Soccer is a great game and has a reasonably low barrier to entry. As long as you have something to kick (preferably a ball), you are able to have a kick around or a game of soccer.
A lot of soccer clubs will not let you play without certain equipment. It’s for your own safety. Make sure you have every item on this soccer equipment list before you take part in a match of any level.
Must buy soccer clothing
You can’t run around a soccer pitch naked, or can you? You definitely can’t… not during an official match anyway.
It’s important that you have a set outfit for soccer training that will feel similar to what you wear on a matchday, there’s no point training in jeans and a shirt, it just doesn’t make sense to do so and it’d be uncomfortable.
Nobody needs to see you run around the pitch with your shirt off, fair enough if it’s a hot day and you’re partaking in an intense training session, however, in an official match you’ll not be able to play in skins.
When playing soccer you’ll want to wear a shirt that is light and doesn’t get stuck to you when you drench it in sweat.
You have a choice of two sleeve styles, short or long. While they do feel a little different, I always tend to opt for the long sleeve versions because you can always roll the sleeves up. Long sleeve shirts give the opposition a little extra to grab onto.
During training, you can wear whatever you want. However, if you’re playing for a club you’ll obviously have to wear their kit on matchday. Some clubs may expect you to buy their kit to play in, however, that’s very rare and they’ll often provide it themselves.
It should go without saying, don’t wear your favorite designer streetwear to training. The chances of it getting torn, ripped or covered in grass stains are fairly high.
There’s only one variant when it comes to soccer shorts and that’s the size. As long as they’re comfortable and fit you how you’d like them too, there are no issues. Again, your club should provide matchday shorts if needed.
Goalkeepers are able to wear sweatpants, Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly is famous for his grey sweatpants.
Outfield players can wear base layer tights/leggings/shorts as long as they’re the same color as your shorts.
I always wore different shorts from my teammates, as the clubs shorts were too small. You may find that this isn’t allowed at some levels though.
Long & thick socks are key when playing soccer. They’ll cover up your shin pads, prevent blisters and soften the impact of the ball on your foot. They’re cheap and will be easy to pick up from any sporting store.
Keep in mind the thickness of soccer socks when you’re buying your boots though. A tight size 10 may not fit once you’ve got these thick socks on.
There’s many different types of footwear for soccer. This can be frustrating when buying a new pair of cleats. Keep in mind what type of shoes you are buying and which surfaces you’ll most likely be playing on.
Artificial Grass (AG)
- Multi Ground (MG)
- Firm Ground (FG)
Some companies will not allow you on their pitches if you aren’t wearing the right footwear. Indoor shoes will work on every surface but you may have poor traction on some shoes. Blades are the most flexible type of studded shoes but in soft ground will not allow you much traction.
Protective soccer gear
This equipment is pretty much mandatory. If you get caught on the pitch without any of this gear, you put yourself at risk of getting injured and told to leave the pitch until come back with it on.
Shin Guards (MANDATORY)
You don’t want to play soccer without shin pads. Some players will try to get away without wearing them during training but this isn’t safe.
Shin guards will protect you from getting cuts, bruises and even worse. Your lower legs are prone to injury thanks to the heavy tackles that are involved in a game of football.
It’s fine not to wear these when you’re having a kick-around with your mates. Though if you’re trying to play in any serious match, the referee and coaches will not allow you on the pitch without wearing shin pads.
Your legs are incredibly vulnerable in soccer. Make sure you do all you can to protect them.
As a keeper, you’re going to be facing incredibly powerful shots. Some will be 120km/h+ depending on what kind of level you are playing at.
Keepers also have to punch and catch the ball. Goalie gloves take the sting out of shots, punches and will add extra grip that helps stop those hard shots.
There’s nothing worse than forgetting your gloves and having to play in goal on a cold day.
Soccer Equipment & Accessories
I suggest that you have 1 of everything listed below. These items are essential. It’s worth keeping a water bottle & ball pump in your bag at all times.
It should not come as a surprise, To play soccer you will need a soccer ball. You can play with almost anything though you should have a ball.
Soccer balls are incredibly cheap. They can range from $4.99-$200. Spending more money does not necessarily guarantee you a great ball.
I’d stick to official replicas from the Premier League, MLS, Champions League or International competitions such as European Championships, Copa America or World Cup.
If you already have a bike pump it may be as simple as getting a ball pump needle adaptor.
If you don’t already have a bike pump, a football pump is cheap. They often range between $3.99-$20.
Keep an eye on where you put it, I’m always forgetting where I placed mine. It might be a smart idea to get multiple and keep one in your sports bag.
Depending on where you’re located there may be a local park which already has a goal or two. Chances are they don’t have a net though, which if you’re playing alone can be incredibly frustrating.
Buying a small goal for your back garden may be a smart financial choice that will allow you to play whenever you want.
A goal isn’t necessary however it would be great to use for shooting and passing practice.
It’s incredibly important you stay hydrated.
As you play, you will sweat. This means you’re losing fluid as you play. Lack of hydration may lead to worse performance. Not only that but you may experience an increased rate of exertion and even increase the stress your heart has to withstand.
Plain water is great, you don’t need to spend money on well-marketed sports drinks. Here’s a great document on Fluids in Sport.
That’s all the soccer equipment you will need
If you buy or already own all of this equipment, you’re good to go.
You don’t need to break the bank to start playing soccer. Shoes will be the most expensive item you will have to buy but if you’re looking for a cheap pair there’s many brands that are reasonably priced.
If the weather is particularly bad it’s a good idea to have a change of clothes as well.