Tag Archives: Review

Size 4 Soccer Balls: The Winner Is…

11 May

Several weeks ago, I asked my readers for recommendations on Size 4 Soccer balls.  One of the points made by a reader was keeping cost down – because kids do lose balls!  There’s been an epidemic of balls picked up by other players at our club.

I settled on the Select “Club” ball for my two sons and ordered a pair of them.  They arrived earlier this week and the kids have both been using them since.

Several positives for this ball:

  • Fairly unique on our fields.  I haven’t seen any balls in this color combination at our training or practice sessions.  This makes a difference when it’s time to find your ball at the end of practice.
  • Really solid touch when it’s fully inflated.  It doesn’t have much padding under the cover, which I prefer in a ball.
  • Has a good weight to it.  It doesn’t bounce like a rubber playground ball.
  • $15.99 price point for this colorway.  That was cheaper than a lot of the balls I also considered.

We will see over time how well the ball holds up and keeps inflation.

Coincidentally, I found a Size 5 version of the ball locally in the all White colorway at a going-out-of-business sale at a local store and picked it up for myself!  It has the same attributes as the Size 4 balls.  We used it for part of my match on Sunday and it was positively received by the players.  It allowed for properly weighted passes, but wasn’t overtly lively on first touch.

Select seems to produce good balls at a good price point.  They are harder to find locally – they are not commonly carried by the Big Box stores – but specialty stores may carry them as well as Soccer.com.

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First Impressions: Adidas adiPure 11Pro

19 Mar

My first pair of new boots in fifteen months is the Adidas adiPure 11Pro (firm ground).

While the adiPure line is a veteran line up for Adias, the 11Pro is the newest update to the line and is a transition as far as the visual of the boot. While it maintains a “Traditional” or “Heritage” look like Nike’s Tiempo and past offerings in the adiPure line, it also takes on some of the technology of other recent releases.


Most notably to many boot-freaks and runners – an improvement in weight of the shoe by 1.6 ounces versus prior releases. The adiPure 11Pro weighs in at 8.2 ounces. My last pair of shoes, Nike’s Total 90 III (Leather) weighed in at 10.2 ounces. This is starting to approach the weight of my running shoes like the Brooks Pure Connect and the Brooks Green Silence (7.2 ounces for both shoes). Considering I found the transition to an 8 ounce running shoe (Nike’s Free Run+) to be revolutionary for me (in part due to weight) this shoe should be a big difference on the pitch.

The upper is still a full grain leather – in this case, Adidas has selected Taurus leather instead of the adiPure’s traditional Kangaroo leather. There’s been discussion among reviewers that this is a de-contenting of the shoe – but I’ve never worn Kangaroo so I don’t anticipate missing anything.

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One Year Review: Nike T90 Laser III

2 Feb

My Nike T90 Laser III cleats hold a distinction for me: they were the first pair of cleats that I purposefully picked out as an adult.

I had bought a pair of Adidas cleats one year earlier, but had done so largely on the basis of price.  At that time, I was starting in soccer and wanted a pair of cleats but didn’t want to spend a lot of money in case I didn’t stick in the sport.

So when I was ready to replace the Adidas shoes, I did some searching and settled on the Nike T90 Strike III in leather.

Performance Features

When Nike rolled out the T90 Laser III, one of the distinguishing characteristics of it was the shot pods and swerve fins on the instep of the shoe, along with the asymmetric lacing pattern.  I figured at the time, that any technology or placement that would allow a larger ball striking surface would be to my advantage as a still-novice player.

Fit

Most of my prior shoes to this point, with the exception of my then still-recent Nike Free Run+ were size 11.  I stayed with Size 11 in this purchase and was satisfied with the fit.  No pinch points on my normal width points.

Touch

My prior Adidas cleats were TPU uppers, so I felt like the touch in the leather T90’s was improved versus my prior shoe.  The contact surfaces seem to work well – providing some settling of the ball’s rotation when receiving a pass for example.

Style

I really liked the colorway I purchased – Black and Yellow with Silver accent.  It’s distinctive without being over the top.  I added Nike’s RED laces
to the package.

Durability

The shoes have last well through weekly play over the last year, along with some training and working in the yard.  The leather where the other meets the sole plate is losing its smooth texture now.

The cleats still have plenty of life left on them.

Traction

My boots are Firm Ground version – with the molded blastic “Blade” style cleats.  The layout of the blades is very similar to most other boots.  I haven’t had any traction problems with the shoes.

What’s Next

I’m going to keep playing in this boot for now – although the new Adidas Adipure 11Pro  holds a lot of appeal for me.  I think in the future I’m moving towards a lighter weight, more “touch” or “Control” oriented shoe.

Product Review: PUGG 6 Foot Portable Training Goals

11 Jan

One of the realities of coaching recreation soccer at our club is that you will never get equipment.  No cones, no pinnies, no balls, and no goals.  The goals used for matches are at a different field than where practice is, and beyond that – there’s about 1/4 the number of goals as would be needed for each team to have a pair to use at practice.

In practicality, having full size “game goals” wouldn’t benefit the type of practice I want to have anyway – since it would turn into kids wanting to be goalkeeper and at this point I consider goalkeeping to be among the lesser needed set of skills I could develop in the players.

Last Christmas, Evan received one pop up goal that was similar to the PUGG – but it offered limited folding ability and eventually the joint between the two hoops broke and could not be replaced.  So when this Christmas came around, the top of my list was a set of PUGG 6 Foot Portable goals.  They had become even more needed in the month before Christmas as I started the pick-up soccer program and wanted to move beyond the arguments when the ball skipped over a cone or an airborne shot may or may not have been between the cones.

The PUGG goals are well constructed.  Each goal is comprised of a tent-pole like fiberglass rod with a high-quality net attached.  The goals are designed to fold-down flat to a size that can be easily slid into the trunk of my Honda Accord.  The folding process is straightforward (with instructions printed on each goal) and requires two hands and is usually accomplished on the first try.

Each goal has three anchors – one on each post and a third at the rear of the goal.  Unfortunately, when the ground is either rock hard or an artificial turf surface the goal can’t be anchored using these and must be weighed down.  A hard shot is enough to send the goal flying off base.

The kids though have loved getting to play with these instead of cones for goals.

But – I don’t think there’s a superior product on the market for the nomadic youth soccer coach.  As an aside – I’ve also brought these to my adult pick up games and found them equally useful.

Adidas Predator Youth Soccer Cleats 12 Month Review

5 Jan

Twelve months ago Aidan and I went shopping for new soccer cleats to mark his restart into the game. We’re now ready to retire them as we head towards Spring.

His selection was the Adidas Predator Firm Ground Cleat in the Electricity colorway. The shoes had been on my radar already. They were one of several shoes that had at least some natural leather on the upper (along with Nike’s new-not-yet-in-stock CTR360 II) in his size range. They were also in the magic $40 range that seemed reasonable to spend.

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After buying the shoe, we discovered that Arsenal striker Robin van Persie wore the same color and model of shoe! It helped inspire Aidan more.

Since walking out of the store. The shoes saw a Spring and Fall season of action (about 18 weeks of matches and 22 weeks of practice) with a lot of practice time in the front yard and pickup games added in.

How have the shoes held up?

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