Soccer ball (check), shin guards (check), water bottles (check), toys for the two-year-old (check)… Let’s be honest; it’s tough to get out the door some days, let alone arrive with everything you need for soccer practices, games, and tournaments. No judgment if you are the parent sprinting across the field with your 7-year-old, ten minutes late, only to realize that you forgot to put on her soccer shoes, but there might be a better way. The items listed below can help with organization AND elevate your sideline experience, so buckle up!
#1 – The Collapsible Wagon (price range $65-$120): This is the cornerstone of the Soccer Parent arsenal. You can load this up the night before an early practice or game, or you can scramble last minute and throw everything into it as you rush out the door in a panic. Most soccer parents have experienced being at the complex or park all day, playing on different fields, and traversing long distances in questionable weather. The wagon takes the burden off carrying all your gear. It’s great for storing water bottles, snacks, meals, camping chairs, blankets, soccer balls, etc., and the kids can ride in it too. That comes in handy if you have a little one that can’t keep up while you rush to make the second game on Field 87 behind the construction and 3 miles from the bathrooms.
#2 – The Waterproof Camping Blanket (price range $20-$70): I know you have been to the 8:15 am game where your shoes and socks get wet as you trample over the dewy morning grass. And you’ve probably wondered what your two-year-old could do to stay busy without getting his or her clothes all wet playing on the ground – enter the WaterProof Camping Blanket. Lay this out over the morning dew, throw a coloring book or two on it, and watch as kids from all over gravitate to sit and play on it. The best thing with these is that you can fold them up (most have velcro) and throw them into the wagon for the next outing. Note: this can also come in handy if mom or dad stayed up too late the night before and want to take a brief siesta between games.
#3 – The Camping Chair (price range $35-$100): Probably the no-brainer of the list, but you know you have seen that parent (or maybe you’ve been that parent) that is lugging around the torn, raggedy, camping chair that has seen one too many late-nights. The one with two poles sticking out in the wrong direction and frays coming out of its frays. Merely a reminder here to invest in a quality chair. When you’re out at the park all day (especially with younger kids), you don’t usually have the luxury of bleachers or any seating for that matter. An excellent camping chair will serve you well, and like the blanket, can fold up and be stored in the wagon as you go from game to game.
So, there you have it—the 3 Must-Have items for every soccer parent. Remember to thank me next Saturday morning when you calmly, cooly, and collectedly stroll by all of the ill-prepared parents, pulling your new Collapsible Wagon with your Camping Chair(s) and Waterproof Blanket. If you’re like me, you might also have a five and a two-year-old crammed in there screaming at each other as you prepare to enjoy another well-prepared, glorious day of Soccer.