Soccer goalkeepers are the last line of defense against the opposition’s efforts to score and anyone that wants to play in that position requires a couple of vital gear. Not only are soccer goalies allowed to play with their hands but the penchant for diving onto both sides of the goalposts to keep balls out exposes them to various injuries.
This article answers the question “What Gear Does A Soccer Goalie Need?” by discussing the vital gear soccer goalies require to thrive in the position. We also delve into the functionality of each of the gear on our list and how critical they can be to the goalie’s performance.
What Gear Does A Soccer Goalie Need?
Soccer goalies require specialized goalkeeping gloves, padded shorts or pants, padded jerseys, and cleats. Shin guards, glove towels, headgear, finger tapes, and knee pads are additional gear that could help goalkeepers play to maximum potential while minimizing injuries.
Goalkeeping is probably the most important position on the soccer field because a bad goalkeeper can be more costly to a team’s chances of winning. Even the best goalkeepers experience bad days sometimes and their teams end up paying massively for it when that occurs.
Here is the most essential gear goalies require to produce maximum performances every time. The majority of the gear is usually inscribed with the goalkeeper’s jersey number for easy identification.
1. Goalkeeper Gloves
A goalkeeper’s gloves are probably the most important gear since it enables safe physical contact with the ball during the game. Unlike the outfield players, goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands as and when necessary.
The gloves are designed in a palm shape typically made from latex to enable easy movement of the individual fingers while protecting the wrists and other areas of the hands from exposure to injury. Soccer balls may be hit with explosive power but the correct hand gloves enable goalies to stop them when possible without problems.
Goalkeeper’s gloves come in various colors, brands, and materials so proper market research can be essential to finding the best option.
Headgear could be literally lifesaving for goalkeepers due to the delicate nature of their playing position. Diving to one side of the goalposts or another and physical clashes with other players are leading causes of concussions among keepers.
Soccer is a heavy contact sport meaning collisions cannot be eliminated despite best efforts. But wearing the right headgear has proven to protect goalies from the majority of the head injuries sustained on the playing field.
Experts believe even outfield players should wear headgear to guard against potential head injuries during practice sessions and on game days.
3. Protective Leggings
Protective leggings complement padded shorts to provide maximum shielding of every area of the goalkeeper’s legs during practice and official games. Although the leggings offer minimal impact protection, turf burn is greatly reduced when worn while promoting greater flexibility compared with pants.
Protective leggings should match the color of the padded shorts to prevent keepers from getting into trouble with the referees. Professional clubs offer these shorts to goalkeepers but amateurs are usually required to order their own.
4. Padded Shorts
Diving and sliding are key aspects of a goalkeeper’s game during attempts to keep balls out of their nets. Heavy landing on the field or astroturf may expose goalies to various injuries that could keep them on the sidelines for weeks or even months.
Wearing padded shorts protects their bodies from impact and turf burn in the course of the game. They are especially critical for sweeper keepers that play the game aggressively with a penchant for coming out of their goalposts quickly.
We recommend choosing padded shorts that offer additional protection in the thigh and tailbone area to ensure maximum performance from goalkeepers, especially after drawn games where penalty kicks may be used as a tiebreaker.
5. Padded Jerseys
Padded jerseys are another important gear for goalkeepers in soccer. Unlike other sports like ice hockey, goalies are not allowed to wear the same uniform as the outfield players to enable referees to provide more protection for them.
The majority of goalkeepers prefer longsleeved padded jerseys with built-in protection for the arms, elbows, and other areas. These shirts often come in brightly-colored designs to allow easy recognition by teammates during the heat of the action.
For instance, a goalkeeper that comes out of his goal to defend a ball should be instantly noticeable to teammates. This could alert them to shield the keeper from collisions and other common forms of injury.
6. Soccer Cleats
Goalkeepers are supposed to wear the right-fitting cleats just like other players to enable proper kicking of the ball. The cleats should also promote stability on the playing field to prevent slips and falls that may be costly to the goalie’s teammates.
Slips and falls are also a common source of serious injury in soccer and this explains why the right cleats should be worn at all times. We recommend that goalies have different types of cleats to match the nature of their playing field at different periods.
For instance, Soft Ground cleats are more suitable for muddy conditions while Firm Ground cleats are engineered to meet the requirements of regular, non-soft playing fields.
7. Cleat Insoles
Premium insoles come in handy by promoting maximum traction and responsiveness from the worn cleats. Foot slippage is a common problem in soccer players and the presence of these insoles ensures proper comfort for the wearer.
The right insoles keep the feet in place to encourage explosive speeds which may come in handy during aerial ball challenges or when keepers are forced to come out of their eighteen yards to defend against potentially dangerous situations.
The right insoles also guarantee more traction on the playing field which enables goalkeepers to give off their best.
8. Shin Guards
The shin is one of the most exposed parts of a soccer player’s body regardless of the position. Taking a kick to the shin happens almost every game which is why shin guards are such essential gear for the modern goalkeeper.
Shin guards come in different shapes and sizes and keepers are recommended to find a balance between securing the right protection without experiencing a slow down during movements. Heavier shinguards tend to be the main culprits in terms of slowing down goalkeeper movements.
Shin guards are also mandatory equipment according to the FIFA handbook meaning referees do not allow players without shin guards to play the game.
9. Glove Towels
Maximum hand glove grip can be the difference between an outstanding goalkeeping performance and fluffing the lines. Glove towels are critical because it enables players to maintain exceptional grip throughout the 90 minutes of play even during unfavorable weather.
This does not only offer players increased confidence but also eliminates the risk of ball-dropping and other incidents in the course of the game. Glove towels come in many shapes and forms and could be hung in the keeper’s net when not in use.
All a goalkeeper needs is a few seconds of inaction to wipe their gloves with the towel to continue the game. These towels become even more essential during rainy situations when the gloves are at a high chance of contact with mud.
10. Finger Tapes
Noticed how the best players in the world start removing tape from their fingers at the end of games? This is because the use of athletic tapes offers more strength and stability to the joints in the gloved fingers to improve performance.
Catching, punching, and distributing balls with the hands become more flexible when finger tapes are worn. Finger tapes also serve as an extra layer of protection against finger and wrist injuries during collisions with other players. (Source)
11. Knee Pads
Goalkeepers experience extreme exposure to the knees during practice and official games. From diving across areas in their 18-yard box to tackling and sliding opponent players, a goalkeeper’s knees are susceptible to slips, falls, and other forms of impacts.
Knee injuries like Anterior Cruciate Ligaments and Medial Collateral Ligaments can keep players on the sidelines for long periods as they recover. Fortunately, wearing knee pads lowers the risk of impact against kicks to the knees from opponents as well as the impact from falls and other accidents.
12. Waterproof Jacket
Goalkeepers require waterproof jackets to keep warm just before the game starts. These jackets come in handy during warmups as they help ramp up the keeper’s internal temperatures which minimize the risk of injuries.
The warmed-up muscles absorb shock better which reduces the number of sustainable injuries on the playing field.
13. Backpack or Soccer Bag
Goalkeepers need a large backpack or specialized bag for storing essential gear especially when traveling for games. Bags come in different shapes and sizes so choosing one that can accommodate the goalkeeper’s bells and whistles while staying portable could be smart.
Soccer bags are common in sports shops and online so finding the right model should not be a problem as long as you’re willing to look around.
14. Mouth Guard
It is not uncommon for goalkeepers to suffer serious collisions resulting in dental injuries from knocked down teeth to tongue and gum problems. Wearing mouth guards offer protection for the most sensitive areas of the player’s oral cavity.
Mouth guards have also proven to improve performance by maximizing the amount of oxygen inhaled in the course of the game. This keeps goalkeepers more alert and enables them to meet the full rigors of the match.
Goalkeepers require essential gear to enhance on-field performance since they serve as guardians of the team’s goal posts. The right gear also offers protection against injuries while keeping players mentally and physically alert to meet the team’s needs.
Padded jerseys and padded shorts or pants are two of the most important accessories required because it enables players to dive, attack, and slide with minimal exposure to dangerous impact and turf burn. Mouthguards also protect the teeth and other areas of the mouth from injury.
Additional gear essential for playing the game include cleats, shin guards, and hand gloves for better stability in the game as well as protection from shin and hand injuries.