Thought I would have a change of pace today and leave the pro game alone for a while.
I have coached youth teams here in the U.S. for 19 years now and I one thing that has been consistent with just about all players on all of the teams I have coached, is the lack of care taken into looking after their cleats. (For the British readers, the American's call their football boots, cleats. So I will use the word "cleats" when describing football boots.)
It amazes me that parents spend upward of $200 and the kids don't take care of the cleats. After a game in the rain and mud, the cleats are just thrown in the soccer bag and the bag into the corner of the bedroom or in the garage until the next game. Then the cleats are put back on a week later for the next game - sometimes without even untying the laces.
Maybe it shouldn't surprise me. I guess kids feet grow quickly and they would need a larger size and therefore, new cleats for next season anyway. But regardless, it is a total shift to the care and attention we gave our cleats when we were kids.
The thing that I remember the most about taking care of cleats is the "newspaper" method of drying them.
As it seemed to rain for most of the games I played as a kid in England, our cleats were constantly wet. Apparently, if the cleats were artificially dried by a heater or hairdryer, etc., it would ruin the leather and even destroy the stitching. So to get the cleats dry, it meant stuffing them with newspaper to let the moisture soak from the leather to the newspaper and repeating every few hours until the shoes were practically dry.
I have mentioned this method to numerous players and parents over the years but not one single one of them had ever heard of it before.
Having hung up my cleats years ago - actually many years ago, I have no idea if this method is still in use with today's cleats or not. But it certainly worked when we were kids.