Soccer is the world’s most-watched sport. Two teams of 11 players each face off on a field over 100 yards long and 50 yards wide for 90 minutes of precision passing, endless sprinting, and astonishing goals. From young school children to old-timers reliving their glory days, almost everybody has played or watched soccer at one point in their lives.
While everybody can enjoy soccer, and it’s a relatively low-cost game, there’s still a lot that goes into ensuring player safety and comfort. Not only do players need to have a ball and a field, but they also need to have matching uniforms, the right kinds of shoes, and shin protectors, among other things, and that’s not even including what’s needed before and after the game!
If you’re interested in soccer but are looking for help because you don’t know what to buy in order to play (or how to buy it), then you’ve come to the right place! Read below for information on all kinds of soccer equipment.
Field / Pitch
The soccer field (or football pitch) is the field of play. A full-sized field is between 100 and 130 yards long and 50 to 100 yards wide, but each field can vary in size. While professional teams play in massive stadiums, most people can play in public spaces like parks, which usually have soccer fields already set up with lines drawn on the grass. You can always make your own if there isn’t a pitch nearby. All you need is a way to measure the field and cones to set the boundaries!
The soccer goal net is a mesh network of interweaving rope braids that catch the soccer ball when a player scores a goal past the goalkeeper. Nets are made of many different materials, but the most common is braided twine, a tough and thin rope-like material. The net attaches to the goalposts and can be replaced when it gets old or damaged. Removing and changing the net is much easier than replacing the entire goal, and it’s much cheaper! Nets can be many different colors and come in varying sizes depending on the goal. Make sure you’re purchasing a net that will fit your particular goal before buying it.
The soccer ball might be the most important piece of equipment in the game. After all, you can’t play without a ball. Soccer balls come in a lot of different sizes and styles, with different leagues and age divisions using different-sized balls. The professional-sized ball is known as size 5 and has a 28-inch (68 cm) circumference. It is used in leagues whose players are 12 years of age and older.
A ball is one of the first pieces of equipment you should buy if you want to get into the sport. Make sure you find one that is durable and has an appearance that appeals to you, as you’re the one who’s going to be playing with it! While some special-edition balls are going to cost you upwards of $200, you can get any plain old ball for less than $20, so if you don’t care for the fanciest designs, there are plenty of good options for you.
Soccer accessories are everything you need to play the game aside from yourself and the other players! Each accessory is an important part of a soccer player’s arsenal, from uniforms and practice kits to shin guards, shoes, and more. Some accessories are more necessary than others and can be very cheap or wildly expensive.
The soccer bag holds all of the player’s essential equipment and clothing for practice and games. Some teams provide their players with bags complete with the team colors and logos, while other teams have players buy their own.
If you’re looking for a bag, finding the right one can be tricky. If you need one that will hold a lot of gear – like balls, multiple uniforms, cones, or warmups – you might want to go with a bigger duffle bag. On the other hand, if you only need something simple to carry a change of clothes and some food for after practice, a backpack is a good way to go.
The two kinds of bags also differ in price. A backpack will be a bit more expensive at around $50 to $80, whereas a duffel will tend to cost you closer to $35 because it has fewer pockets and generally doesn’t have as many convenience-related features.
The captain’s armband is a cloth band that is worn on the arm of a soccer team’s captain. It is used to help distinguish the captain from other players on a team, which is often helpful for referees, who can relay information through team captains. Armbands can also be useful for fans so they know who is leading the team on the pitch. It is important that the armband is bright and easily visible so that the captain will stand out even from a far distance.
Armbands are usually made with team colors to match the player’s uniform. Armbands are easy to come by and can be bought for around $4 online. Most local sports stores will have similar prices as well.
Soccer studs are the little bits of rubber or metal that are on the bottom of soccer cleats and shoes to help provide traction. Firm ground cleats (“traditional” cleats) come with slightly shorter and usually permanent studs, while soft ground cleats often have longer, replaceable ones that can be changed out when they become dull or damaged. Detachable studs are usually made of metal and are most often used when the ground is muddy and the added stud length is needed to give the required traction.
You can get studs anywhere you can buy soft ground cleats. It will be best to get them at the same time as you buy your cleats so that you’re sure you’re getting ones that will fit in your shoes. They should end up costing you roughly $15 for a pack of replacements.
Proper hydration is key for performance. Dehydration can cause cramps, headaches, and fatigue. The best way to make sure you get enough water is by keeping a water bottle close at hand and drinking from it throughout the day and during breaks at practice and games.
Water bottles come in all sizes, but any simple one will do. 16 and 32-ounce bottles are best because they won’t require as frequent trips to the water fountain and aren’t so big that they’re a hassle to carry around. Depending on quality and brand, water bottles can cost between $5 and $35.
Goalie gloves are important pieces of technology that save the goalkeeper’s hands from getting hurt every time they block a shot on goal. Different types of gloves are better for different people. For example, a thicker glove will offer more protection, but a more lightweight one will allow for more technique and finger movement, and a glove with stickier palms will help the keeper catch balls and hold onto them more easily.
When buying gloves, it’s important to keep in mind what your specific needs are. For instance, if you need the confidence to jump in front of a hard-kicked ball, then maybe thicker gloves with less movement are right for you. Goalie gloves can be expensive, with some pairs selling for over $50, but getting a good pair that fits and feels great is vital to your long-term success. Retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike will offer a wide variety of options for any budget. While you can get gloves online, going into a store is recommended because it’s important to try on a pair before you buy, or else you may find yourself having to return an ill-fitting pair.
The soccer goalie jersey is similar to a normal jersey, except that it is a different color than everybody else’s jerseys on the field. Goalies wear different colors to distinguish themselves from the other players, which is important because they play by different rules, like being allowed to use their hands in the goalie box.
Since a goalie’s jersey isn’t allowed to match another player’s, the best jerseys are ones with uncommon colors, such as neon green, bright yellow, and blue. Goalies usually have multiple jerseys so that they can switch colors if their jersey conflicts with the opponents’ jerseys.
Kits And Uniforms
The soccer uniform, or kit, is vital to any team’s identity. A uniform not only helps fans and players alike tell teams apart on the soccer pitch but can also create a sense of family and community. Uniforms can be iconic for teams, like the easily recognizable blue and white of Manchester City or Brazil’s historic yellow-and-green jersey.
Most teams have two or more uniforms that are worn at different times. The main jersey tends to be worn at “home” games, and an alternate is worn when the team plays “away.”
The soccer jersey is perhaps the most recognizable part of an athlete’s uniform. A team’s jersey usually has its primary colors on it, as well as a team logo. Most jerseys have the player’s number on the back, and depending on the team, your name might be on the back as well.
Since you’ll be wearing your jersey any time that you’re on the pitch during a game, make sure that it fits well and is comfortable, allowing a full range of motion. Soccer jerseys cost between $20 and $100, depending on the brand and model.
Soccer shorts are another vital part of the soccer player’s uniform. A player’s shorts will often be a simple primary color that matches the player’s jersey and will usually have a small logo on the side.
Soccer is a running game, so what you wear on your legs is of critical importance! Make sure that your shorts aren’t too loose or too tight, and make sure that they’re breathable, letting you sweat and feeling light on your body as you sprint towards the ball. Different players prefer different length shorts, so go with whatever makes you feel the best, whether that’s close to the knees or higher towards the hip.
Most soccer shorts can be bought for under $20 at your local sporting goods store or big retailer, but if you want the best and flashiest ones out there, they’ll obviously cost a few extra dollars.
The long sock has been a part of the soccer kit since the early stages of the sport. Soccer socks are so long for two main reasons. The long length helps provide warmth, crucial for the late fall and early spring. Additionally, the added length also helps secure shin guards or pads, which get held in place by an elastic, tapered portion near the top of the sock. Game socks match the rest of a player’s uniform, but practice socks often don’t, and it can be hard to know what kind to buy.
These days, soccer socks can come with all sorts of fancy technology, like sweat control and DryFit, but you don’t need those things if you don’t want to spend the extra money on them. As long as they’re comfortable, they’re good to go.
Athletic tape is a kind of tape made from a polyester and cotton blend that is used for injury rehabilitation and prevention. The tape is wrapped strategically around the injured area, restricting the motion of an injured joint or muscle and providing reinforcement to the healing area. It is best to be taped by a trainer or physician, but because that’s not always possible, make sure you understand how to properly apply the tape to the affected area and consult with a professional before doing so yourself.
Although some brands offer specialty tape, such as KT Tape, any plain roll of athletic tape will do. Most online stores offer bulk deals on athletic tape at around $1 per roll, so that is most likely your best bet.
A mouth guard is not a required piece of the soccer kit, but it can be helpful in avoiding lost teeth, nonetheless, especially for goalies. Not everybody likes to wear mouthguards when playing soccer, but some advocate for their use because of the high cost of dental procedures that could be avoided if you use them. Soccer mouth guards protect not just your teeth and gums from the outside, but they can also protect other people from your teeth! Yes, they can be bulky and make speaking difficult, but they can save you in the long term from an unplanned dental visit the next time you go up for a header.
Since soccer involves kicking around a ball on the ground, your legs can get quite beat up, especially from contact with opponents. Shin guards are plastic plates that protect a player’s shins from getting bruised and hurt and are important for any player to wear. They fit on the front of the lower leg, between the ankle and the knee. Ankle shin guards are best for youth players because of their added ankle protection and easy-to-put-on nature.
Each position has slightly different needs and should get different guards accordingly. Heftier guards with ankle protection are best for defenders, while light and flexible guards are better suited for forwards, who need to move quickly and change directions at a moment’s notice. Shin guards will tend to run anywhere from $15 at the lower end to $40 for the top-of-the-line adult guards and pads.
Shin pads, also known as slip-in shin guards, are a lightweight form of shin guards. The only difference is that shin pads do not come with an ankle attachment and are worn on their own inside of the sock. Most adult and experienced players prefer shin pads because they are lighter and provide greater mobility than ankle-strap shin guards.
A well-fitting shin pad should cover the majority of the front of the lower leg, almost from knee to ankle, and should be comfortable and snug.
The soccer referee’s uniform includes shorts and a brightly-colored jersey, along with a whistle, flags, and penalty cards. The referee’s shirt has to be brightly colored and easily recognizable because the referee needs to be distinguished from the players. The most common colors are red and yellow, but different leagues have their refs wear different colors.
If you’re refereeing, be sure to consult with your league on what to wear if they don’t provide a jersey for you. Referees also wear long socks, just like the players, and they wear the same footwear as the players because they, too, need to run across the pitch quickly.
The referee flag is used by the assistant referees of a match, whose jobs include determining if players are offside or out-of-bounds, if a goal has been scored, who has possession of the ball, or if a foul has occurred. The flag is used to catch the attention of the center referee and is used as an extension of the arm when signaling. Referee flags are brightly colored, usually bright yellow checkered with bright red for easy visibility.
Stopwatches are used by referees in games to keep track of the running game time and by coaches in practice to structure drills and activities. A stopwatch is incredibly helpful because it can have features that keep track of time better than a traditional wristwatch.
A stopwatch with a lap/split function will allow you to keep track of not only the total time of a game or practice but also the time of a particular part of practice. Some stopwatches also let you keep a running time of multiple things at once, which can be helpful for coaches that have their players run different drills simultaneously. Coaching stopwatches start around $20.
Penalty cards are small, rectangular plastic cards used by referees to enforce the game’s rules and serve punishment to a player who has severely broken the rules. The two main penalty cards are yellow and red.
A yellow card indicates a strong warning to a player and is usually issued if a player has been overly aggressive or has made a series of repeated minor game infractions. Two yellow cards will result in the player getting a red card. The red card is used only when a player has made a serious mistake, like intentionally hurting an opponent. If you get a red card, you’re suspended for the rest of the game and for the following game in the season.
In soccer, whistles are usually used by coaches and referees. During practice, a coach will use a whistle to call their players to attention or as a tool during drills and sprints. Referees use their whistles to start and stop play, like at the start and end of each half or as a result of a foul.
Luckily, whistles don’t tend to be very expensive (you can get them for under $10), so if you’re a coach, it should be easy to get a hold of one. Just be sure that it’s loud enough to be heard over the entire pitch!
Practice clothes are worn by the players during training. Unlike uniforms, these clothes are meant to be worn often and are much cheaper in price because they don’t need to have any logos or be custom-made. In fact, aside from not having soccer socks, you probably already own a full set of practice clothes! Most players practice in shorts and a tee shirt when it’s warm and a long sleeve shirt when it’s colder. You can also wear a hat and gloves if it’s really chilly outside. For practice, wear whatever feels best and most comfortable.
Agility ladders are cloth-and-plastic ladders placed onto the ground, through which players can run and perform drills during practice or before a game. By running over the rungs of the ladder in different patterns, players use various muscles and motions that will help them in games. Agility ladders can help improve footwork, balance, coordination, and speed.
When purchasing a ladder, find one that is durable and easily stored. Getting one with adjustable rungs will help you create different drills that test different foot movements. Agility ladders tend to run about $20, so while they aren’t the cheapest, they’re still relatively affordable and are an important part of an athlete’s training room.
The clipboard is important for all coaches in any sport. A clipboard can hold important documents and information like rosters, player movements, and scouting reports. Some more expensive clipboards have dry-erase diagrams of the soccer pitch, which come in handy when a coach is trying to show a team a certain play. Other clipboards are simple wood and are used only to keep hold of vital pieces of paper. Most clipboards are affordable on a low budget, so getting one as a coach is well worth it! Keeping everything all together in one place can save you time and stress.
Soccer cones can be used to define boundaries in games or set defined spaces for drills in practice. Cones are often used by coaches to denote distances and points to which players should run or complete their drills. Traditional cones are taller and are usually used to mark the edges of things like scrimmage fields, while flat cones are used more often for agility drills.
If you’re looking to buy cones, make sure they’re easily visible. Dark-colored or green cones might not stand out enough once put onto the ground, especially if players are moving quickly and not paying attention!
Long Sleeve Shirt
While soccer jerseys are usually short-sleeved, long-sleeved shirts are also options for cold or rainy weather. These can usually be worn underneath a jersey, provided they don’t conflict with your team’s or opponent’s colors. Having a shirt with long sleeves can be more comfortable than wearing separate compression sleeves when it’s cold out, and many professional teams provide their players with long-sleeve options in addition to the usual jerseys.
Wearing a long-sleeved shirt can also provide performance advantages aside from simply being more comfortable. In cold weather, wearing a long sleeve will raise your overall body temperature, meaning that less blood has to be sent from your heart to warm your arms, and more of it can be put towards your legs and feet, which you’ll be using more when playing soccer!
Snacks are a vital part of recovery, and getting the right nutrition after training and games is important to make sure that your body is healing and getting better. A good snack should supply calories and electrolytes to replace what was lost during activity. However, a snack shouldn’t be too big because that might decrease appetite for the next meal, which is just as important to recovery.
Some good post-soccer snacks include bananas, apples, and oranges. Granola bars and small, easy-to-make sandwiches are also good options. Be cautious of allergies, especially if you’re sharing snacks, and most of all, choose something that tastes good to you!
Training balls are just like any other soccer ball, except that they are smaller and are used mostly for developing skills and footwork. These balls are also called “minis.” The smaller size allows players to learn new skills with ease because the ball is lightweight and will move through the ground and air with less effort than a full-sized ball would. A training ball costs around $25 or $30.
Warmup clothes are worn before practice or a game over your uniform and help keep your body warm so that you don’t become stiff waiting for play to begin. Warmups can also be worn at halftime when there’s a long break between play.
There are a variety of different kinds of warmups, but most players have a warmup top like a jacket, windbreaker, or sweatshirt and a pair of warmup pants or sweatpants. Comfort and mobility are most important when warming up, so make sure that your warmups fit well and leave you feeling ready to play your hardest. If you don’t want to spend the money for specialized soccer warmups, a jacket can cost between $80 and $100 on its own; you can wear gear that you already own, like a rain jacket or sweatshirt.
Soccer cleats are worn when playing on grass fields. They have bladed and cone-shaped studs on the bottom to provide ample traction for the slippery surface of a grass field. There are many different kinds of cleats, but the most common is the firm ground cleat. Soft ground cleats are used when the grass is muddy and sloppy, and they have longer studs for improved movement.
It’s important to know that not all shoes can be used on the same surfaces. For example, most indoor facilities don’t allow players to wear cleats. Instead players must wear special turf shoes. Be sure that you have the right type of shoe for the right surface, and ask your coach or facility if you aren’t sure what kind of shoe to buy.
Just like with indoor shoes, Nike, Adidas, and Puma are considered top-of-the-line for cleats. However, cleats for outdoor use are going to be much more expensive, with a price range of $90 to over $200 for a new pair. If you have a small budget, you can always get a used pair of cleats for much less than a brand-new pair.
Indoor shoes are a kind of shoe used by soccer players for playing on hard surfaces, such as a gym or blacktop. They are usually low-cut, with the upper part of the shoe ending below the ankle bone. They also have hard, flat bottoms that help cushion and give some traction. Indoor shoes have the advantage of being allowed on any surface, but they are not ideal for grass play because there is not enough traction on the bottom of the shoe to be helpful on the slick surfaces of grass.
There are so many excellent brands out there for soccer footwear, and you’ll be able to find one that fits you well. Nike, Adidas, and Puma all offer great options ranging anywhere from $30 to $150. It will be best for you to go to a store nearby so that you can get fitted and try on different pairs in-person to find the one that feels the best.
Turf shoes are a kind of soccer shoe that can be used on either grass or turf fields. While they can be used on grass, they will give less traction than cleats, so they are best suited for turf play. Turf shoes have a tough rubber outsole that helps gather traction on turf and grass blades. Instead of having the big studs on the bottom like normal soccer cleats, they have a series of small bumps called “nubs” that are best suited for turf.
Make sure you get fitted before you buy a pair because they can run up the price tag, and you don’t want to have to buy multiple pairs. Turf shoes are cheaper than cleats, but a bit more expensive than your average indoor shoe, with prices tending to fall near the $50-$100 range.