Soccer is a simple game and one that can be played with relatively little equipment. Almost anything can be worn for a simple kick-around between friends, but it is important to have the correct gear for more serious games. The basic gear needed for soccer helps to both enhance play and protect a person from injuries.
Shirt and Shorts
Soccer shirts can be long sleeved or short sleeved. The material needs to be durable in order to prevent the shirt from being torn during play. For informal games, it will obviously be up to you to decide what to wear. If playing for an official team, you will be supplied with the team shirt. Pants are too restrictive for most sports, including soccer. Shorts allow greater freedom of movement and help to keep you cool during play.
Shoes and Socks
Soccer shoe selection will depend upon the playing surface. Games played on grass require soccer shoes with cleats, the cleats helping you to grip on the soft surface. You don’t need cleats when playing on hard surfaces or artificial grass. Indoor soccer shoes are ideal for any hard surfaces. Having a good pair of soccer socks is important. The socks should be quite thick and strong to help protect your feet from blisters. Some players wear two pairs of socks, the double layer helping to minimize the friction caused by soccer shoes rubbing on the feet. Soccer socks should also be long, preferably knee length, as they help to hold the shin guards in place.
Shin guards strap around your lower leg, protecting your shins from impacts and cuts. Due to the nature of soccer, your shins are always vulnerable to injuries caused during heavy tackles. These lightweight guards provide effective protection and should be worn by players of all ages and abilities. If you are playing as a goalkeeper, you will need some gloves. Soccer goalkeeper gloves will give you greater grip on the ball and, more importantly, protect your hands when catching or punching the ball.
Soccer balls vary greatly in both cost and quality, however, it is worth buying a medium to high quality ball if you are planning on playing soccer often. Cheap balls soon suffer from wear and tear, making the purchase of a good ball a better long-term option. Also consider the weight and feel of ball. As stated by the Soccer Training Info website, “Many beginners prefer a softer ball and some advanced players favor a hard ball.”
If you are not playing on an actual soccer field with a permanent goal, you will need to improvise. A very basic goal can be marked out by cones, which is fine for quick, informal games, but it is very limited. Lightweight goal frames, designed for five-a-side soccer, are a good option if you want something small and mobile.