Do Soccer Players Wear Cups? And Should You?

Soccer Equipment comes in various shapes and sizes. One possible option used in many sports is a cup. If you, or possibly your child, are preparing for a soccer game, you may be curious about whether you should be wearing a cup during a game.

Professional soccer players, except for goalies, don’t wear cups during a game. However, youth players sometimes wear a cup during youth soccer games to protect themselves. Wearing a cup is permitted in soccer but not required. It is up to the individual if they want to wear one or not.

There are advantages and disadvantages to wearing a cup. We’ll look at them in a moment, but first, let me explain why professionals don’t wear cups, but some youth players do.

Do Soccer Players Wear Cups? featured image

Wearing a Cup in Soccer

Sports players worldwide are at risk of injury if they fail to wear the correct protective equipment.

There are only a few required pieces of equipment in soccer, and the only necessary items for protection are shin guards.

However, that doesn’t mean players can’t wear other items of protection, such as a cup if they desire.

For example, some goalies choose to wear head protection, and some younger players wear a mouthguard. (I did when I was younger).

The only stipulation in the rules of soccer is:

A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.

IFAB Laws of the Game

Because wearing a cup cannot be considered dangerous, they are permitted under the rules of the game. But that doesn’t mean every player chooses to wear one.

Professional soccer players choose not to wear a cup because they don’t believe the benefit of wearing one is greater than the risk of not wearing one.

All soccer players have to consider how each item of equipment affects their movement and mobility during a game, not simply what offers the maximum protection.

We’ll look at this more in a moment, but you may also want to check out my list of specific items that players can or cannot wear during a game.

Do Goalies Wear Cups?

The only exception to what I have shared so far is a goalkeeper.

Soccer goalies often wear cups during training sessions and games because they are more likely to sustain an injury in this area than the other players on the field.

Soccer goalie with ball
Soccer goalie with ball

You only have to study the role of a goalie for a moment to understand why they are more vulnerable to the impact of the ball in this area.

A goalie will often put their body on the line to protect their goal, which usually means spreading themselves out to stop the ball.

And not only are they vulnerable to contact from the ball or another player, but when the ball makes contact with a goalie, it’s often at high impact as it’s coming from an attempt at goal by the opposition.

All this means it can be advantageous for a goalie to wear a cup as the chance of impact from the ball is far greater for a goalkeeper than another player on the field.

Do Youth Soccer Players Wear Cups?

This brings us to youth soccer players.

Male youth soccer players may choose to wear a cup for protection as younger players have a lower tolerance level toward the pain associated with the impact of a soccer ball in this area. However, female youth soccer players rarely wear a cup.

youth soccer goalie stopping ball
Youth soccer goalie

When players are younger, they are more prone to longer-lasting injuries. Therefore parents should consider a higher level of protection for their kids when they send them out on a youth soccer field.

However, the reality of a youth player suffering a long-term injury in this area during a soccer game is relatively low, and I have never heard of it happening. Although, you should be aware that the Urology Care Foundation does recommend wearing a cup for soccer.

The more significant concern is the temporary pain associated with contact from the ball or another player.

Most young male players find this pain more than they are willing to tolerate, so wearing a cup during soccer can put their minds (and those of the parents) at rest.

Ultimately, it is a decision to be made between the player and their responsible adult.

Should Soccer Players Wear a Cup?

Having explained the norm for soccer players at different levels, I want to briefly give you some areas to consider if you are thinking about using a cup yourself or for your child.

The First Thing to Consider Is the Player’s Age and the Potential Risk/Benefit Balance

As I’ve mentioned a few times, younger players are more at risk than older players. This is why adult professionals rarely wear a cup, but younger players do.

Professionals are also more agile and able to move their bodies out the way of the ball, or another player, before any impact.

Youth players have often not mastered this art yet!

There is minimal benefit to wearing a cup for a professional player unless they are a goalie. The main issue the cup protects against in an adult is temporary pain, and most players can tolerate this.

However, the issue of pain from impact is more serious for youth players. It can put them off committing to the game as quickly.

Another Issue to Consider Is Comfort

Wearing any item of equipment has an impact on how a player feels. And wearing a cup is no different.

If you decide to wear a cup, you should choose one that is comfortable and avoid the cheap ones. This one on Amazon is a great option for comfort.

If a player is uncomfortable, it can negatively affect their performance. And wearing something that hinders your performance may be too much of a sacrifice for most players to make.

However, it will come down to personal preference.

Soccer player taking free kick
Soccer players moving on the field

A Player Should Also Consider How It Affects Their Movement on the Field

Wearing a cup between your legs has a significant potential to affect your movement as you run, jump, shoot, or even walk.

This is less significant for a goalie who doesn’t have to move as much as most other players but can still be noticeable.

If a cup has too much impact on a player’s movement, it is probably not worth wearing one. 

The only exception for this is players under the age of 10.

At this level of soccer, the players are still playing for fun more than the competition. Because there is less significance on optimizing a player’s movement, and there is an advantage to wearing more protective equipment, it may be worth sacrificing movement for enhanced protection.

Again, this will ultimately be up to the child and their responsibly adult to decide.

What Do Soccer Players Wear Under Their Shorts?

I just want to end this article by sharing what most soccer players wear under their shorts, as this is a question I often hear people asking.

Most soccer players wear compression shorts under their soccer shorts. Players wear compression shorts for reasons of modesty but also for comfort and to keep the top of their legs warmer during the winter months of the year.

Soccer players wearing shorts
Soccer players wearing shorts

There are no specific rules in soccer that describe what a player should wear under their shorts. As long as what they wear is not visible or dangerous, the referee will allow the player to participate in the game.

I always recommend wearing something comfortable and tight-fitting.

For more information on what a soccer player wears, check out one of my recent articles below:

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

Recent Posts