Youth: 4 Types of Contact in Soccer & How They Affect Players

Feb 10, 2021

*This article is part of an educational series for soccer parents and players new to soccer*

Most people do not consider soccer to be a contact sport, but research shows that it is only slightly behind in injury rates for sports like hockey and football, often considered high contact and high-risk sports. When looking at injuries in soccer, it is essential to distinguish between the types of contact. Not all contact is the same, and some types can be much more severe and damaging than others. 

In this post, we’ll look at four different types of contact in soccer, and we’ll examine some of the ways that players, coaches and parents can take steps to help minimize the risk and rate of occurrence. 

What Are The Four Types of Contact In Soccer?

Contact in soccer can be classified in different ways. The four main categories are:

Player-to-Player Contact

Player-to-player contact is the most common legal contact in soccer. Players colliding shoulder to shoulder jostling for a ball or contact between opposing players, both moving aggressively for the ball, is bound to happen when you have 22 players competing after one object in a confined space. 

Player-to-player head contact is the type of contact that often does the most damage in soccer-related head injuries. It is player-to-player head contact that is the most common concussion mechanism among high school boys (68.8%) and high-school girls (51.3%).  

Player-to-Ball Contact

Player-to-ball contact is another legal form of contact in soccer. It is an accepted part of the game that players will use their heads to hit and direct the ball during play. Many studies have looked into the incidence of player-to-ball injuries, and some critics suggest that leagues should ban headers to protect younger players from head injuries. Ball to head contact is the second most common cause of concussions in soccer players. 

Player-to-Post Contact

This type of contact is usually a form of accidental contact, where a player loses their balance and collides with the goal post, or a goalkeeper runs into the goalpost trying to make a save. These types of contact can be very damaging to players but are very common. 

Player-to-Ground Contact

Player-to-player contact can sometimes result in player-to-ground contact. This abrupt change in direction or the impact from a player hitting the ground can cause acceleration injuries in the brain. The brain continues moving in the direction the player was travelling before the contact and can impact the skull’s hard bone, causing damage and a concussion.  

Tips to Minimize the Severity of Contact

Practice Visual Awareness

Being aware of your surroundings and the potential for impact can help prepare players for collisions and help absorb the impact to lessen the severity. If caught unaware by a collision, the players do not have the time to brace for impact or prepare, and this lack of support can lead to more severe injuries. 

Practice Proper Technique (For Heading)

Using proper technique for heading the ball can help lessen the impact and protect the player. Players should always keep their eyes on the ball and aim to strike it with the top of their forehead. Players should think about hitting the ball, not the ball hitting them.

This helps the neck and shoulder absorb some of the energy instead of the head and brain. 

Wear Soccer Headgear

New research suggests that wearing soccer protective gear such as soccer concussion headgear may help reduce the risk of concussions. Soccer headgear cannot prevent all concussions, but it may prevent many serious head injuries. The Storelli ExoShield Soccer Headguard is made from military-grade foam to reduce the risk of head injuries. 

For essential soccer protective gear, visit our product page today. At Storelli, we are committed to designing performance gear to protect you from injuries and put you in the zone on the field.
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