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Do Soccer Players Wear Eye Black?

Do Soccer Players Wear Eye Black?

Eye black is a great way to improve a player’s vision during gameplay. Athletes that participate in games such as American football or baseball often wear black stripes under their eyes.

This black stripe is popularly referred to as eye black. For them, the eye black plays a major role during games. When it comes to soccer, players do not wear eye black.

For many in the soccer world, eye black has more of a cultural effect than actually having any scientific evidence to back its use.

In this article, you will understand why soccer players do not eye black. You will also see places, if any, where eye black can favor soccer players and improve their performance. Do soccer players wear eye black?

No, they don’t. Eye black is a culture popular in American football, baseball, and basketball. In soccer, there has never been an occurrence when a professional soccer player walked onto the pitch with black stripes under their eyes.

An American football player

Although some people have claimed there are benefits associated with eye black, it is yet to become a popular habit among soccer players.

According to experts, eye dark can help to lower the impact of glare effects coming from stadium lights and sunlight. Soccer stadiums are lit with lights and the game is often played under the sun. Yet, the practice of using eye black has just not caught up with players in the sport.

Do soccer players wear eye black?

First of all, they don’t. Currently, eye black is most popular in American sporting activities. Just like other sporting activities played under natural or artificial light, soccer players are often exposed to the glare but it doesn’t seem to affect game performance.

If eye black should ever become a popular culture in the game of soccer, it has to be accepted globally. This implies that soccer players from all over the world have to acknowledge the habit and stick with it to promote its use.

The IFAB and FIFA are yet to agree that there’s any significant effect of using eye black in games. Maybe that’s why it’s not officially in the Laws of the Game.

To be fair, other sports that use eye black do not necessarily have it enshrined in its laws for players to adorn their faces with the black grease. So if or when top professional soccer players start wearing it, it’ll catch on with others

Why should soccer players even adopt the habit of wearing eye black? There are many reasons to motivate soccer officials to mandate players to wear eye black.

However, for other sports that use the eye black, here are some benefits they claim it offers. Using some of these benefits, let’s try to make a case on why soccer players should use eye black – maybe it’ll be enough motivation someday for soccer players to start putting on the eye black.

Why Football Players Wear Eye Black
  • Improves players’ vision

Vision and its associated visibility benefits are an important aspect of soccer. With all of its accommodated variants of the game, there’s yet to be any that does not need proper vision to play.

When there’s obstruction of vision or reduced visibility, soccer players cannot give their best performance – they’ll practically be running around the field like hungry chickens.

Whether indoor or outdoor, soccer is played with the full brightness of light as humanly possible. Where there’s light, especially at the intensity of brightness needed in soccer stadiums, glare becomes a problem to contend with.

So how exactly does eye black improve vision? Well, proponents of eye black believe that since the human still absorbs a little fraction of light, the bulk of it gets reflected. This reflection is what causes the glare we have earlier talked about.

By applying black stripes (eye black) underneath the eyes, they believe the greater part of the light that should have been reflected, gets further absorbed. It is said to improve contrast sensitivity, allowing players to differentiate dark areas from lighter ones.

  • Soccer is a game of all-weather

There is no specific time specially made for soccer games. This implies that the game can be played during the rain, sun, winter, etc.

Since it can be played in the morning, afternoon, and night, soccer players need to protect their vision from any source of light. With both indoor and outdoor variants to the game, there’s no time of the day or season that the sport is not played.

If one escapes the glare of sunlight during the day in open soccer stadiums, one is sure to experience the glare at night or indoors from all of that overhead lights shining and beaming down on the pitch.

There is a soccer match in the rain

  • Improves performance

Without a proper vision, your performance will decline with time. No matter how skillful you appear to be, highly intense sunlight can lower your performance and your potential to perform excellently.

To be fair to the advocates of eye black, if indeed it does promote better vision, then it is directly linked to the overall performance of a player.

A defender trying to make a long shot across the pitch to a midfielder or a striker, during a game on a sunny day, may have to squint to locate the exact position of his teammate. If eye black helps improve vision, then it’ll allow the defender to make a more precise shot across the field.

Why soccer players do not wear eye black?

As the most popular and most-watched game in the world, boasting over 3 billion viewers, it’s safe to say the sport has found a way to entertain and continues to do so. From the official creation of the sport till this very moment, the sport has existed without players wearing eye black.

It’s either there’s not much need for eye black or soccer fans, players, managers, and enthusiasts just really don’t care about it – you’ll find it difficult to see any professional soccer players walk into the pitch with eyes black.

Why then do soccer players maintain their distance from eye black? It’s hard to hit the nail on the head with all the right answers but one can speculate that these are some of the reasons eye black just hasn’t caught up with the soccer world.

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1. Culture

Every sport has its uniqueness and culture. Soccer is just not known to be associated with eye black. Since the game has existed for centuries without players adopting the habit of wearing the eye black, it will be a difficult culture to adopt.

Change, although inevitable, is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. Most soccer players prefer to play with already existing structures and rules.

Stepping out into the field of play with an eye black may come off in a controversial way to spectators. You can always trust soccer news agencies to milk it dry for what it’s worth.

Eye black is a culture that is more popular in American football and baseball. This can come off a bit as pride but for a sport that has continuously enjoyed the success it has for centuries, it seems fair to have it (pride of course).

There’s no need to state the obvious about the unspoken rivalry between American football and what they called European soccer. Soccer as a sport may not want to be caught copying or stealing a display openly known to be popular in American football and baseball.

Soccer and World Cup Bring Worlds Together | National Geographic

2. Players are comfortable without eye black

Soccer players have been playing for years without showing concern for eye black. This implies that they are comfortable playing without a black stripe placed under their eyes.

Assuming that the majority of the players have complained to soccer officials about the glare of sunlight or stadium light, eye black could have been considered as a mandatory safety outfit to wear.

Even if a professional soccer player decides to adopt the habit of wearing eye black during a competition, other players may not follow suit immediately.

This is because people are slow in adapting to new habits. Some players may feel uncomfortable wearing black eyes in public, especially in a sport that has, over the years, shown it doesn’t need it.

The soccer players in blue are celebrating


3. Soccer has rules

Soccer is a game of rules. Players are made to obey these rules and regulations. Aside from the major rules outlined by FIFA and other organizers, each team has its own rules and regulations guiding players.

Violating any of these rules and guidelines attracts sanctions and punishment. The Laws of the Game has a section that governs players’ equipment. The last time the Laws of the Game was updated, it still had no mention of an eye black.

Players are groomed to abide by these rules and regulations. Although there’s no law against wearing eye black, many soccer players would rather avoid the heat it may generate and just focus on more important things.

Soccer Rules | Football Rules | Beginner Guide

4. Some people think it represents intimidation

Not everyone supports eye black. Some professionals think that players that wear the eye black are hoping to intimidate their opponents; strange, I know!

Others see this habit as a war paint often used to scare away the opponent and make them submissive during the game. Hence, many soccer officials across the globe are not in support of the eye black.

They want games to appear friendly between teams to enhance sportsmanship behavior. Playing with eye black may make the player look offensive and lead to more aggressive play.

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When should soccer players wear eye black?

Some games are played only as indoor sports. Others are played only during winter. However, soccer is a game that can be played both indoors or outdoors and in any weather.

If ever wearing eye black became a thing in soccer, players would have to ensure it is worn at the right time. If you choose to wear the eye black, you may consider wearing it in any of the following periods;

While playing under the sun

Even if your visions are in perfect condition, sunlight can still affect you during the game. Before walking onto the soccer pitch, you may want to line your eyes, if you notice that the sun will hang high during the game. Taking this action will improve your performance and mobility during the competition.

When the stadium lights are turned on

Not every soccer game is played during the day. Sometimes, soccer officials prefer to hold a tournament at night. During the night competition, the stadium’s lights are turned on to enable players to see clearly and play effortlessly.

These stadium lights are designed to illuminate the stadium with bright lights. As a result of these bright lights, some soccer players may find it challenging to see clearly.

the stadium lights are turned on

Where should you wear the eye black?

By its functionality of helping improve vision, eye black is worn under the eyes or around the eyes; if you’re trying to be extra. It is called eye black for a reason.

By location, it should be worn at the stadium before or during gameplay. This, of course, is assuming eye black has become mainstream in soccer.

Taking a cue from other sports where it is worn, these are places where eye black can be used for it to have the desired meaning.

Should you wear eye black for soccer?

This entirely depends on you and what you intend to achieve. When playing in a top-rated competition or tournament, you’ll need to seek permission from the match official before you’ll be allowed to wear an eye black.

This is because it is alien to the sport and the match official has to ascertain that it is not only safe for you but not a danger to other players. To avoid bias, he has to ensure the eye black won’t give you an unfair advantage over other players on the pitch.

Before we leave this as it is, why exactly do you want to wear eye black to play soccer?

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Drawbacks of wearing eye black in soccer?

We can go on and on about the perceived benefits of wearing eye black. It’s only fair to again highlight some of the drawbacks should you decide to wear eye black to play professional soccer.

Resistance from coaches

Eye black does not have a place in soccer games. So if you must wear it for training or competition, you need to speak to your coach first.

They clearly understand that any mistake made by a player can affect the general performance of the team. They may fear the eye black may bring discomfort or even be counterproductive and impair vision.

Except on health grounds, the soccer coach may turn down your request of wearing eye black during a game. The opponent’s coach too may resist if he feels it’s an undue advantage to the team.

Resistance from teammates

Soccer is a team sport. You require a team to emerge with success at any competition. If your teammates fail to acknowledge your decision to wear eye black, you may not enjoy playing with them. Even if your coach approves your request, you still have to make your teammates accept your decision.

Resistance from fans

Soccer fans already know players with unique attributes or modes of dressing. When you decide to add eyes black to your regular outfit, some of your fans may dislike the choice you just made.

In a time of cultural inclusivity, some fans may consider it offensive and resist it. Soccer fans may not seem all that but it is their dedication to the sport that has kept it alive for centuries.

The fans will always have a say in things like this. They’ll either accept it, try to come to terms with it, or outrightly reject it.

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In other sports, eye black is generally accepted by coaches and teammates. However, in soccer, people have a different opinion.

Maybe if professional players decide to promote the habit, soccer players may have a change of heart to wear it. If you ever see a player wearing eye black, keep in mind that the person has a primary purpose for coming out with such an outfit.

Before you consider wearing the eye black for a competition, you may need to make some considerations to ensure everyone approves of it. You must seek the opinion of your coaches and teammates to make sure that you are on the right track.