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Soccer is a simple game, requiring little equipment. There are, however, a few basic items that all players must wear. Laws of the Game, which were rules created by the International Football Association Board to govern soccer, specify that players must wear a jersey, shorts, shin guards, socks and footwear. Additionally, dangerous items are prohibited by the rules.
Players are required to wear a jersey with sleeves. The sleeves can be either long or short. A player can wear an undershirt under his shirt, but the undershirt's sleeves must match the color of the jersey's sleeves. The color of the two teams' jerseys must be distinct from each other and the officials -- also, the goalkeepers must wear a jersey that is distinct from any of the players or officials.
Players must wear shorts -- not pants -- when playing soccer. They can wear undershorts or tights below their shorts, but the color of the undershorts or tights must match a player's shorts.
In 1990, FIFA -- the organization governing the rules of soccer -- made shin guards mandatory for all players. According to the Laws of the Game, shin guards must "provide a reasonable degree of protection" to the player as determined by the referee. They can be made of rubber, plastic or a "similar suitable material."
Soccer socks are knee-length stockings. They must cover the player's shin guards entirely. If a player's sock comes down over the course of play, the referee will ask him to fix his socks.
Soccer players must wear footwear -- but the type of footwear is not specified by the Laws of the Game. Most players, especially competitive ones, will wear soccer cleats, which give the player a good grip on the turf. Young kids or casual players may simply wear running shoes or sneakers.
Soccer players are prohibited from wearing any clothing or equipment that may be dangerous to themselves or others on the field. This includes any type of jewelry. The referee and his assistants will inspect the equipment of all players before they enter the field to ensure it is safe.