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Can You Have Acrylic Nails in Soccer?

Can You Have Acrylic Nails in Soccer?

The fundamentals of soccer are known by most soccer enthusiasts. In soccer, there are mainly two teams made up of eleven players each trying to score more goals than their opponent.

Soccer is the biggest sport in the world with over 250 million official soccer players who play the game in over 200 countries. However, over a billion people are playing the game frequently as a hobby—making it the leading sport in the world by participation.

The frenzy in the stands of Anfield Stadium

The international governing body of soccer FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) was not established in the country in which the game was invented but in France with its headquarters located in Zurich, Switzerland.

Soccer laws are always evolving as new ideas and technologies are being introduced to help in improving the game. The introduction of new ideas naturally leads to the change of existing counterproductive laws.

A few examples of these improvements are the goal-line technology used in deciding whether or not the ball has crossed a line and a team of additional referees carefully viewing a live video of the game with the intent of convincing the center referee to revise a decision by re-watching a scene in the game.

Most people have different opinions on whether having acrylic nails in soccer is appropriate or out of place. In this article, we shall focus on whether a player can have acrylic nails, the pros and cons, and if there are existing rules in soccer concerning this topic.

Can you have acrylic nails in soccer?    

Acrylic nails are artificial nails that are bonded onto your nails. Unlike press-on nails, acrylics are molded onto your nails and buffed into shape.

They are manufactured from methacrylate, a type of monomer liquid that is mixed with a polymer powder called PMMA (Poly (methyl methacrylate)). Once joined and processed, these chemicals can dry to a hard substance that is similar to fingernails.

The rule of soccer allows you to wear sporting gear such as shirts, shorts, and boots to safeguard yourself during the whole of the game but does not explicitly ban acrylic nails.

some acrylic nails

Technically, a player can put on acrylic nails but they would have to be very short or perhaps at the same level as your natural nails which defeats the aim of acrylic nails in the first place.

This is because, according to the laws of the game, a player can use gears or wear anything that is not dangerous to other players on the field. Players are to put into consideration the safety of other players participating in the game.

This is the same reason why pieces of jewelry are not allowed in soccer because they can pose a threat to other players.

It is possible to play soccer with acrylic nails, but the final call will be left to the referee. Nails that are very long or sharp may not be permitted.

Playing soccer with acrylic nails is not entirely prohibited, but the referee’s opinion is supreme where the nails are too long or too sharp. A referee can even stop the match if they spot fake nails that look unsafe and might ask the player to get rid of them.

While a referee’s opinion can make you remove your acrylic nails, this does not always mean that they are unsafe. Soccer players are very free to fix long acrylic nails as long as they aren’t using them on the soccer pitch.

Similar to acrylic nails, very long nails are not only unsafe but also uncomfortable. You may not execute at your best since such nails will disturb your grip. Long nails may also pose a health threat by acting as a pathway for bacterial infection and other nail complications.

some women soccer players are chasing the ball

Therefore, whether you choose acrylics or your natural nails, keeping them rounder and shorter will go a long way in keeping them healthy and even enhance your performance on the pitch.

Many soccer players go for normal polish or gel over acrylics and save long nail styles for the offseason. Below are the pros and cons of wearing acrylic nails in soccer:


  • They are very hard and resilient to damage
  • They provide a solid layer of protection for the real fingernails underneath
  • Acrylic nails can last for up to four weeks
Team USA Soccer Nails!⚽️💅🏻


  • Acrylic nails may pose a danger to other players in the case of scratching the opponent unintentionally when trying to tackle them
  • They can cause damage to natural nails underneath and a damaged nail is a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria
  • Any collision or blow to the nail can lift the natural nail at the base, this might be of great harm to the player wearing the nails in an event of an accident during the match 
  • The referee may consider them unsafe if they are too long or sharp which can end the player’s chance of participating in a crucial match
  • Due to the contact and balls involved in soccer, there is a high risk of damaging your nails or your fingers
  • It may stop you from playing your best due to fear of damaging the acrylic nails
  • Longer nails make it harder to put on soccer shoes and other equipment

Some soccer players may want to enjoy the trend of wearing acrylic nails in soccer. For example, American professional female soccer player Alex Morgan wore bright blue nail polish in the 2019 World Cup, but the nails were still reasonably short.

Can you have long nails and play soccer?   

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When you grow your nails long, you cannot help but admire how beautiful they look. Regardless of their beauty, they can restrict or constrain you from doing certain things, one of such things is playing soccer.

Playing soccer with long nails is likely but not recommended. One of the reasons is because you will possibly injure other players intentionally or unintentionally during the game. As you run to catch the ball or tackle another player, you can scratch them unknowingly.

Another reason is that long nails, particularly the toenails, make you vulnerable to injuries and infections. Therefore, to be safe, you should trim your nails before a match or during training.

As a soccer player, if you decide to keep your finger or toenails long, you should try to protect them from damage by wearing gloves and also opt for rounded nail shapes in place of pointed ones.

Some injuries that can occur due to long nails in soccer include:

  • Bloody Toenail

Bloody toenails are amongst the most common injuries in the game of soccer. This injury happens when your toenail experiences outward pressure when you kick a ball or when another player steps on you.

This injury can also occur when you wear tight or ill-fitting shoes. The pressure causes the blood vessels underneath your toenail, particularly the big toenail, to burst.

A toenail injury

  • Ingrown Toenail

Another common situation you will avoid by trimming your nails is the ingrown toenail. As a player, ingrown toenails can become an irritation if you insist on keeping your toenails long.

An ingrown nail is a nail growing downward into your toepad instead of stretching straight out. It is caused by the downward force from sprinting and running, which pushes the nail in this direction.

The surrounding soft tissues will experience inflammation due to an ingrown toenail. These tissues will become swollen, red, and painful to touch. Most times, the tissues may get infected with bacteria, releasing a yellow or white discharge.

Practicing good nail trimming helps prevent an ingrown toenail. You should trim your nails more often, leaving a small extension over the toepad.


However, nail trimming is not an assurance that you will never experience an ingrown toenail. Thus, when you do and notice it early, immerse your feet in warm Epsom salt water for about 25 minutes at least twice daily to help the healing process.

Also, you can shim under the infected nail edge with some cotton to aid the healing.

Can goalies have long nails? 

There is no rule limiting a goalkeeper from wearing long nails. However, wearing long or acrylic nails as a goalkeeper is a very risky decision.

Brad Heers, a USSF soccer and futsal referee, suggests that soccer goalkeeping and long or fake nails are pretty mutually exclusive if you want to perform well as a goalkeeper.

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Long nails should not be worn by goalies because the nails may not even fit suitably in their gloves. Moreover, they are putting themselves at huge risk of sustaining a nasty injury by wearing long nails.

Since goalkeepers are frequently handling the ball, long nails remain a safety hazard to them. It would be very easy for a nail to get severely bent or broken amidst an attempted save.

Experienced goalkeepers recommend keeping nails short and trimmed as long nails will possibly limit a goalkeeper’s efficiency and effectiveness. A goalkeeper will experience difficulties in catching the ball and might miss on some kicks, causing their team to lose a match.

The goalkeeper is flying to save the ball

On the other hand, a ball traveling at high speed might land accidentally on the nails, break them, or rip them off entirely. Therefore, as a goalkeeper, the best way to safeguard your fingernails is to keep them short and trimmed.


Playing soccer does not warrant you to express yourself in outlandish ways. Although there are no rules against wearing acrylic nails even though they look stylish and flatter the nails—a referee’s decision must be entirely obeyed.

The temptation to get acrylic nails might be high especially amongst professional female soccer players. They must take into consideration the fact that long acrylic nails are not only hazardous to them but also to their colleagues.

While playing soccer, your primary concern should be your safety and the safety of other players. Any add-ons or behavior that endangers your safety or that of other players is not acceptable.