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What Equipment Do You Need For Soccer?

What Equipment Do You Need For Soccer?

Every sport has a unique history that showcases its evolution to what it has currently become. A crucial aspect of sports is the equipment used to play them.

More than the nature and style of play of the sport, a major distinguishing factor that sets them apart is the types of equipment used.

Not all protective equipment used in similar sports have successfully found their way into soccer. Not because they are not needed, but because the style of play and uniforms may not allow it.

When you watch a soccer game or play the sport, have you ever wondered how all of its equipment came to be or why it was chosen? The question remains valid, especially when you examine the facts that most of the equipment used in soccer today did not exist when the game was first officially introduced as a sport.

If we take into account all of the various accessories used in the sport, the list of equipment in soccer will be exhausting. So, this article examines the most significant equipment used in soccer.

What equipment do you need for soccer?

The game of soccer involves several active participants like the players, referees, and coaches. Others are team owners, sponsors, fans, regulatory bodies, etc.

However, to help with a more detailed and concise list of equipment, we’ll focus on the equipment necessary for a soccer game to take place. This will include both training and on-field equipment.

Furthermore, the equipment will be divided into two broad categories namely the necessary equipment used by soccer players and match referees.

Necessary equipment for soccer players

Although association football is the most popular variant of soccer, we will also make comparisons with other variants and observe their differences.

Soccer ball

It is one of the most significant pieces of equipment in the sport. Players are required to move it around and win the game by scoring more goals than the opponent team.

The ball has always been an important piece of the game’s equipment from its inception to this day.

According to the association football game’s laws, a ball is considered suitable for use in soccer if it satisfies these five parameters.

  • Shape: the ball’s shape must be spherical.
  • Material type: it must be made from appropriate materials used to produce the different ball layers. These layers include the cover, panels, linings, bladders, and valves.
  • Pressure: it should fall within a range of 8.5 psi to 15.6 psi.
  • Weight: Before starting a match, the ball must weigh within the range of 14 oz to 16 oz.
  • Circumference: the ball’s circumference must be at least 27 inches and, at most, 28 inches.

three parameters of soccer ball in association football

In Futsal, soccer balls have to meet the following specifications to be considered suitable for use. These include:

  • Shape: it must be spherical.
  • Material type: it is made from leather or any other material that isn’t dangerous to the players and match officials.
  • Pressure: it ranges from 8.8 psi to 13.2 psi.
  • Weight: this should be between 13.7 oz and 15.5 oz.
  • Circumference: Ideally, a size 4 ball is used for adults. It has a circumference between 24 inches and 25 inches.

three parameters of soccer ball in indoor soccer

The official ball requirements in beach soccer include:

  • Shape: the ball must also be spherical
  • Material type: it is made of leather or any material type that is not susceptible to degradation by abrasions and water.
  • Pressure: it should be between 5.87 psi and 8.82 psi.
  • Weight: the ball should not weigh less than 14 oz or be heavier than 15.5 oz.
  • Circumference: it shouldn’t be less than 26.7 inches and wider than 27.6 inches.

three parameters of soccer ball in beach soccer

There are no mandatory requirements for color. As long as the ball’s chosen color can easily be seen by the players, match officials, and spectators, it is allowed on the pitch.

Although they can come in several designs, the Telstar is preferred in top tournaments.

Fun fact: Since the 1970 FIFA World Cup to date, Adidas has provided the official match balls for all of the tournament’s matches.

Since most of the other variants of soccer have smaller pitch sizes, the standard size of their balls varies.

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Shin guards/pads and guard sleeves

Shin guards were introduced early on in soccer in the late 1800s, about a decade after the sport was officially recognized and its rules created.

Shin guards are a piece of protective equipment used to protect the shin from injuries. They are among the compulsory equipment listed in association football’s Laws of the Game. Players will not be allowed on the pitch if they don’t have them on.

soccer player wears shin guards inside red socks

Shin guard sleeves are additional accessories worn to keep the shin guards firmly in place. These guard sleeves became popular because not all soccer players are comfortable using tapes to hold the shin guards in place.

Shin guards and sleeves can be used in all variants of soccer except in beach soccer. Although it is a mandatory protective piece of equipment in other soccer variants, its use in beach soccer is prohibited.

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This piece of equipment is part of the newer additions to soccer. They revolutionized the soccer sock industry by providing a better grip of the player’s feet in the cleats.

They come with numerous non-slip pads on the outside and inside the socks. As the feet begin to sweat during gameplay, it activates these pads to ensure the player’s feet are not slipping or sliding around in the cleats.

Just like soccer socks, they come in long and short lengths to cater to the player’s preference.

With their functionality, they can be used in other variants of soccer except for beach soccer. Like shin guards, Trusox is also banned in beach soccer.

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Soccer socks

This piece of equipment is one of the mandatory equipment in soccer. Players are expected to wear them before coming on the pitch. What is not mandated or stated in the game’s laws is the length of the socks.

One of the important reasons socks were introduced was to help hold the shin guards in place. The socks should fully cover the shin guards to hold them in place effectively.

soccer player wears red socks with one leg putting on the red soccer ball

They should also be made of a breathable material to allow easy airflow and reduce discomfort from the heat on the legs. This piece of equipment is also not used in beach soccer.

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Soccer uniform or kit

It is the most conspicuous piece of equipment for a soccer player. A soccer uniform is made up of a jersey (shirt) and shorts.

The jersey and shorts are listed as compulsory pieces of equipment in the game’s laws. An additional requirement for the shirts is that they must have sleeves.

These sleeves are either short or long, depending on the prevailing weather conditions at the time and the player’s preference.

Ideally, each team has at least two uniforms that show when they play at home or travel for an away match at the professional level. However, no rule stipulates that this must be followed. There are many instances where teams have worn away uniforms to play at home.

What is required by law is that both teams wear distinguishing uniforms that differentiate them from the match referees. Only the outfield players in a team must wear matching colored jerseys.

According to the game’s laws, not only can the goalie opt for a different uniform color, they are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms whenever they like.

To avoid the player’s discomfort, uniforms are made from sweat-wicking polyester fabric. The jersey, and sometimes the shorts, usually has the player’s assigned number.

In the top professional soccer tournaments, soccer players’ names are also written on the jersey. The number and names on uniforms are added to easily identify the player by match officials, scorers and commentators, players, and spectators.

Sponsor logos and tournament badges are also attached to the uniforms. The tournament’s association determines the size of these.

For all variants of soccer, uniforms remain a compulsory piece of equipment.

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Soccer footwear, popularly known as cleats, is also a compulsory piece of equipment in the game. Cleats help protect the player’s feet from ball impact and tackles.

Modern soccer cleats have come a long way since their official introduction to the game. Cleats now come in different types and designs to help improve the playing performance of players.

They come with laces or are strapless to meet the needs of different feet. They are made from leather or synthetic materials.

In association soccer, cleats have several studs underneath to help with traction and friction on the pitch. They also help improve a player’s balance as they move and run around the pitch.

The cleat’s upper surface is designed to allow for better ball control and kicking abilities.

girl wearing soccer cleats

They come in different types depending on the surface of the pitch. These are turf cleats, firm ground, soft ground, hard ground, and indoor cleats. To ensure the longevity of the cleats, it’s best to use them on pitch surfaces they were designed for.

Each soccer variant has cleats designed for effective playing on the pitch. However, since cleats are prohibited in beach soccer, there are no cleats designed for the sport.

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Goalkeeper gloves

Goalies wear them to protect their hands during soccer. However, it is not part of soccer’s compulsory piece of equipment.

Goalies can decide to wear them or take them off at any point in the game. They are mostly worn because of their padded design to help reduce injuries from shots.

goalkeeper wearing red and white gloves

From its history, goalies struggled to accept its use until around the 1980s. Since then, manufacturers have incorporated advanced technological designs to improve its functionality.

The gloves come in different sizes to cater to goalies’ different hand sizes. A more recent innovation is spiky gloves. Since its launch, it has gained rapid popularity among soccer goalkeepers.

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The Goal & Net

The goal is an essential piece of equipment in soccer. Apart from Freestyle soccer, all other variants of soccer have a goalpost. Without its presence on the pitch, an official soccer match cannot occur.

The goalpost comprises two vertical poles supporting a crossbar at both ends. The vertical poles and crossbar must have the same shape and be made from the same material. Some goal posts have supporting poles on the backside to help hold the net in place.

female soccer player is going to kick the ball into the goal

Due to the size of the pitch, association football has the biggest goalpost by dimension. It has a height of 2.44 meters from the inside of the crossbar to the goal line. However, measured from the insides of the vertical poles, it has a width of 7.32 meters.

Nets are not mandated to be used in soccer. Still, most tournaments and competitions have it included on the goal post. The purpose of nets is to secure balls that go through the goal line to help the match referee ascertain if a goal was scored or not.

There are different types of soccer nets. It is the referee’s job to examine both nets before the start of a match to ensure there are no holes. This is done to prevent goal controversies during the match.

For comparison, these are the dimensions for the goalpost in other types of soccer.

Note: all measurements are taken from the insides of the vertical poles and crossbar.

  • Beach soccer: It has a height of 2.2 meters and a width of 5.5 meters.
  • Indoor soccer: it is 3.65 meters wide and has a height of 1.98 meters.
  • Street soccer: Although it varies because of the informal nature of the game, it has a standard height of 1.2 meters and a width of 3.65 meters.
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They are not a popular piece of equipment in soccer, but some players wear them to protect their mouths. As a contact sport, the teeth, tongue, gum, and lips are susceptible to injuries.

Although professional soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo have openly admitted to wearing one, it is yet to become mainstream at the professional level.

This could be because it can sometimes feel bulky to the mouth. After all, it doesn’t come with an adjustable fit and can make breathing and talking difficult if you’re not used to it.

Another possible reason is that soccer does not have time-outs or short breaks like boxing. During these short breaks in boxing, boxers can remove the mouthguard, rinse and reinsert it back into the mouth. Soccer games do not have the luxury of time-outs.

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Athletic tapes

It is one piece of equipment that doesn’t get the accolades it deserves. Yet, these tapes are used by soccer players at all game levels.

They can be used to hold other body equipment in place and prevent injuries. For example, they are used as splints for broken fingers or braces for the wrist to avoid wrist injuries. Goalies also tape their fingers to reduce injuries when gripping and catching balls.

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Training equipment

These pieces of equipment are used during training practices and are essential to developing players’ skills and performances.

1. Practice clothes/tracksuits

Undoubtedly, soccer players are not expected to show up to training sessions wearing the uniforms they use on match days. These practice clothes help them engage in all necessary physical activities.

These clothes must be made of breathable and expandable material to ease training. At the professional level of the sport, just like with the uniforms, practice clothes are provided by the team’s sportswear manufacturers.

Tracksuits can also be used as warm-up clothes for players not training or playing during games. Since there are no makeshift changing rooms close to the pitch, substitute players wear the uniforms underneath tracksuits until they are told to prepare for substitution.

One of the possible reasons why a team’s substitutes wear tracksuits is to avoid confusion with on-field players. In addition, during cold weather conditions, they serve as an ideal insulation clothing to keep players on the bench warm.

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2. Cones

They are a common sight during training sessions. Soccer coaches use them to mark out areas for drills and other specific training activities.

kid practicing with soccer ball and orange cones

The cones are either tall or flat and can come in different colors. Although there are no specifications on color choices, it’s paramount that the chosen color is easily visible. So it’s no surprise that orange-colored cones are usually preferred to stand out against the green background of a typical soccer field.

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3. Agility ladders

Agility skill plays a vital role in soccer players’ success on the field. This is why drills are intentionally incorporated into players’ training to help improve the skill.

soccer training with agility ladder

A good way to achieve this is with the use of agility ladders. They are made from simple everyday materials and can also be used as a warm-up exercise for substitute players before entering the pitch.

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4. Water bottle

As an intense sport, players are easily susceptible to dehydration after drills and gameplays. Water bottles hold water and electrolytes to help players recover and replenish energy.

They are provided in sufficient numbers during training sessions and on match day. However, players use them mostly during halftime or when the game is on hold for medical need or substitution.

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5. Kitbag

It is used to carry equipment needed by players during training or on match day. It comes in different sizes and can accommodate things from drill equipment to simple clothing.

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6. Soccer rebounders

taut net hung on a metal frame as a soccer rebounder

During training sessions, rebounders are used by players and goalkeepers to improve on shootings, throw-ins, passes and catching accuracy. They can be made as a board, or a taut net hung on a metal frame.

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7. Soccer leggings/tights

The rules of soccer allow for leggings and other types of accessories. The only rule is that they must have the same color as the shorts or uniform they’ll be used with.

Tights are usually worn during cold and wet seasons to help players stay warm. When muscles get cold, they are more prone to injuries and can ultimately affect the player’s performance.

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Necessary equipment for soccer referees

Soccer referees are the sport’s laws representative and enforcers. Official soccer matches cannot start without the presence of these officials.

Their duties span from starting and ending matches to ensuring fair play for both teams. To effectively carry out these duties, soccer referees have pieces of equipment that make them stand out from players on the pitch and make it easy to enforce laws fairly.

soccer referee holding a flag

Referee uniform/kit

These comprise the jersey and the shorts. Irrespective of the gender of the referee, the Jersey and shorts must have at least a breast pocket and back pockets, respectively. These are needed to hold other essentials like cards, a record book, and a pen.

Ideally, at the professional level, the jersey would have a badge with the name and year of the tournament for which they’re officiating. The badge should also include the highest grade of the referee.

The shorts are usually black, with Jersey having different color shades. However, what is most important is that the referee’s jersey should be distinguishable from the jerseys on the playing teams.

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The referee’s socks are usually black and must have a knee-length height. The sock would usually bear a badge or other markings to represent the tournament’s name and year for top-level competitions.

soccer referee wearing long black socks


Going by the game’s laws, all referees’ footwear must be black or have the color black as the predominant color.

Like soccer players, referee’s shoes are not known as cleats because they are allowed to wear other types of footwear, including cleats. Yet, at the professional level, you’ll see most referees on cleats because it gives the same advantage on the pitch to the players.

Referees make quick runs and turns and rely on cleats’ studs to help with their balance and stability.

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Disciplinary cards set & accessories

In association soccer, the match referee moves around with two colored cards—cautionary card (Yellow card) and send-off card (Red Card).

red and yellow cards and a whistle

The referee carries a record notebook and a pen to record the cautioned or sent-off player’s name and number. These are safely kept in the breast and back pockets until when needed.

To decide the team to kick off the game, soccer referees carry a small coin that they toss before the team’s captains.

In indoor soccer, referees carry around three colored cards—blue, yellow, and red. A Blue card is issued for a less offense that doesn’t warrant a yellow card.

Other types of soccer make use of the two known colors of cards.

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This piece of equipment is used to start, stop and restart play. Only the referee’s whistle blow is honored to stop play.

Players must listen keenly to the sound of the whistle. Failure to stop or restart play when it is blown can be regarded as deliberately delaying the game and can lead to a foul.

They’re either held in hand or around the neck.

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Watch/timing device

All variants of soccer have a standard duration of play. The referee is the only official on the pitch that decides halftime and full-time.

He or she wears a watch with a stop-start feature to keep track of time. People often underestimate the workload of referees during gameplays.

They use the watch to determine the exact time to begin the match. They must stop the timer whenever there’s a significant stoppage during the game. The referee must include this stoppage time into the half’s playtime to ensure the match runs its full duration.

The Assistant Referee assists him to ensure the time delay is accounted for.

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Referee Flags

Referees use the corner flags on each field corner to determine what side of the line the ball went across. If it crosses the goal line side of the flag, a corner or goal kick is awarded. If it crosses over the touchline, then a throw-in is awarded.

referee holding a flag with red and yellow colors

The assistant referees run around the outside of the pitch with flags to communicate to the match referee and other onlookers. In addition, they have hand signals that represent each action like corner kicks, throw-ins, offsides, etc.

With the inclusion of modern technology, electronic flags have been introduced to the game. With a push of a button on the flag, the assistant referee can quickly signal the match referee and draw his attention to something.


With improvement in soccer technology, soccer referees use this piece of equipment to make a two-way communication between themselves. Assistant referees outside the field and the Video Assistant Referees can communicate information to the match referee during the game.

It is not a compulsory piece of equipment for referees but is often used at the professional level of the sport.

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Vanishing spray can

Players, intentionally or otherwise, try to gain the advantage whenever the opportunity presents itself. The vanishing spray was introduced to help the referee mark or draw a line from where he or she feels a direct freekick should be taken.

The spray was designed to disappear from the pitch’s surface after some minutes to avoid interfering with the standard markings on the pitch.

The vanishing spray is usually hung around the waist to avoid discomfort and impede runs.

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Number board

This is the primary piece of equipment for the fourth official. This referee supervises substitutions and informs the referee on the number of minutes to be added in each half.

Unlike in the past, today’s number board is mostly electronic and is held high for all players and onlookers to see. When a substitution is to occur, it shows the player number of the on-field player and that of the substitute.

What safety equipment is required for soccer?

man putting his foot on the red soccer ball

Not all of the equipment used in soccer exists for safety. Some of these pieces of equipment, because of the nature of the sport, were introduced to protect players during gameplay.

Although safety is a priority in the sport, not all the equipment is compulsory. These additional safety equipment are subject to the player’s preference.

The shin guard is one of the mandatory safety equipment in soccer. It is worn to protect the shin from injuries.

Shoes are worn in soccer to protect the feet. Depending on the pitch surface, different footwear is worn by players. However, as a piece of compulsory equipment, the basic requirement is that it covers the entire feet of players without compromising their shooting abilities.

Mouthguards are worn to protect the mouth. It works by protecting the player and other players on the pitch. Dangerous plays in soccer can cause broken teeth, injured gums, as well as bleeding tongue, and lips.

Goalkeeper’s gloves are worn to protect the fingers, wrists, and palms from fractures and possible injuries. They are not compulsory pieces of equipment but are often worn by most goalies.

Leggings/tights function to reduce muscle cold by providing an additional layer of warmth on the skin. It also helps reduce injuries when players slide across the pitch surface.

The use of headgear is not mainstream in soccer, but it is one of those equipment allowed in the sport. As long as it doesn’t pose a threat to the player or other players on the pitch, the match referee can allow it to be used.

A good example of this is the headgear worn by Petr Čech. Although worn after a serious head fracture, he was allowed to wear it after to prevent another occurrence.

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Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

An athletic tape around the wrists, ankles, and fingers can help prevent injuries like fractures. Soccer players on all levels of the game have used it to treat fractures and prevent fractures.


For soccer to be at the elite level it is today, a lot of planning and rules have been adapted and upgraded to ensure fair play to teams. To achieve all these successes, pieces of equipment are provided to make gameplay and officiating easy.

Players are provided with modern equipment designs to help them play skillfully and deliver superb performances. These pieces of equipment range from little things like socks with grip pads to enhanced jerseys.

The same applies to the match officials. While soccer has several mandatory pieces of equipment, nothing stops you from enjoying the game on the streets with your friends.