Why do soccer players wear masks?

  • Masks are not a normal piece of gear for soccer players
  • Soccer masks are made from polycarbonate materials
  • A mask allows an injured player to stay on the pitch
Here's why some soccer players wear masks.
Here's why some soccer players wear masks. / David Ramos/GettyImages

In extreme cases, soccer players will wear masks on their faces during a match, and new fans are wondering the exact reasoning behind the striking gear.

Soccer players do not wear nearly as much protective gear, like helmets and shoulder pads, as hockey or football players across the world. Instead, the athletes take the pitch with only shin guards to protect their lower body from reckless tackles or aggressive challenges.

Sometimes, though, a player will enter the game with a mask on their face. Made from sturdy polycarbonate materials, the gear covers a player's upper or entire face. Typically, soccer masks are black, but they can also be customized as clear.

So, what is the true purpose of wearing a mask in soccer?

Nabil Fekir
Real Betis v Villarreal CF - LaLiga EA Sports / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Why do soccer players wear masks?

Soccer players wear masks to protect their faces from an injury that has not yet healed. A mask guards the eyes, nose, and cheeks from risky challenges or errant elbows that could aggravate a recently broken or fragile area.

Although the masks are unpleasant to look at, they allow athletes to participate in a match with an active injury. Instead of sitting on the bench for multiple games, waiting for a broken nose to fully heal, a player can still join their teammates on the pitch...just with an extra accessory.

In fact, a player who gets injured mid-game can retreat to the sideline, receive medical attention, put on a mask, and return to the pitch just minutes later without getting subbed off.

Longer, lingering injuries require players to wear a mask for a prolonged stretch of games. The protective gear might be uncomfortable and burdensome, but it ensures the healing area does not get subjected to any further damage.

For fans, the masks make tracking a certain player on the pitch much easier, especially in person.