When watching a game of soccer you may sometimes look around at the players and notice that some of the players have bare hands while some of the other ones are wearing gloves.
At first glance, the reason for this may not be totally clear. So in this article let’s look at why some players choose to wear gloves while playing soccer.
The main reason soccer players wear gloves during a game is to protect their hands against cold outside temperatures. In cold temperatures, a player’s hands are often one of the first parts of their body to feel cold. Wearing gloves keeps their hands warm.
This reason alone probably makes sense to most people.
But it can still be confusing why a simple pair of gloves would make a significant difference to the temperature of a player who is running around a lot and is in a short sleeve jersey and shorts.
Surely a short sleeve jersey, shorts, and gloves don’t go together?
As you read on hopefully you may begin to understand why some players still choose to wear them, what the laws of soccer say about wearing gloves and how it can be a benefit to a player.
(I should point out here that we are not discussing goalkeepers wearing gloves in this article. This post is only concerning outfield players wearing gloves. If you want to know more about goalies hands check out my article explaining where and when goalies can use their hands.)
First, let’s look at wearing gloves in cold weather.
Wearing gloves for warmth
Many people love to go outside and play soccer all through the year and in all sorts of locations.
However, at certain times of the year, especially in some climates, the weather outside can be extremely cold.
If you take one of the Northern US states such as Minnesota as an example, the temperature there will regularly be below zero throughout the winter. Sometimes dropping as low as minus 56 degrees as it did in Cotton, Minnesota, in January 2019.
I imagine most people would want to be wearing gloves if they were out playing soccer in those temperatures!
Although I can’t say I’ve ever played soccer in Minnesota, I have played soccer games in temperatures below freezing multiple times and I can tell you from experience that you feel very cold during the game even when running around.
Although there are those few people in the world who love feeling cold, most soccer players are the same as everyone else, they prefer to do all they can to feel warm rather than staying cold.
This wish to stay warm is a basic desire for most people as it makes us feel better emotionally. I’m sure most of us can identify with that.
When a soccer player chooses to wear gloves on their hands they are choosing one small but effective way of keeping the temperature of their body up and keeping their hands warm.
My top recommendation for gloves a soccer player should wear are these ones from soccer.com. They will keep your hands warm in all weather conditions and allow you to focus on what is important in a game rather than the cold!
What happens to your hands in the cold
In cold temperatures, a human body’s natural response is to significantly reduce the flow of blood to the body’s extremities, such as the hands and feet. The body is doing its best to keep the blood in the main, central part of the body as that is where all the main organs are.
This natural response leads to a rapid decrease in hand and foot temperature. Because of this, a soccer player can be performing at a high level during a game and even maintaining a high core temperature, but their hands and feet may still feel cold.
In extreme circumstances extended exposure to cold temperatures can also be dangerous and cause long term damage.
Wearing gloves is a simple way to prevent these problems. It doesn’t just keep the hands feeling warm but may also prevent any potential long term problems.
Wearing gloves and short sleeves
Hopefully, the previous section goes some way to explaining why you sometimes see soccer players wearing warm winter gloves along with a short-sleeved warm weather jersey.
The body is capable of keeping the torso of a player feeling warm while also allowing the hands to feel cold.
Choosing to wear gloves to keep a player’s hands as warm as possible can allow a player to fully focus on the task in front of them and not become distracted.
Many of you probably know the feeling of being cold and how that can affect everything else you are doing.
A soccer player needs to be fully focused on the soccer game they are in and not have to worry about having cold hands. It could be a distraction that prevents them from performing at their peak throughout a game.
If you’re interested in what gloves a soccer player wears, let me quickly explain.
The type of gloves that players wear use a hybrid of materials to ensure the player’s hands are kept as warm as possible; they are waterproof and provide extra grip over the palms of the hand to assist a player when taking a throw-in.
Other reasons for wearing gloves during a soccer game
At this point you may be thinking “ok, I get why a player would wear gloves when it’s cold, but I’ve seen soccer players wearing them when it’s warm outside. Why is that?”
Seeing soccer players wearing gloves on a sunny day may be confusing when watching a game. And there is no one reason for this, but there are a few common reasons this happens.
Some players are from much warmer climates
Firstly, some players may not be as used to the climate or temperature at a soccer game as we are.
Players come from all around the world to play in a soccer league near us and the county they come from may have a much higher average temperature than where we are.
Although we may be comfortable being outside, some soccer players will have grown up and played in temperatures that are far above the temperature they are playing in now.
This would make them feel cold relative to what they are used to and one solution to this issue for them may be to wear gloves during a game to help their hands feel warmer.
For example take Sierra Leone’s Kei Kamara, who has scored over 100 goals in the MLS throughout his career.
Until the age of 16, he lived in Sierra Leone which has a much higher average temperature than most of the US. Coming and playing in the USA would have meant being outside in much lower temperatures than he was previously used to.
Some players think it looks good
Another reason that players have worn gloves in the past is because of fashion.
No matter what your own personal opinion is of this we all know that what is considered “fashionable” is subjective to each individual and can change from year to year, or even week to week!
There are various times in the past where a player has decided that it would look good to wear a pair of gloves for the game they are about to play so they have found some gloves and worn them.
The rules around wearing gloves in soccer
It is nothing in the rules of soccer that prevents a player from wearing gloves during a soccer game. The only requirement is that a player may not wear anything that is considered dangerous.
Whether or not an outfield player can wear gloves is not specifically mentioned in the rules and is up to the referee’s judgment whether the gloves a player is wearing are allowed within the rules.
Unlike the rules around the color of jersey a goalie can wear, there is no restriction on the color the gloves can be.
It is fairly common in soccer for players to wear gloves in a game if they wish to.
There are a number of reasons they may choose to do this and the majority of those reasons are considered to be beneficial to the player’s game.
This is not just because the gloves keep the player’s hands warm, but keeping the player’s hands warm allows the player to focus on their performance rather than the feeling of being cold and the individual player’s performance can only improve with the increased focus.
For more related soccer information have a look at one of my other articles:
- Why Soccer Players Have Numbers on the Back of Their Jerseys
- Why Soccer Players Wear Long Socks
- What You Can (and Can’t) Wear for Soccer
*Check out the next post – A Simple and Easy to Understand Guide to the Rules of Soccer *