Out in the wild, you can find many backyard goals, from both big and no-name brands. And if you continue reading, you will be armed with some very important knowledge for choosing the best backyard soccer goal for yourself.
The first on my list of soccer goals for backyards is probably the most serious one. FORZA Alu60 is a soccer goal made out of 60 millimetres (2.36 inches) aluminium pipes, with almost 1/10th of an inch thick walls. It is very sturdy. And they come in 10 different sizes. From 6×4 feet, which is appropriate for smaller backyards or kids under 8 years of age, up to senior competition regulation size of 8 yards by 8 feet. If you have a place of 50 by 30 yards on your plot to dedicate for playing soccer, the 16 by 17 feet Alu60 is a good choice. All of the Alu60 feature high-quality nets, made of 3 millimetres HDPE twine, making them very resilient to all weather conditions.
But this has two flaws. First, it’s not very portable, especially the bigger versions. Side brackets fold making it flat, but you will still need quite a big space to store it. Also, it is a big chunk of aluminium piping, even the smallest 6 by 4 feet version weighs more than 50 pounds.
- High quality, durable construction
- Wide range of sizes
- Not very portable
QuickPlay PRO Match-Fold
QuickPlay PRO Match-Fold is probably the best soccer goal for backyard. It is a product of a British company, and the UK is the birthplace of soccer, and Brits should know how to make proper soccer equipment. Same as the FORZA Alu60, it comes in several sizes. The range goes from 6×4 feet, and up to 18.5×6.5 feet. Match-fold is made of the uPVC piping, with a diameter of 3 inches. And this brings some advantages and also drawbacks compared to the competition. The advantage is the considerably lower weight. Additionally, posts, crossbar, and side brackets can be disassembled into pieces that fit a carrying bag. So you can store it almost anywhere.
The drawback of uPVC, in my and some other users’ experience, is that the larger sizes are not appropriate for hotter climates. Two largest models, 16×7 and 18.5×6.5 feet, in as little as a couple of months, will start to show sagging of the crossbar. But that doesn’t mean that they are bad products, just that material used is not suitable for hot weather.
- Very durable
- Lightweight and can be packed in a bag
- Bigger versions not very durable in hot weather
Franklin Sports Competition
This is the third and last rigid frame product on the list of backyard soccer goals. While the previous two models were for the backyard and amateur use, the Competition Soccer Goal is only for home use. It is made of 1.25-inch steel pipes. And it is very sturdy. It comes in two sizes, 6×4 and 12×6 feet. This backyard soccer net is made of pipes that connect together into full-frame. Thus they are very easy to carry or store. You can even take them to a park with your friends or kids.
While they are among the best backyard soccer nets, there are two things that could be better. Steel pipes are protected on the outside with high-quality waterproof paint. But connections are not watertight, and insides are not waterproof. Standing in the rain, they will fill with water and start corroding from inside. And that sludge will leak outside staining whatever it touches. Also, netting is connected to frame with velcro straps that are not very long-lasting in the weather. So you should plan for eventual replacement.
- Very durable
- Lightweight and can be packed
- Can rust from the inside
- Netting velcro straps are not durable
QuickPlay Kickster Academy
This is another QuickPlay product on my list of best backyard soccer goals. While Match-fold is rigid, Kickster Academy is not. But that doesn’t mean that it is a bad product. Just that it is not for competition games. It is available in six sizes, from 6×4 to 16×7 feet. And they all come with a bag. Most of the parts are pre-attached. It is quite easy to set up or take down. The posts and crossbar are made of a thick nylon material. That cloth and back post they connect to, very easily flex when hit by the ball. And even easier, returns back into shape, which makes them very resilient and durable.
If it weren’t for one potential problem, this would be the best soccer goal for backyard. The base is made of aluminium pipes that are locked by pins. By reports of some buyers, sometimes it can happen that you receive your soccer goal with one or more pieces missing these pins. But, the 2-years warranty does cover such defects.
- Very resilient and durable
- Very portable and easy to put up or to take down
- 2-years warranty
- Small pins of the base frame can detach
Bownet Mini Portable
The first time I set this diminutive soccer goal, I was very worried about its look. A few years ago I borrowed two of these small soccer goals for backyard, to try them out and maybe buy. Seeing those four rods bending outward did make me worry. And I tried to use the netting, whether it is straight or sagging, to gauge and wiggle those rods into a somewhat straight position thinking I’ve set it wrongly. And then I noticed that it is straight on the sides where it should be straight, with barely noticeable sag on top. Now, this is my favorite among the many soccer nets for home I’ve personally used.
It is very small, measuring just 3×5 feet. Thus it is very good for younger kids or people who like the challenge of playing soccer with small goals. The only issue I have with it, together with some other users, is the longevity of the net. If you are leaving it outside exposed to elements, netting will fray and rip after a year or so. And unfortunately, you can’t buy a replacement net, only the whole goal.
- Excellent build quality
- Netting is not weatherproof
SKLZ Pro Training Lightweight
SKLZ is a well-known name in the world of sporting equipment. They are makers of some of the best training equipment for soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and many others. Though pro training is foremost intended as training equipment, it can be used in the backyard. And its intended use can only be a guaranty of its ruggedness. It falls in the group of non-rigid soccer goals, and it is very easy to set it up. It comes in two sizes, 6×4 and 18.5×6.5 feet. The quality of this soccer goal is, in essence, what you would expect from a top brand.
But the netting is a mixed bag. A friend of mine, who is a U14 soccer coach had to buy a new goal three times. After 6 months, 2 months, and just shy of two years. Similar is the experience of other users. Goal nets can start to fray or rip in as little as two months of regular use, but also can survive up to three years of being left outside exposed to elements.
- Great design and overall quality
- Come with a sturdy bag
- Netting quality is very inconsistent
How to Choose the Best Soccer Goals for Backyard
When choosing soccer nets for home, there are few things you must keep in mind. First and foremost is that you don’t need the best backyard soccer goals in the world, but those that best suit your needs or wants, and your yard. And here are some things you should be aware of when choosing one for yourself.
When it comes to soccer nets for backyard, size does matter. If you are buying for your kid, for example, a 10 years old one you shouldn’t go for a regulation size, 8 yards by 8 feet. And also, if you have a stamp-size backyard, getting a bigger backyard soccer goal is not smart. Some guideline you could follow for choosing the best backyard soccer goals for your kid based on their age is to multiply it with 1.5 if they are 8 years or older. So, if your kid is 8 years old, 12×6 feet is a good size. If they are younger, 6×4 feet is one to pick. You can always get smaller ones, as they are a bigger challenge to score and great fun, but not bigger.
Rule of thumb is that anything you use in your backyard should be either fully permanent or fully portable. And this applies when choosing the best soccer nets for backyard. Some models are kind of portable, and if you wish to store them, they require quite a bit of space. While others can be fitted inside a bag. My personal preference is toward higher portability, as it allows you to have a soccer goal for home and public parks.
For many things being more rigid means that they are sturdier. When it comes to the best backyard soccer goals this does not apply. They are intended to be hit over and over again with a ball. And if they are made of rigid materials, aluminium or steel rods, they could bend out of shape and stay bent. So, it’s best to be made of softer materials that will spring back into shape by themselves.
- Who should buy a backyard soccer goal?
Anyone who likes to play soccer, or has a kid that loves it. They are a great thing to have, and not be limited by the availability of soccer pitches in your neighbourhood, whether to play for fun or to have a place for yourself or your kid to hone the soccer skills.
- How big soccer goal I need?
As big as space, you can use it in is. Some decent space for any goal would be three times wider than the goal, and five times longer than its width. But you can never go wrong with small soccer goals for backyard because they are quite big fun.
- Can I buy just one soccer goal?
Well, that’s the catch. Soccer goals are almost exclusively sold as single units. So, you must be aware of this fact if you plan to set a soccer pitch in your backyard.
- Do they come with netting or I have to buy it separately?
When it comes to home soccer goals, they always come with nets. This is something you shouldn’t worry about. Only professional soccer goals that cost several thousand dollars come without netting so that clubs can equip them with a league sanctioned nets.
- Can I make my own soccer goals?
Yes, of course, if you like DIY projects. And you can find many instructions on-line. The simplest form is the way they were used in the early days of soccer, just two wood beams driven into the ground with a cloth ribbon instead of the crossbar. And with some length of ½ inch PVC pipes and half doze 90 degrees connectors, you can make soccer goal easy to disassemble and carry anywhere with you.