Soccer is the world's most watched sport. Two teams of eleven face off on a field that is over 100 yards long and 50 yards wide for ninety 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, they need to have matching uniforms, the right kinds of shoes and shin protectors, 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 (or how to buy it) in order to play, then you've come to the right place! Read below for information on all kinds of soccer equipment, including the right kind of water bottle to buy, what you need to look for in the right shoes, and what in the world an agility ladder is.
Soccer accessories are everything that you need to play the game aside from yourself and the other players! From uniforms and practice kits to shin guards, shoes and more, each accessory is an important part of a soccer player's arsenal. Some accessories are more necessary than others, and they can be very cheap or wildly expensive. Read below for more information on all of the different kinds of soccer accessories!
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, be sure to find one that is durable and easily stored. If possible, 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.
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 tape will do. Most online stores offer bulk deals on athletic tape at around dollar a roll, so that is most likely your best bet.
The soccer bench is where players sit when they aren't actively playing on the field. They're placed on one side of the pitch and both teams get their own separate bench. A player on the bench might be used as a substitute for a starter when they get tired, or they might be an injured player cheering on their teammates. The bench is also where most teams congregate when play is stopped to come up with and talk about game plans. If buying a bench, make sure that you get one large enough to fit your whole team. You don't want to make some of your players stand because there isn't enough room!
Cageball is a kind of soccer that can be played when there is only limited space available, like in a city, or when there is too much snow covering the ground to play a full game . The game is played inside of a small cage, with an outer wall rising about 3 feet from the ground and covered with netting or fencing above, which keeps the ball in play at all times.
Buying a soccer cage is a big investment, as they are often quite expensive and can require a lot of maintenance. However, if cageball is something that you are interested in, some facilities offer cages that can be rented out, so check in with your local sports complex to see if they have one.
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, and 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 the team colors on them, 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.
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 on them, 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 can be bought for very little cash, so it's well worth it to get one if you can! 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 that 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!
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 is allowed to 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. If there isn't a pitch nearby, you can always make your own. All you need is a way to measure the field and cones to set up 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 they also come in varying sizes depending on the goal. Make sure that you're purchasing a net that will fit your particular goal before you buy it.
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 confidence to jump in front of a hard-kicked ball, then maybe thicker gloves with less movement are right from 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 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.
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.
Indoor shoes are a kind of shoe used by soccer players for play 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 turf and grass.
There are so many excellent brands out there for soccer footwear, 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 dollars. 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.
The soccer uniform, or kit, is a vital part 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." Uniforms give the team a sense of unity, and a good-looking uniform can go a long way towards making a team feel great.
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. 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 the 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.
While soccer jerseys are usually short-sleeved, long-sleeve shirts are also options for cold or rainy weather. 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-sleeve 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!
A mouth guard is not a required piece of the soccer kit, but it can be helpful in avoiding lost teeth nonetheless. Not everybody likes to wear mouth guards 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.
Penalty cards are small, rectangular plastic cards used by referees to enforce the rules of the game and sometimes 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 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.
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 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.
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 plays an essential role during any game. 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 garner the attention of the center referee and is used as an extension of the arm when signalling. Referee flags are brightly colored, usually bright yellow checkered with bright red for easy visibility.
Because soccer involves kicking around a ball on the ground, your legs can get quite beat up! 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 are essentially the same thing as shin guards. The only difference is that shin pads do not come with an ankle attachment, and are instead 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 the ankle shin guard.
A well-fitting shin pad should cover the entire front of the leg, almost from knee to ankle, and should be comfortable and snug.
Snacks are a vital part to recovery, and getting the right nutrition after training and games is important to making 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 like peanut butter and jelly 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!
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 less pockets and generally doesn't have as many convenience-related features.
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 differently 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 for less than 20 bucks, so if you don't care for the fanciest designs, there's plenty of good options for you.
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, and 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 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 way less than a brand-new pair.
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 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.
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 having their players run different drills simultaneously.
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 that 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.
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.
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 $60 range.
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 half time, 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.
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.
In soccer, whistles are usually used by coaches and referees. In practice, a coach will use a whistle to call his 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 penalty.
Luckily, whistles don't tend to be very expensive (you can get them for under ten bucks), 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!