You’ve signed your child up for youth football – now what? Getting the right equipment should be at the top of your to-do list. In association football, a kit refers to the standard attire and equipment worn by players. The Laws of the Game detail the minimum kit all players must use. While the kit has evolved over the years, the rules are generally the same whether you’re a youth or an adult player.
What does a kit include?
5 Pieces of Basic Equipment
Under Law 4 of the Laws of the Game, five separate items are listed that all players must wear.
Shirt (or Jersey) and Shorts
Jerseys are typically made of polyester mesh because they don’t trap sweat or body heat. Typically, players in professional clubs wear shirts donning logos sponsor logos, which can generate income for the sponsor. In youth football, this isn’t common, but player numbers will be printed on the back of the shirt just below his or her surname.
Team captains usually wear armbands around their left sleeves to identify themselves as the team’s leader to supporters and the referee.
All players must also wear shorts. Goalkeepers are the only exception to this rule – they can wear tracksuit bottoms if they wish.
No player is allowed to wear a one-piece outfit (shirt and shorts combo). A separate shirt and pair of shorts must be worn.
Socks and Shin Pads
All players are required to wear socks, sometimes referred to as stockings, and shin pads. The shin pads must be covered by the player’s socks, and they must be made of plastic, rubber or a similar material. Shin pads must provide an “adequate degree of protection” to the player.
Players typically wear specialty football boots made of either leather or a synthetic material. Most modern boots are cut just below the ankle and have studs attached to the sole. The studs may either be molded or detachable.
It does not matter whether the shoe is made of synthetic material or leather, but leather will require more care. Many players will use a toothbrush to clean their leather boots to keep them looking their best.
Players, especially goalkeepers, are allowed to wear gloves. It’s rare to see a modern goalkeeper without a pair of gloves on. Many glove advancements have been made over the years, and new models include added protection to prevent fingers from bending backward and protect the palms. Many also have segmentation that allows for greater flexibility in the hands.
Players are also permitted to wear protective headgear to prevent head injuries – provided the gear does not endanger the player or other players.
No jewelry is allowed, and jewelry cannot be covered by tape. The only exception to this rule would be a watch for referees only.
A kit is simple and basic. Jerseys may be provided to youth players and your child may also be required to wear certain colors on their shorts and/or socks. Parents are typically advised of what equipment their children will need prior to starting practice.