Goalie gloves are optional, but recommended, for U9-U10 players. Players U11 and older are required to wear goalie gloves during training. There are two basic types of gloves:
Very basic, thin, youth gloves often called “junior gloves,” which provide some grip for handling the balls. They run roughly $15-$30 a pair. These are perfectly adequate for younger players who will only train for a few weeks and might goal keep occasionally in games.
Thicker, sturdier gloves (available in youth and adult sizes) provide better grip and more protection for the player’s hands. They range in price from $40 to $80 and higher. Some have “finger save” plastic supports behind the fingers, that prevent fingers from being bent back and sprained or from being jammed. Goalkeepers differ as to whether they want finger saves. Some like the protection, others feel the plastic prevents them from gripping the ball tightly. It’s a matter of personal preference.
More Goalie Gear
If your child "goal keeps" regularly, you may want to look into goalie shirts, which have padding at the elbows and sometimes behind the forearm, goalie shorts (which can be worn under soccer shorts or alone) with padding on the hips, or goalie pants which have padding at the hips and knees.
You can buy goalie gloves and gear online. For gloves, it helps if you know your child’s hand size and have a good idea of the type of glove they like. Some players have to try gloves on in person, whereas other players have a favorite model they buy over and over again when a pair wears out or they need the next size up.