How should I care for my club's/school's soccer goals?
This is a question we get on a regular basis. Quality soccer goals are not inexpensive. It's no wonder people why so many people want to know how to get the most out of them. Here we take a dive into the key things you should do to keep your soccer goals in great shape. Here is your guide to caring for your soccer goals.
It all starts here, folks. You might argue initial assembly has the largest bearing on the longevity of your soccer goal. Goals assembled without regard to manufacturer's specifications not only risk breaking or wearing out earlier, they could be a safety risk to players. Always follow manufacturer's assembly instructions to the detail. Always tighten nuts and bolts to specified settings. Over-tightening can lead to stripping of the hardware whereas under-tightening can lead to loosely fitting hardware. This is especially bad because loosely fitting hardware will jostle around when the goal is moved or struck with a soccer ball, and will drastically speed up the wear of your goal and can lead to a break or injury to a player. As a solution to these issues we recommend using a torque wrench when tightening hardware to your goal. It might cost you a few extra bucks to buy one, but it could save you a bundle in the future. Using the torque wrench takes the guesswork out of assembly. It ensures you don't overt-tighten or under-tighten any of your hardware thus preventing stripped holes or loosely fitting hardware. If you are ever unsure how to assemble a goal you should consider consulting a professional, or contacting the manufacturer for guidance.
Most competition level goals are made primarily of aluminum. However, even all-aluminum goals come with steel hardware used to assemble. Another way to help ensure soccer goal longevity is to apply a rust-inhibiting clear coat such as Rust-Oleum on your hardware. This not only coats steel hardware to help prevent rust but also creates a seal to help prevent water and air leaking into the hardware threading. Like the torque wrench, a little money here can save you a grip later.
Off Season Storage
The truth is soccer goals may still last you 8-10 years even when stored outside. If you have access to an indoor storage space for your soccer goals you should count yourself lucky. The vast majority of goals spend the off-season on the field. By far the best way to keep your goals in the off season is to store them inside (temperature controlled is a big bonus). However, even with a storage facility it can be challenging to find the time or people to help move your goals inside.
One way to mitigate some of the off-season elements is to break down your goals and lean them up against a wall that will shield them from the sun and some wind. You could even drape a tarp over your goals to add protection from UV rays and the elements. Also, by removing your hardware and keeping it inside you will prevent some unnecessary rust and corrosion that would happen if left in the goal.
Remove The Nets
Soccer goal nets are made to stand up to a significant amount of stress, but will eventually wear out. The average life of a soccer net is around 2 years. Balls striking it, kids climbing it, exposure to sun, rain, snow, temperature fluctuations and wind all contribute to your net wearing out. It is true that no net will last forever, but you can more than double the life of your nets by removing them during long periods of non-use. For example, how often do you see soccer goal nets left on goals through the winter? Have you gone out to use your goals in the Spring after a long snowy Winter to find that the net has become brittle? This is from extended exposure to UV rays major temperature fluctuations, and other elements. Unless you plan to regularly use your goals during that time you're better off taking the nets off and storing them in a temperature controlled space.
Annual Check Up and Maintenance
It's always a good rule of thumb to check all your goals on an annual basis to make sure they are up to snuff. Check nets for holes, make sure there are enough net fasteners, be sure anchors are present for all goals that will be used for competition, tighten any ill fitting hardware, and check to make sure there are no structural problems or major rust/corrosion issues with the goal frame that would make the goal unsafe. Take time to refinish any areas that are showing rust by sanding down the affected area and coating with touch-up paint. Don't miss this annual opportunity to make necessary repairs and replace any worn nets to keep all your goals safe and in top working condition. You won't regret it.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is to treat your goals like you spent a lot of money on them (which you probably did!). Take reasonable measures that are within your means to care for your goals and they will pay you back with added years of use.
Looking for New Goals, Nets, or Goal Accessories?
Soccer Source carries a wide range of quality soccer goals to fit any budget. Check out our selection of goals, nets, and goal accessories. Contact us for special pricing for clubs, schools, and leagues!
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