Expert section: Mate Kontra – I’ve played soccer at a very high level all my life. I’ve been coached by ex-pro, D1, and Academy level coaches, currently playing at the MLS-Next level in California. I’ve played in roughly 20 tournaments so far, at various levels. I would like to share with you my experience regarding what soccer gear you should take, to ensure good performance and a fun time!
Soccer tournaments are one of the most fun and competitive forms of soccer that can be enjoyed by players.
One factor that makes the experience of a soccer tournament is the gear you use throughout the competition.
Regardless if you are a great player or new to the game, gear is one of the most important aspects that can improve performance and make the game more enjoyable.
We previously discussed 3 of the most important pieces of equipment to have at soccer tournaments, as a baseline list for essential items.
So today, we are back with 4 more items that can help your performances in tough matches and make your experience that much better.
Be sure to check out any links for more in-depth information on each topic.
Related article: Most Essential Soccer Gear to Pack for Tournaments
Top 4 Pieces of Soccer Gear to Pack for Tournaments
The following list of items was picked to improve performance, as well as enjoyment throughout the tournament.
Whether it is while playing or recovering, these items will help you take care of yourself throughout your time at the competition.
We will be providing explanations for every item about how they help, what their function is, and why they are worth the space in your bags.
If you are new to soccer, I highly recommend that you invest in these items, as they can increase your learning curve and help you excel at the sport quickly.
Additionally, at a certain skill level, these items will be a must-have so it’s great to learn about them early on.
#1: Athletic tape
Disclaimer: The following sections are based on personal experience. They are not medical advice.
Soccer tournaments have very tough games, and more often than not, twice on the same day.
Even just one game can cause a lot of wear on a player’s body, so playing multiple will increase the risk of injury.
Areas such as the ankles and the knees are particularly vulnerable because every impact travels through these joints.
For these applications, precut athletic tapes such as KT tape will be your best friend.
The main function of athletic tape is to stabilize the joints, such as the ankles or knees to prevent injuries.
Additionally, they can be used to support certain muscles in your body such as the hamstring, quadriceps, or calves for soccer applications.
But how can you tell when to use it?
When should I use athletic tape?
After intense games, joints may feel tight and sometimes even cause pain.
From my experience, using athletic tape to support my joints in this instance can help a great deal to reduce the stress from the joint.
During games, it should feel easier to bend the supported joints and you should feel less pain while playing.
- Intense matches can cause tight joints
- Supporting them can relieve pain
- Will help keep proper running form
- Changing directions
Athletic tape can also be used to support muscles when they are sore, overworked, or strained.
Using athletic tape supports the movement of muscles, which can be of great help in preventing the muscle from being overworked or strained.
When the situation is more severe and the muscle is strained, it is likely a bad idea to play and you should first talk to your coach about it.
However, if you must play anyways, then using athletic tape to support your muscles is one of the best things you can do to avoid an injury.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that it may not eliminate the pain completely, but it will help you stay light on your feet.
- When muscles are sore or strained
- Helps sore muscles perform better by providing support
- Helps avoid injuries by supporting strained muscles
For the most effectiveness, I recommend asking a trainer to help you correctly apply the tape to your joints and muscles.
Matches are generally required to have a designated trainer who can provide assistance with anything related to sports medicine, including applying tape.
Other types of athletic tape
There are more types of athletic tape than just pre-cut supporting tape.
Most tapes will be very similar in looks and shapes, but the main type that you want to look for is the generic, rolled-up athletic tape.
Generic athletic tape is available in various colors, but I recommend sticking to white or black as they are usually the cheapest.
They can be used for all sorts of applications, from taping together your cleats to securing the shin guards in your socks or even preventing blisters in sensitive areas.
Essentially, they are an all-in-one tape designed to solve issues that athletes may have.
So, I highly encourage you to invest in rolled-up athletic tape because it can serve as a solution to many problems throughout a tournament, or games in general.
#2: Pre-wrap foam
Since athletic tape has been selected for the list, pre-wrap foam is up next as its duo.
Pre-wrap foam is a soft material that is often used in sports to protect the skin from irritation or friction caused by athletic tape.
It is applied below the tape to act as a protective layer for the skin.
This will prevent skin chafing, blisters, or any kind of irritation on the skin during an activity, such as a game.
From my own experience, it is possible to use tape without pre-wrap without causing blisters or any irritation on the skin.
However, it should be noted that even if the tape doesn’t end up harming your skin, it will feel like barbed wire wrapped around your legs while you play.
When it is directly applied on the skin without the use of pre-wrap foam, athletic tape can pull your hair, and rarely, even cause bleeding.
#3: Big Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is one of the most important aspects of performance in soccer.
Especially during a soccer tournament when there are multiple matches per day, it is important to stay hydrated to keep the body fresh.
Dehydration will lead to muscle fatigue and can cause cramps when a high load is placed on the body.
Having a large water bottle will ensure that you have enough water to drink throughout the competition to stay hydrated.
But why do you need a big water bottle for that?
Why a big bottle?
Firstly, convenience is one of the benefits that a water jug offers.
Having a larger water bottle will allow you to refill it less often, eliminating the factor of forgetting to refill the bottle.
This is particularly convenient to have more water during the period between the games when it may be difficult to find a source of water.
Players will often buy cartons of bottled water and carry several bottles at once, which is unnecessary if you just have a bigger bottle.
It’s easier to keep track of how much water you have left, and it is much easier to transport from place to place, given the nature of tournaments.
- No need to refill the bottle
- Provides a steady supply of water
- Makes it easy to keep track of the water supply
- More portable than several bottles
Big bottles are also much more cost-effective than having several bottles of water.
Providing a steady supply of water throughout the tournament will help you stay away from vendors and save money spent on drinks.
While larger bottles will allow you to purchase water at a cheaper cost per ounce, it will also save time and money spent traveling to the store.
Especially at multi-day tournaments, the cost-effectiveness of a large bottle adds up, saving a considerable amount of money throughout the competition.
- Saves money spent on drinks
- Vendors tend to sell it at very high prices at tournaments
- Buy water at a cheaper cost per ounce
- Saves time and money spent on traveling
- Cost-effectiveness adds up
#4: Foam Roller
A foam roller is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you should have at soccer tournaments to speed up muscle recovery.
Foam rollers use the pressure of a player’s body weight to massage their muscles for a quicker recovery.
By massaging the muscles, foam rollers eliminate muscle knots and increase blood flow into the muscles, reducing soreness and increasing players’ flexibility.
But why is this so important during a tournament?
Flexibility is a key component of a soccer player’s performance on the pitch because it can help players perform athletic movements to help their team.
Having tight muscles reduces their range of motion and will decrease player performance.
Why should you use a foam roller?
During tournament-style competitions, teams will often play several games on the same day.
So players must keep their muscles fresh between matches to perform at their best in every game.
Increasing blood flow is crucial, as it essentially washes away the waste from the muscles and supplies them with fresh resources.
This speeds up the time it takes to recover and makes the targeted muscles feel less sore during games.
Eliminating muscle knots is also a vital factor for speeding up recovery because they often cause pain in the muscle.
With less pain, muscles will feel fresh and ready for another match.
- Fast recovery is required for great performance
- Foam rollers will speed up recovery by:
- Increasing blood flow
- Eliminating knots
- Helps keep the muscles fresh, improving performance
Foam rollers are the most cost-effective tools that are designed to aid muscle recovery.
They cost as low as $10, with higher quality examples going for less than $20.
Alternatives include massage guns or even muscle therapy, which are both very expensive compared to a foam roller.
Massage guns can cost as low as $40, with the highest quality examples going for over $200, while muscle therapy is most likely unnecessary.
Additionally, the alternatives are not as widely available, making them a less convenient option.
- Most cost-effective for their function
- Alternatives cost hundreds of dollars
- Alternatives are not widely available
Athletic tape is one of the most useful pieces of equipment that soccer players can use to increase their performance at soccer tournaments.
With the physical demand on the body being so high during these competitions, it can often cause pain in the joints or muscles.
Athletic tape can be used to stabilize joints and support muscles in their function to decrease their load, increasing performance.
Pre-wrap is a great complement to athletic tape, as it can be used to eliminate irritation on the skin that is caused by the tape.
Applying the soft foam under the tape provides a protective layer over the skin, preventing the tape from pulling on the hair or causing pain.
A Large Water Bottle can provide a steady water supply throughout the competition, ensuring that you are always hydrated and ready to play.
Proper hydration reduces muscle fatigue and muscle cramps, helping players perform better.
Additionally, having a larger supply of water will reduce the money spent at vendors and it also reduces the risk of forgetting to replenish water before a match.
Foam rollers are the most cost-effective solution to speeding up muscle recovery between games at tournaments.
Recovery is key in tournaments, as players often play several matches on the same day.
Fresh muscles lead to better performances and an overall better experience throughout the competition.
Image Attribution & Licensing
Featured Image: ‘Soccer Players Fighting for the Ball’ by Leonardo Hidalgo (Licensed via Pexels)
#1: ‘Soccer Balls Piled Up’ by Pedram Raz (Licensed via Unsplash)
#2: ‘Two Soccer Players Going Head to Head’ by Leonardo Hidalgo (Licensed via Pexels)
#3: ‘Kinesio Taping on Runner’s Calves’ by realsportsphotos (Licensed via EnvatoElements)
#4: ‘Volleyball Player Applying Athletic Tape’ by Pavel Danilyuk (Licensed via Pexels)
#5: ‘Boxer Applying Pre-Wrap’ by Annushka Ahuja (Licensed via Pexels)
#6: ‘Elite Runner Drinking During Race’ by Run 4 FFPWU (Licensed via Pexels)
#7: ‘Mizu Water Bottle’ by Karl Köhler (Licensed via Unsplash)
#8: ‘Soccer Player Using a Foam Roller’ by Andrew Valvida (Licensed via Unsplash)
#9: ‘Massaging Glutes With Foam Roller’ by FabrikaPhoto (Licensed via EnvatoElements)