When it comes to soccer it can sometimes seem confusing working out what equipment is used. Well, I have tried to answer that question in this article.
This list contains everything that is used in a game of soccer from a goal net all the way down to the referee’s whistle. You should leave this post knowing exactly what you need for your next soccer game.
1. Two goalposts and a crossbar
The first piece of equipment that is used in a game of soccer is the goal.
A goal is made up of two upright goalposts and a crossbar that connects the two goal posts across the top. As with many things in soccer, there are specific regulations about size and shape the goal has to be. The distance between the inside of the posts has to be 8 yards (7.32 m) and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground has to be 8 ft (2.44 m).
If you want to know more about the official size’s and measurement’s on a soccer field, including the size of the goal, check out this other article I wrote – A Complete Guide to a Soccer Field – Size and Dimensions
Having a goal that is not only the right size but also sturdy and durable is important also. The last thing you need is the goalposts or crossbar getting damaged during a game. If this does happen it’s possible that the game will have to be stopped.
2. A Net
Having goal posts and a crossbar is great but having a net makes the goal complete.
One of the joys of scoring a goal is seeing the ripple of the net as the ball hits it. Knowing you’ve scored a goal and everyone can see. It is also useful as a barrier to stop the ball disappearing into the distance and someone getting the short straw of having to chase it and bring it back.
A net is useful not just to stop the ball when a goal has been scored but also clearly show the ball has passed between the goalposts and not missed on either side on the outside of the post.
There have been many times where I’ve been playing with friends and we’ve not had access to a net and when someone shoots and the ball travels at speed just past the post there’s always a debate over whether the ball has gone inside or outside of the goalpost. If you have a net attached to the goal this takes away that element of uncertainty. You can see whether the ball is in or out.
3. Corner flags
On a soccer field, it is a requirement to have a corner flag in each corner of the field. It is also permitted to place a flag either end of the halfway line but this isn’t a requirement and you don’t see it at every game.
The corner flag is there to clearly show where the boundary of the field is. When a player is running at speed or is distracted by another player they will be able to see the corner flag with their peripheral vision much more easily than they would notice the line markings on the floor.
An interesting fact about the corner flag is that if the ball hits it and rebounds back onto the field of play then the game carries on rather than stopping for a set-piece. Just because it may have been going out before it hit the flag doesn’t mean it did go out.
There are few things as important to a game of soccer as a soccer ball. Without it, you simply wouldn’t be able to play the game.
A good ball will be pumped up, made of a suitable material and be the correct size and weight. The table below shows the required size, weight, and pressure for a ball at the beginning of a soccer game.
|Soccer Ball||Maximum requirement||Minimum requirement|
|Circumference||28 inches (70cm)||27 inches (68cm)|
|Weight||16oz (450g)||14oz (410g)|
|Pressure||15.6 lbs/sq in (1,100g/cm2)||8.5 lbs/sq in (600g/cm2)|
For a kid’s game, a smaller size of ball can be used. Soccer balls come in 5 different sizes. For anyone over the age of 12, a size 5 ball is the best option. For those aged around 8 to 12, it is probably best to use a size 4 soccer ball. And for those under age 8, a size 3 ball would be best.
5. Shin guards
Shin guards are another required piece of equipment that’s used in a soccer game. and for a good reason. If you’ve ever been kicked in the shin with any amount of force you will know it can really hurt! There’s not a lot of tissue there to protect the bone!
Having a good pair of shin guards can give protection for your shins but at the same time, will still give you good freedom of movement.
There are a few different types of shin guards you can use but the main difference is that some come with ankle support and protection and some come without.
If you are in a position where you will be doing lots of tackling and putting your leg in where there is a higher chance of getting kicked, I would recommend using shin guards with ankle support and protection.
If you are playing as a striker and you may not be making so many tackles as the defenders you may want to go for the shin guards without ankle support as it probably won’t be as necessary.
However, you will still see some strikers wearing bigger more protective shin guards as there’s no real disadvantage to doing all you can to protect yourself from injury.
If you’re looking to buy some new shin guards these ones on Amazon would be great. Not only do they feel great to wear but they are highly effective at protecting your shins as well.
Every soccer team must wear matching jerseys. This is to identify all the players as being on one team and to make it easier to pick out the other players on your team while you’re in the middle of a game.
The only exception to this is the goalkeeper who wears a different uniform than the rest of their team.
The color and design of the jersey will vary depending on what team you are playing for. There is a whole range of different colors and designs on the soccer jerseys being used out there.
When preparing for a game one thing you do need to be aware of is what color jerseys the opposition team is wearing. It’s critical that both teams can be easily identified and there’s no confusion because both team’s jerseys are too similar.
A soccer jersey has to have sleeves. They can have either short or long sleeves but they have to have sleeves. A jersey with no sleeves is not permitted.
When playing in a game each player needs to be wearing a pair of shorts.
This may seem daunting when you are playing in the cold winter months. It can be cold when you first step out of the changing room and onto the field. But I can tell you from experience that once you start playing and running around you soon warm up!
There is no specific color that the shorts have to be but, as with the jersey’s, it’s important that the whole team matches(except for the goalkeeper).
The goalkeeper is also the only player on the team who is permitted to wear long pants if they wish. Every other player is restricted to only wearing shorts.
7. Long Socks
A good pair of long socks are also used in every soccer game.
The reason for the socks being long rather than short is due to the fact that the socks are required to cover the shin guards that are being worn. Because of this, the actual length of the socks will depend on what shin guards are being worn.
You will mostly see players wearing socks that come up to just below the knee, and occasionally you will see players who wear their socks over their knee.
As with the jersey and shorts, the socks have to be matching with the rest of the team.
There are literally thousands of different options for footwear that can be worn during a soccer game. But one of the things that they all have in common is that they have cleats.
Cleats are small, often plastic or rubber, that project from the sole of the shoe. These are worn with the intention of providing a better grip on a potentially slippery surface. Cleats also help a player to turn or change direction more swiftly when they are running.
Although there is no rule requiring a player to wear cleats, every soccer player will wear them in a game as they provide such a significant advantage over wearing flat-soled shoes.
The only time you will see soccer players not wearing cleats is during an indoor soccer game. In this instance, a flat-soled shoe would work just fine.
Footwear in soccer should be comfortable, lightweight, flexible, and offer great traction.
9. Goalkeeper gloves
In every game of soccer, you will see a goalkeeper wearing gloves.
Goalies wear them not just to protect their hands from the sting of a ball traveling towards them at speed, but also to provide more grip when they need to catch or stop the ball.
There is no requirement for a goalkeeper to wear gloves but for the reasons we’ve just mentioned it is very rare to see a goalkeeper playing without gloves. It offers so many advantages to the goalkeeper that they would be intentionally making their job harder for themselves if they chose not to wear gloves.
Modern goalkeeping gloves feel very light and natural on the hand as well. In the past the gloves we fairly restricting and heavy but with a great pair of modern gloves, it is like you don’t even notice that they are there.
If you’re looking to buy some goalkeeper gloves these high-quality ones on Amazon would be a great purchase. They feel comfortable to wear and provide amazing grip which is exactly what you want as a goalkeeper.
10. Goalkeepers uniform
The goalkeeper’s uniform is different from the uniform the rest of the team wears.
This is to differentiate the goalkeeper from the other players because the goalkeeper has a different role to the others and there are different rules that apply to them that don’t apply to other players.
Wearing a different uniform allows not just the referee to be able to easily tell the goalkeeper apart but also helps the other players on the team know where the goalkeeper is especially while the ball is in the penalty area.
The requirements around a goalkeepers uniform are similar to the requirements on the uniform of the other players. The main difference is that the goalkeeper can wear long pants if they want to. They may choose to in order to protect their knees when diving for the ball or maybe just to keep them warm as a goalkeeper is usually more stationery than the other players on the team.
A goalkeeper is permitted to wear a cap or gloves if they want to as well.
11. Referee’s whistle
One sound that you will hear over and over again throughout a soccer match is the shrill noise of a referee’s whistle. The referee uses their whistle to control the game. They will use it to let the players know when to stop and when to start when an offense has taken place, and when they need to get a player’s attention.
The referee carries the whistle with them at all times. Often attached to their wrist with a strap. The whistle is an important tool for the referee to use when communicating with players on the field. It helps them to understand what is happening and what is expected of them.
The referee has been using a whistle in soccer games since the late 1870s. Before the introduction of the whistle at this time it was far more common for a referee to wave a white handkerchief to signal an infringement in the game.
There are no specific requirements on the type of whistle that has to be used in a game. As long as it is reliable and can be heard across the field then that is adequate enough.
Being able to accurately keep time during a game of soccer is one of the more important jobs for a referee. To do this, they need to have a reliable timer or watch with them throughout the game.
Almost always this will be in the form of a wristwatch. A wristwatch is easy to look at quickly and is securely attached to the referee’s body, meaning they are less likely to lose it while running around. Sometimes you may even see a referee wearing two wristwatches at the same time so they have a backup in case something goes wrong with one of them.
Although the referee is the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to deciding when the game begins and ends at higher levels of soccer they rely on the help of an assistant who stays off the field of play during the game. At the end of each half, this assistant will signal how much stoppage time should be played before the referee ends the play.
A watch or some other type of timepiece is a critical piece of equipment for the referee.
13. Red and yellow cards
Different colored cards are used in many sports to warn or penalize a player who has done something wrong. In soccer, a red card and a yellow card are used for this.
When a referee shows a player a yellow card, it signifies a warning. The warning is that if they do something else in the game that deserves another warning, or yellow card, then they will immediately be shown a red card with signifies that they must leave the soccer field straight away and not return for the rest of the game.
A red card can be shown to a player without them first having been shown a yellow card. If the offense is serious enough that the referee decides that they should take no further part in the game then the referee can show a player a red card straight away.
It is also common for a referee to carry some paper and a pencil with them to write down which players they have shown a red or yellow card to. Otherwise, it can be easy for them to forget.
For a referee to be able to communicate clearly with the players and coaches what decision they have made in relation to an offense a referee needs to have a red and yellow card with them at all times.
14. Referee’s uniform
It is important in a game that the referee’s uniform is an obviously different color from any of the player’s uniforms.
The last thing any player wants is to look up to pass the ball, see someone in a uniform similar to the colors of their team, and pass the ball towards that person, only later to realize that person was the referee!
Traditionally all referees wore black, but these days you may see the referee’s in a wide variety of colors.
FIFA who are the governing body for soccer worldwide currently allows referees a choice of five different colors of jersey that they can wear during a game. Those colors are – black, red, yellow, green and blue. They also require referees to wear black shorts, black socks, and black shoes.
This choice of colors allows the referee to pick a jersey for the game that should confuse none of the players on the field and should make the referee stand out from either of the teams playing.
15. Referee’s assistant’s flags
In a game of soccer, there are often two assistant referees who patrol the sidelines of the soccer fields. Each of these assistant referees carries a flag with them.
The intention of these flags is to clearly signal to the referee when an infringement of the rules has happened. The flag is there to act as an extension of the arm as a flag is more likely to catch the referee’s attention than just waving an arm.
At the top professional levels of soccer, it is not uncommon for these flags to have a button on them which when pressed will cause a beep to go off in the referee’s earpiece to ensure they have attracted the referee’s attention.
These flags are often bright colors and have some sort of pattern on them. Again, the intention of this is to make them as visible as possible. The assistant referee will raise the flag into different positions depending on the information they want to relay to the referee.
When it comes to purchasing soccer equipment, there are thousands of different options to choose from and it can feel overwhelming.
I’ve listed some of my favorite items in this article but to make your choice even easier I’ve created a recommended equipment section to this website where you can go and find out my top recommendations for a variety of different pieces of soccer equipment.
Click here to go straight there and find out what I think are the best pieces of soccer equipment that you should buy.
If after reading about what equipment is used in a soccer game you are interested to know what of these pieces of equipment are needed in a soccer game then check out this article I wrote recently – The 6 Pieces of Equipment you need for Soccer.
*Also, check out the next blog post – How much a Soccer Coach Makes – with Specific Examples *
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