When you picture the soccer pitch you will always think about the beautifully designed green grassy ground, right? Well, this is not always the case …
… Sometimes, you might find yourself with the necessity of playing in a white full of snow ground!
Indeed, in this Post I breakdown all the details you need to be aware of to play soccer in the now properly!
Can you play soccer in the snow?
The short answer is yes. You can play soccer in the snow, and in fact many players, including professional players, won’t let a little snow on the field stop them from playing. Unless there’s a blizzard or a couple of feet of snow, a few inches on the ground is fine!
Hydration will be important just as much as keeping warm. Your body will react differently to the cold versus the heat. Either way, you’ll have to stay hydrated and dress according to the temperature.
The snow on the field will affect the game and your playstyle. Imagine playing on wet grass, then picture yourself sliding on top of it while trying to sprint with the ball.
Playing in the snow is a similar experience. Slippery. Especially once it starts to melt.
Which is why having the right cleats on will make a huge difference. You need cleats that will give you excellent grip on dry and wet surfaces.
What cleats you will need to play in snow?
Cleats are made of different materials with different stud lengths for various field types. For beginners, and in this case snowy fields, let’s focus on Firm Ground or Molded cleats.
This type of cleat is the traditional soccer cleat design and is an excellent option for new players or those looking for an all-around type of cleat.
Firm Ground cleats offer:
- Non-removable rubber, or hard plastic formed on the bottom of the shoe to help provide traction and control.
- Suitable for play on almost all field types and in all weather conditions.
- Basic soccer shoe design.
Two of the best aspects about Firm Ground cleats are their wide availability and affordability. Many name brand companies offer these types of cleats including Nike, Puma, and Adidas.
Speaking of Adidas, the Goletto VII cleats (Check it Here on Amazon) are perfect as an all-weather cleat, and will perform well in the snow. These cleats are affordable, and no other brand is synonymous with soccer than Adidas.
The Goletto VII’s are made from synthetic material which will stand up against snow and water. Keep in mind, these cleats are on the cheaper side and make for a good practice cleat that will last a few cold seasons.
Another option would be to spend more for the Adidas Unisex Copa Mundial Firm Ground Soccer Cleats (Check it Here on Amazon)…
…Their iconic design and unmatched quality will last all year and offer the most performance for your money. The dual-density outsole on these cleats has set the standard for firm-ground play.
What other accessories and dress to stay warm?
Here’s a list of accessories you’ll want to bring to the field to stay warm.
- HotHands – disposable air activated hand warmers
- Extra pairs of socks
- Blanket for when not in play
Dress in layers, because as your body warms up you can always take off what you don’t need.
Compression garments are best as a base layer then you can add on top of them with shorts, shirts, and your uniform.
Bring additional clothes for after the game. You’ll want to get out of your wet clothes as soon as possible, especially before the drive home.
Many players often overlook the importance of having extra pairs of socks. Replace wet socks with dry ones frequently if possible. At the least, try to put on a dry pair when you are done playing.
Another reason you’ll want to keep warm is because if not your performance will suffer. Imagine jumping right into a game without warming up first. You’ll be stiff, uncoordinated, and run the risk of injury.
If you are on the bench in cold weather, your body will begin to cool down. Which means you’ll have to warm up again, or worse get back on the field with a cold body.
All the more reason to bundle up and keep those muscles warm and ready to go.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning wrists are also an important accessory for your protection on snowy conditions … You can learn more about wrists benefits for soccer!
How does snow affect soccer games?
For one, it makes everything slippery. You will have less traction on the field and the ball will be a little more difficult to control. Heavy snow has the opposite of effect.
It would be like playing in sand. Everywhere you step is heavy and getting the ball around the field takes longer.
You might also have a hard time seeing through the snow as it falls. Light flurries are ideal, but if heavy snow begins to pick up it will be hard to see if you are passing to a teammate or an opponent.
At worst, a game may be called off for inclement weather.
How should you play soccer in cold weather?
The key to playing in cold weather is to play slow. That’s right. Slow and intentional. If you are playing a match, then it will be tempting to go full speed or busting out a diving header here or there.
The reason you want to slow down is because of how slick the field will be. You’ll have the edge over your opponents if you can keep control of the ball and yourself on a slippery field.
It’s best to avoid overexertion, especially in cold weather. Lower temperatures mean players are much more injury-prone. Cold tendons, ligaments and muscles are not nearly as reliable in cold weather.
What about practicing in cold weather? The emphasis should be on maintaining core body heat without straining the body.
Warmups should take a little longer than usual. Spending an additional five minutes to get players accustomed to the cold is better than risking an injury.
You also want to practice breathing through your nose or avoiding heavy breathing as much as possible. The most common strain from cold weather playing is aching throats.
Goalies in specific should do all they can to stay active in between shots on goal – run in place or a few jumping jacks will be sufficient.
Any players with signs of a cold or the flu should not practice or play. The cold weather will only worsen the virus they have.
What temperature is too cold for a soccer game?
Below freezing is an obvious time not to play. Other than that, anything above 32 degrees °F (0 °C) is fair game. Once temperatures drop below 32 °F degrees then that snow becomes ice. And you won’t be able to run, pass, or shoot.
You should also know that once temperatures drop below 50 °F degrees, players run the risk of hypothermia.
A good rule of thumb is to be extra cautious once temperatures start nearing 50 degrees.
Dangers of playing soccer in snow …
Dangers you should be aware of are:
- Muscle strains
- Sore throats
- Higher chance of catching a cold/flu
Muscle strains, falls, and sore throats have been covered so far, but hypothermia is the most serious injury of them all that deserves more attention.
The problem with hypothermia is it can happen without a player realizing until it’s too late.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Weak pulse
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Confusion or memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
Symptoms occur gradually which is why players don’t realize they have hypothermia. Once confusion sets in, players lose self-awareness only leading to more severe hypothermia symptoms.
Frostbite usually occurs in toes first. Keep extra pairs of socks for practice and games to switch out frequently. A high quality pair of gloves designed for cold weather will be helpful also.
How should you warm up before a game in snow?
Moderate running is your best option for warming up before a game. A lap around the field once will give players accustomed to the field. A second lap will keep them warm and focused.
Avoid using balls at first. Instead, focus on warming up, staying warm, then on specific skills such as passing and shooting.
As previously mentioned, goalies should be the most active since they have the most inactive time on the field. Running in place and jumping jacks are perfect in between shots on goals.
If possible, line up and run laps from one end to the other on the field to help remove as much snow as possible. Or, at least until the snow picks back up.
What Drills to improve your ability to play in snow?
Cone drills for better ball dribbling will have the best crossover for playing in snow. If you can improve your dribbling, then you can have more control when the field is slippery.
The straight line slalom is simple, but effective for working on your ball handling.
Line up 10 cones in a straight line. Ideally, you’ll want them between a ball and a half length away. Or two ball lengths for beginners.
Start at the first cone. Either to the left or right of the cone. Use short kicks with the top outside of your foot to get going.
You will practice dribbling through the cones with the inside of both feet, outside of both feet; inside and outside of the right foot; inside and outside of the left foot.
On getting to the last cone, you must make quick touches with the ball and get back to the first cone at a fast pace. No need to slalom, just get to the first cone on the outside of them.
Another drill is the cone circle.
Line up 10 or more cones in a giant circle. Spread the cones at least 2 feet apart. Further for more experienced players.
Same as the straight line slalom, begin with short kicks except the goal is to go around the outer perimeter of the cones.
Short kicks with the top part of your left foot to go clockwise, and top right to go counter-clockwise.
Go around twice as many times with your non dominant foot to help build it up.
Final Thoughts …
I am really happy that you are wondering about the possibilities to play soccer in a challenging situation like snow! This just shows that you are willing to go out there and play games regardless of how challenging is it outside …
… Just don’t forget warming up properly, wearing the right clothes and cleats, plus not overcommitting while playing so you could avoid all kinds of injuries!
Lastly, if you have a sight issue and want to help fix that, then you can check the benefits and risks of using contact lenses for soccer! You will find the article helfpul …