tips for grassroots football mums

Tips for grassroots football mums

I didn’t think I’d be a football mum, but thankfully I was eased into it from being a tennis mum (and team captain) before. Whether you’re a mum or a dad (or grandparent or anyone else) supporting a child on the side of a football pitch, here are the tips for grassroots football mums (and we’re talking football or soccer mums, not American football, if you’re over that side of the Atlantic).

For me it helped that I knew several of the other parents in the team, so I gleaned tips from them which were football rather than tennis or other sports based. Most of them had been involved with grassroots football teams for many more years than me. 

But there’s learnings you can take from or provide to other sports, so here’s my tips for making being a football mum easier.

(it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get your child to actually clean their football boots though).

tips for grassroots football mums

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Tips for football mums in the grassroots game

1. Always take snacks, and make sure they’ve plenty of water with them.  Not all football grounds have refreshments available. 

2. Likewise, check what the ground facilities are like beforehand online. Some are just random playing fields with no toilets. If that’s the case and you’re travelling an hour either way, then make sure you know where the nearest toilets are on the way (or make sure your children know they might be lining up against a hedge to pee – v difficult for girls vs boys!).

3. Reduce the smell of football boots by trying a variety of methods. 

Putting tea bags in them overnight will help absorb and freshen them. 

Tumble dryer sheets do a similar job of refreshing them.

You can also try silica gel packets – the little packs you get in shoe boxes or handbags when they’re bought new. Always save them, there’s plenty of uses for them.

When I danced I used to use bicarb for my shoes.  You can tip in directly to the football boot and leave overnight, but it’s hard to remove the graininess totally afterwards. Try putting it in cut off old tights or fine muslins like an odour ball.

If you don’t mind paying money, then you can try Shoe Rescue Sport or the standard version.

Boot banana deodorisers – these will absorb odours and should last 6 to 12 months (perfect for the length of wear most children get out of football boots before they grow out of them).

For drying out sweaty boots try Drysure boot inserts – these should also help with odours by keeping them dryed out. 

4. Boot cleaning and prep. Try and get children to take ownership for cleaning their boots. I have to admit this hasn’t gone so well for us. It takes a lot of moaning and nagging for him to get round to cleaning his.

5. Boot buddies – we’ve used these since they were first brought out, but now you can buy them (and other variations) everywhere. A mud scraper and washer in one makes it easy for children to clean their own boots. Just have plenty of newspaper on hand to put inside to dry them out.

6. Clean muddy boots before putting them in the car.  Some we know have a portable spray washer they take, the boots are washed in the car park, then can be dried using boot dryers. By the time they’ve driven an hour home from away matches and the boots are ready for the next match or practice. 

7. Keep boot laces laced up during the match. With new football boots, laces can more easily come undone.  Stop that by roughing up the laces with sandpaper.  You can also tie them and spray with hairspray to keep them knotted (we used to hairspray our ballet shoe ribbons and it definitely works although can be hard to get unknotted afterwards.)

football on grass pitch by white lines
Credit: Julien Rocheblave on Unsplash

Other tips for football kids and parents

8. Wash smelly shin guards regularly with mild soap and water to remove dirt and sweat. A soft brush can be used to gently scrub away any stubborn stains.

9. Be prepared with bin bags or towels for muddy kids to sit on and keep your car clean during the wet and muddy winter months.

10. Dryrobes. Others may laugh at them, but they keep players warm on the sidelines when it’s cold and wet. And many parents wear them or similar on the sidelines.

11. Keep white kit white by drying in sunshine (if possible). UV rays help kill bacteria and eliminate odours as well, so it’s good for drying kit and equipment.

12. Get involved with the team (and club) if possible. I’ve not done this for football but have done it at the tennis club for the team. Although I do try and help out with cake baking and helping at the annual tournament.  There’s always lots of positions that need filling at junior clubs to keep them going. And most grassroots are run by volunteers, usually parents.  It’s good to get to know people as well.

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful for football mums when the football season comes around again. Grassroots football is great to get involved with and support, but these hacks may make it more palatable for when you’re stood in the cold and wet watching from the sidelines.

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  1. Thanks for sharing these tips for grassroots football. Grassroots football plays an important role in children’s development, and it’s fantastic to see parents actively involved in supporting their children’s sporting endeavors. The tips provided offer valuable insights into navigating the world of grassroots football, from managing schedules to supporting young players emotionally. It’s inspiring to see parents dedicated to creating positive experiences for their children in sports and fostering a love for the game.