Youth: Essential Protective Gear for Women Soccer Players
Nov 20, 2020
*This article is part of an educational series for soccer parents and players new to soccer*
Women soccer players need to protect the same areas that men do, of course, with a few key differences. New studies have found that women soccer players also have an increased risk of certain injuries compared to men because of their anatomy. This post will look at the essential protective gear that women soccer players should wear and how it will benefit them.
A new 2019 study published by the medical journal Pediatrics found that girls soccer has one of the highest overall concussion rates, only second to boys football. While boys’ football and other contact sports require players to wear extensive protective gear, girls’ soccer doesn’t require the same protections.
Female Vs. Male Soccer Players
Some researchers think that biological differences between female and male soccer players could account for why girls’ are more vulnerable to head injuries.
- Neck Size - Younger women have smaller and less developed neck muscles, which could account for less stability during an impact.
- Hormones - Other ideas include hormones and blood flow differences that could contribute to the high risk of concussions.
Unfortunately, there is no clear evidence of why these biological differences would increase girls’ risk of head injury.
According to the research, girls’ are less likely to report their concussion symptoms right away and, compared to boys, may not seek out treatment. Girls’ sports are often not considered dangerous or risky as boys’ sports, and less immediate care is available from trainers and coaches.
Other theories suggest that boys’ are trained to take harder hits and minimize the impact because contact is legal in boys’ sports. Girls’ sports are not considered contact sports, and so when they do take a hit, it is unexpected and can do a lot more damage.
Another significant factor when comparing female and male athletes in injury-prone sports is that boys’ sports are more likely to require players to wear headgear and helmets. Female soccer players are second only to boys’ football for concussion risk. Head protection could play a significant role in reducing serious injuries for young female soccer players.
Protective Gear for Young Female Soccer Players
Here is a list of recommended Women’s Soccer protective gear.
Shin guards are standard soccer protective equipment. They protect your shins from kicks or bumps from other players or the ball. Shin guards must fit properly, be moulded to the shin and fit snugly around the ankle to provide the most protection. However, shin guards only protect the front of the leg, and in many cases move around causing discomfort. Many players are now adopting leg guards that protect the areas of the leg not covered by the shin pad, as well as hold the shin pads comfortably in place.
If you are a goalkeeper, gloves are essential. Soccer goalkeeper gloves are specially designed gloves that protect your hands from injuries when stopping the ball.
Soccer cleats are shoes with studs coming out the bottom. These studs keep players from sliding around on the grass as the run. They allow players to stop quickly and change direction without falling on the grass. They must fit well and be tightly laced before you play.
Mouth guards protect your teeth and jaw from the effects of an impact while playing soccer. They can also help prevent concussions by cushioning the force of impact in the jaw.
Soccer headguards are newer protective devices that are becoming more common. They are worn on the head around the forehead and are designed to offer protection from head-on collisions and reduce the risk of concussions. According to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, this protective headgear can lower the rate of head injuries by almost 84%.
These headguards are lightweight, won’t impact the way you play and are designed to fit any hairstyle.
If you are curious about protective gear for women’s soccer, take a look at the products available on our equipment page. If you have any questions, please contact us to speak to a staff member for more information and sizing.