With the arrival of spring comes another new soccer season, and the annual trip to your local retailers for the new gear. Always an exciting time but also a time when keepers and their parents often make uninformed decisions while purchasing their particular soccer product. In reality it isn’t the purchaser’s fault that many buy a product that doesn’t quite suit the player’s needs.

Hopefully we can shed some light on how to properly purchase keeper gloves that fit the needs of the player. Much like the carpenter who purchases a hammer is correct and comfortable for the craftsman. We live in an age of consumerism and mass advertising, plus the ability to see any professional league or Champions League competition every week. Young keepers see their role models competing while wearing the latest gear and therein lays the problem with properly choosing the right gear. Many purchasers and players fail to realize that the gloves they see the pros in Europe or the MLS are not the same exact ones they find in their local retailers. A glove worn by a DeGea or Reina or Tim Howard is custom made for that exact player, the individual player will travel to a research and development lab and spend hours with the engineers in developing a glove that fits each player to their exact specifications. What you get at your local retailers are replicas of the scientifically designed glove with an inflated price attached. Does a U10 or a U12 keeper need a $150+ pair of gloves? If you said no then you are correct. It is completely unnecessary. At that price the parent will only buy one pair of gloves for the season. After a few weeks of training and match play the gloves incur quite a beating, add in a few tournaments as well and that particular glove will be shredded before the end of the season. Leaving the keeper with gloves not up to handling the demands for the rest of the season and since the cost was so high either the parent will not invest in another exact pair or buy a very inexpensive pair just to get over the hump till next year.

When choosing gloves, buy gloves that suit the player’s needs, I do not recommend any keeper below the age of 17 purchasing the top of line gloves. High price doesn’t equate into properly suiting the player’s needs. The keeper doesn’t pick the glove, the glove picks the keeper, if it feels right on the hand then it’s the right glove for you. They only way to find a pair of gloves that suits your needs is to go to your local retailer and try on different manufactures and cuts of glove. Personal preferences can be used to narrow down your choices as well.

Does the keeper like roll cut, gun cut or negative cuts, do they like a wrap-around strap or regular strap for wrist? In addition it is more cost effective to purchase a match and training glove. This allows the keeper to avoid over use of the pair and having a pair of gloves that are not up to the demands of competition, thus failing the keeper ultimately. In addition when trying on gloves close the hands and see how much slack is on the palm of glove. If one can see a hump or a “bubbling up” then the glove is too large for the palm of hand. There should be some space between tip of fingers and glove. Too much of a gap means the glove is again too big, not enough it is then too small for hand. Always try and find as perfect a fit to your hand as possible. When that is accomplished you will know and understand what you require as a player and not what is advertised or seen on the television. By using these tips, it will save parents from overpaying for a product that isn’t necessary and will also help keepers find a product that suits their needs. An educated consumer is always the best customer.

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