Choosing a soccer goal
There are lots of reasons you might buy soccer goals. Coaches may need new goals for their team’s park. Serious players might want a decent set of goals for practice in the backyard. Parents with young kids might want a set that’s easy to construct, put away or even take in the car for vacations and trips to the park.
With so many reasons to buy soccer goals, it’s not surprising that many options and price points are available.
Types of soccer goals
If you want soccer goals for official matches and serious training, it’s important to understand which goals are suitable. FIFA is the sport’s international governing body. Their soccer goal specifications are as follows:
- Dimensions: 24 feet by 8 feet
- Minimum goal post width: 5 inches
- Acceptable goal post materials: Metal, wood or other approved material
- Goalpost color: White
However, it’s important to note that different governing bodies have different regulations, especially when it comes to youth soccer. For example, U.S. Youth Soccer adjusts the recommended goal size by age group. While the Under 13 age group plays with a regulation 24-foot-by-8-foot goal, the size reduces to 18.5 feet by 6.5 feet for Under 10s and 6 feet by 4 feet for Under 8s.
You might want a regulation-size soccer goal for recreational use but without the strict stipulations of material types. In that case, a backyard soccer goal is all you need.
Recreational soccer goals can range from expensive metal frames to inexpensive foldaway goals. The type of material and size of the goal varies massively.
If you want something for the kids to use in the backyard, a small inflatable soccer goal might do the trick. But if you want something with a bit more durability for more seasoned players, you’ll need a sturdy frame and netting material that will last.
Soccer goals are also available in portable form. Most portable soccer goals come with collapsible frames to be easily folded and stored in the car. While they tend to be somewhat flimsy, they’re a great addition to a fun day out in the park and provide kids and adults alike with hours of entertainment.
Features of soccer goals
Regulation goals (and many recreational goals) are rectangular. Both the goalposts and top bar are straight, while the net is strung onto the rear goalposts to give a full rectangular shape. With recreational soccer goals, the net is often attached to the top bar and pinned to a rear base bar, making a triangular shape between the top bar and the ground.
Lighter recreational goals and many portable soccer goals come in a D-shape. The base bar is horizontal while the top bar curves around. The benefit of this shape is that it makes it easier to achieve a pop-up goal that collapses easily for transportation.
While FIFA does allow for some special, reinforced materials, regulation frames must generally be wood or metal. However, recreational frames can be made from hard plastic or PVC. Out of the two, PVC is sturdier, so it’s ideal for more serious players who want a set of long-lasting goals for the backyard to practice with. Lighter, plastic frames are less expensive but are more prone to wear and tear.
Regulation goals mostly use a thicker nylon rope, making the mesh weather-resistant and sturdy. When purchasing recreational nets, you can find inexpensive options with plastic mesh or nylon rope similar to regulation nets.
The main thing to consider is durability and safety. Rope that is thin and too closely weaved can cause fingers to become trapped and injured. It’s also prone to tearing and other damage from heavy, fast-moving soccer balls. Thicker nylon is safer and lasts much longer.
What to consider before buying soccer goals
Height and width of the frame
Regulation goals must adhere to the 8-foot height guideline. For younger soccer players who want a backyard goal, there are many different heights available depending on the player’s age.
Similarly, soccer goals are available at regulation width or as small as 36 inches. However, widths as short as this are typically only found in inexpensive recreational or portable goals.
Depth of net
D-shaped soccer goals or rectangular goals where the net falls in a triangular shape to the ground means the goalkeeper cannot stand inside the net to defend it. Rectangular goals, on the other hand, enable the goalkeeper to practice their skills in a regulation-shaped net.
Similarly, D-shaped goals do not allow for goals in the corner of the net, which is common in gameplay.
Whether it’s just for fun or to practice their skills, very young children benefit from a smaller net that is proportionate to their height. Regulation-sized goals are typically too big for a young player to defend.
Best soccer goals
These regulation FIFA-approved goals are ideal for official competition or for serious players who want to be able to practice with the real deal. Available in sizes from 6 feet by 12 feet right up to 24 feet by 8 feet, they’re durable and portable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
SKLZ Quickster Portable Soccer Goal
If you want a more affordable option without compromising on quality, these portable goals are lightweight and easy to assemble. However, the double-ply netting and sturdy posts make these a long-lasting option for the backyard.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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