to battle fatigue and avoid dehydration, especially in the summer months. And remember – small sips or else you might find yourself right back on the sideline!
- Whether you win or lose, join your team for a brief cool down jog after the game. Icing after games is also a great way to begin the recovery process.
And one tip from me – HAVE FUN! Soccer is a game everyone can enjoy – whether you play in a league or in your backyard scrimmaging against your friends – soccer is great exercise.