There are few pieces of equipment as vital to the game of soccer as the goal. After all, you can’t score without this target on the field. Soccer goals come in a variety of sizes and shapes fit for every athlete. Whether you’re a youngster kicking the ball around in the backyard or an elite-level player training for your next championship, there is a goal to fit your playing needs.
There are a couple of qualities and characteristics, however, to consider when purchasing a soccer goal. The structure’s material, size, depth and type of netting can all affect the performance and longevity of the goal. Here is a rundown of what to look for and consider when making your purchase.
Most soccer goals are made of either a lightweight plastic or metal material.
The most affordable goals will be made of a plastic material, so if you are trying to stay within a budget, these are a great option. Because of plastic’s lightweight properties, many portable and collapsible models are made of this material. Plastic soccer goals can be a great choice for recreational play, children’s games and for training-specific goals.
Because of the added weight and advantages of increased stability, higher-grade soccer goals are constructed of metal materials, most commonly aluminum. Many permanent soccer goals are made with metal because of their durability, but some portable options are available as well. Metal soccer goals are a great option for competitive play, but these models tend to be more expensive than their plastic counterparts.
Regardless of frame material, soccer goals can come in a variety of sizes, and for good reason. Anyone from youth to enthusiast can play with any sized goal. Smaller structures can be great for youngsters just getting into the sport, or for training exercises dealing with scoring accuracy and multiple kicking drills. Larger goals can give you that in-game feel during practices, or serve as the main structure during competition.
If you plan on using your soccer goal in competitive or league play, consider the field size as well as player age. Typically, the guidelines are as follows:
If you are unsure which size soccer goal best corresponds with your competitive needs, be sure to ask a coach or league official.
Your soccer goal’s depth can greatly affect the performance of the structure. The three main styles are: no depth, depth and box frame.
No depth soccer goals are very simple in design, making this option very popular among portable and pop-up goals. The netting is attached to the front crossbar and falls at a 45-degree angle to the rear ground bar. Because of this sharp angle and direct descent of the net, there is little room for maneuvering within the goal, making it more difficult to defend in.
Soccer goals classified under this option have a more complex design with two bars jutting back from the front crossbar and two descending sidebars angled at 45 degrees toward the ground. These goals are easily identifiable thanks to their trapezoidal side image, as opposed to the triangular shape created by no depth goals. Depth soccer goals allow for more room inside the net. Because of the added bars, however, there are fewer portable options with this style.
Soccer goals with this frame are large, rectangular structures, allowing for the most possible space inside the net. Most box-framed goals are made of a higher-grade metal and be used by professional or high-level soccer clubs. The heavier material also means that many box-framed goals will be permanent by design.
The last characteristic to consider when buying a soccer goal is the netting. Your goal’s netting is vital to its performance because without it, the goal is nothing more than framing. There are three main materials from which most nets are constructed: high tenacity polypropylene (HTPP), polyethylene (PE) and nylon. PE and nylon are the most common options available and come in multiple sizes and knot styles.
You should also pay attention to the type of net-making style used for your soccer goal, as this can affect its strength. There are three styles often implemented in net-making, with differing levels of durability.
- Twisted: The most common type of net used. Offers exceptional strength, durability and flexibility.
- Braided: The strongest netting available. Often used in college or professional settings.
- Knotless: A solid, thick one-piece design that provides ample strength.
If you ever have to purchase a replacement net, look to your goal’s sizing and match that to your net dimensions. There are also a variety of attachment apparatuses available, such as bungie cords, clamps and sleeves, which can be used to attach the netting to the goal’s frame. Be sure to find attachment accessories compatible with your goal frame and net.
Purchasing a quality soccer goal can provide a huge upgrade to your playing conditions this season. Whether it be a pop-up net for practices and drills in your backyard or a regulation box frame that sits on your team’s game field, a great season starts with a great goal.