The snow flurries are flying, and it's going to be another eight months or so before the whole clan starts trotting out to the township park for youth soccer again, but my friends over at SoccerPro.com have already helped to give me a head start on my coaching preparations for 2011.
All In One Place
Nike Team Nutmeg Backpack more adequately meets the needs of the youth soccer coach (or parent) with a special mesh ball pouch, long side pouches for water and/or a ball pump, and an inner pocket for stashing those cell phones, keys, and wallets that aren't soccer-short compatible.
Both the bag itself and the straps feel solid (if a bit plasticky), though I'll be interested to see how the stitching attaching said straps to the bag holds up to a couple seasons' worth of abuse. I've yet to stock the bag more full than a test load consisting of a pump, a water bottle, a notebook, and a ball, but it does seem to have some decent padding between back and pack that should add to the comfort of wearing it, even with a poorly distributed load.
So, new bag = no more juggling the gear between car and field, but what about when we actually hit that field?
Looking (And Sounding) Smart
Last year, I had to resort to leaving my wallet and phone in the car and chancing the flinging of my keys next to the goal in hopes that no little scoundrels decided to make off with them or that I forgot them when called off to be a fill-in ref on another field. In the end, I usually compromised by wearing shorts with pockets, but that still left me jangling. With the addition of the bag to my arsenal, I can go back to more appropriate attire.
Nike Classic Men's Short, which, in addition to using the Dri-Fit, moisture-wicking fabric I've written highly of before, also has the added bonus of semi-replicating the classic DC United shorts with horizontal stripes on the bottom. Shorts are shorts, and the weather means I haven't had a chance to try them in any real action yet, but they fit comfortably, and my previous experience with Dri-Fit gear has been nothing but positive.
I mentioned before that I started getting drafted in to ref a bit last year as well as doing my assistant coaching gig. On more than one occasion while trying to rein in a pack of 6 and 7 year old girls, I wished I had my own whistle, and I particularly wished I had one when borrowing a whistle to ref while a nasty cold epidemic was scything through kid and adult ranks alike. Sadly, I never got around to buying one. But SoccerPro delivered the KwikGoal Whistle Lanyard Package, so my oft-aching throat and oft-besieged respiratory system deliver their thanks in return. The whistle doesn't seem particularly distinguished in any sense (it's a typical plastic job), but it's certainly loud and shrill enough, as my daughter was only too happy to demonstrate, to her delight, and her parents' forbearance, while charging around the living room.
Such are, I suppose, the trials of the youth soccer dad.
Product(s) for this review were provided to FBF by SoccerPro.com.