Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide, but still trails other sports specifically basketball, baseball and American football in the USA. Nevertheless it’s become even more popular than American football since the US hosted the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup Soccer in 1994, and today there are millions of American men, women and children who play soccer in the US.
Youth soccer has become hugely popular in the US, for both boys and girls, and league soccer continues to grow both for the major and other professional leagues and lower divisions. College soccer has also increased in popularity in past decades. There are a number of national US teams that represent the country in international competitions, including those run by FIFA.
This of course means that those playing soccer need to know what sporting equipment is required, and they need to know the rules of the game. The also need to know what clothing (including custom uniforms) should be worn, though this is largely dependent on the level of soccer they are going to be playing.
As for all sports and games, there are very specific rules that apply to soccer both worldwide and in the US.
Rules for Soccer Equipment and Custom Uniforms in the US
The US International Football Association Board (IFAB) oversees the rules for soccer in the USA. Absolutely everything is covered, from the field of play, the ball and the players, to every possible legal kick. Of course the players’ equipment is also covered, which is where custom uniforms and other items come in.
Specifications for soccer balls cover size, weight, and pressure, to ensure the ball is firm enough.
The circumference of all balls must be between 27 and 28 ins (680 to 700 mm) and they must weigh between 14 and 16 oz (410 to 450 g). Balls used in official competitions organized by FIFA or its confederations must be of international match standard (IMS) or of FIF quality or Fifa quality PRO. These balls carry an official FIFA or IMS mark that shows the ball has been tested and proves that it meets the minimum specifications.
Defective balls may be changed during play, but only with permission from the referee.
Sporting Equipment and Custom Uniforms for Soccer
No equipment seen to be dangerous is allowed and players may not wear any form of jewelry.
All players must wear shorts, a shirt with sleeves, socks that should cover plastic or rubber shin guards, and suitable footwear. Goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms.
Teams playing against one another must wear distinguishing colors, and goalkeepers must wear different colors. If undershirts or undershorts (or tights) are worn, these must be the same color as the shirts and shorts.
Unlike American football that is a much more physical and aggressive game than soccer, protective gear like helmets, padding, and mouth guards are not required. However protective headgear, face masks, knee and arm protectors are all allowed provided they are made from soft, lightweight, padded material. Goalkeepers’ caps and sports spectacles are also allowed on the field.
Of course the rules are not so strict for novice games and non-official competitions, but there are some specific national rules that relate to educational institutions.
For instance, high schools and universities previously had to replace their custom uniforms every three to six years, because they played teams from other colleges on a rotating basis. Since 2013 teams have not been required to buy new soccer uniforms unless they were rotating their matches. Additionally:
- Home teams must wear plain white jerseys and socks; visiting teams must wear dark kit.
- Generally jerseys should be tucked into shorts that should be a contrasting color and not necessarily white.
- All jerseys must be numbered, except for the ones worn by goalkeepers. Numbers must be at least 4 ins (about 102 mm) high in front, and 6 ins (about 152 mm) high at the back, and clearly visible.
Whether you represent a school or a club, if you’re looking for good quality Savannah sporting equipment and all forms of custom uniforms for soccer and other games, you’ll find it at Thompson’s Sport Shop.