I thought I’d share my soccer bag essentials since I had no idea what I should bring with me to my first game. I think most of it is pretty basic, but there's a few things that I never would have thought to bring with me until I'd played a few games.
The first thing I make sure I have in my bag is my cleats – without those I can’t play. Luckily I have yet to show up to a game without them, though I’m sure it’ll happen at some point.
Shin guards are a must when you’re playing a game that involves kicking with cleats. I don’t know how many times they’ve kept my legs safe. I don’t think there’s a stinkier piece of soccer equipment – I think they started smelling after my first or second game. We only have two pieces of mandatory equipment in our league – cleats and shin guards. Cleats protect your feet better (because they're made of leather) rather than runners which usually have mesh on top. Shin guards are pretty self explanatory in the safety department.
I don’t think anyone looks good wearing soccer socks, but they keep your shin guards in place and give you some awesome “I’m a soccer player” tan lines. I don’t think anything below my knees got properly tanned last year. In fact, I came away from soccer season with a great tanned stripe on my legs from the bottom of my shorts to the top of my socks.
While this isn’t so applicable right now, before I know it there will be bugs everywhere. The soccer fields I play on don’t get mowed as often as they should, so there’s long grass which makes for lots and lots of bugs. Especially if you're playing goalie when you're not moving around much, bug spray is a must. Trying to play without bug spray can be kind of miserable.
I always try to have a hoodie in my soccer bag. It might look nice and sunny when I’m packing my bag after work, but the weather can always change in a couple hours. Since we play relatively late, early in the season the sun will be going down by the time our game is over, so it’s always nice to have an extra layer to put on to go home in.
Having a rain proof layer is always a good idea. Starting a game when you’re soaking wet isn’t much fun. Even on the sunniest of days it’ll rain if the clouds come in, so I like to be prepared. It's especially handy for those evening summer thunderstorms.
Sunscreen is another essential, especially since I have such fair skin and I burn easily. I especially like this particular kind since it's oil free. I went through a couple bottles of it last summer, between soccer and working outside.
Just like with any other workout, it’s important to stay hydrated. This water bottle will last me a game, even on the hottest nights.
I like to bring my own soccer ball to warm up with before the game starts. We always have a couple game balls in the team bag, but when the whole team is warming up, it’s always nice to have a couple extra soccer balls to go around.
Before every game, even if it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain, I put my phone in a bag. It’s kept rain proof that way, plus I can still use it if I have to.
Before I played my first game I was told to always have a garbage bag in my soccer bag. When it rains I simply put my entire soccer bag inside, and my bag and everything inside it are kept nice and dry. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to use it, and I’ve been very thankful I had it every time.
I love my soccer bag. It’s cute without being too girly, plus it’s big enough to fit everything that I need in it. There's two smaller pockets on each end along with a smaller pocket inside the large compartment where I store my phone and keys.
So there you have it, those are my soccer bag essentials. Like usual I'm over prepared, but I'm ready just in case.
Do you have anything that you take to games or practices that I didn’t list?