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Soccer Safety: Watch Out For Those Laces!

Believe it or not, a soccer player's shoelaces can pose a risk of injury. Patrick Kelleher, President of the Adirondack Youth Soccer Association in upstate New York, once saw a soccer shoe come off a player's foot during a scramble for the ball. Because the laces were tied around the player's ankle, when he stepped on the shoe he suffered a career ending severed Achilles tendon. "Tying laces around ankles is a very dangerous practice," Kelleher says. Long laces should instead be wrapped under the center of the shoe between the toe and heel section of rubber cleats.

It has become trendy for Americans to refer to soccer shoes as "boots," the term used to describe them in Great Britain (calling soccer fields "pitches" and a scoreless tie a "nil-nil draw" also seem to be catching on this side of the pond). If the boots have cleats, they must be made of rubber, not metal (no football or baseball spikes, please!).

In fact, up to the age of 8 or 9, a child doesn't even need soccer shoes and will do perfectly fine in any type of athletic shoe, as long as it fits and provides good support (note: shoes which have been handed down too many times may become unstable and no longer capable of providing the support a young player needs).