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What Should A Soccer Coach Wear?

What a soccer coach wears during training or to attend a match is often put under immense scrutiny by the media, it is sometimes referred to as one of the main ways that a coach applies his style to the role in terms of both his attire and method of playing the game.

In different countries around the world certain outfits are more popular than others, in Italy and much of western Europe for example, the tracksuit is very popular. In England, the suit is considered to be the most fashionable choice for coaches. 

Today we will be taking a deeper look at the various outfits that soccer coaches can wear and the overall dress code at all the different levels.

There are plenty of choices of attire for soccer coaches and it doesn’t really matter what they choose to wear on normal occasions such as training or a league match. The only time that a coach is expected to dress smartly is at a cup final, though this is very much an English thing that doesn’t apply to all countries. 

Youth Soccer

The most common kind of soccer coach in the US and quite possibly everywhere is the youth soccer coach. These guys are the backbone of the sport, spotting and growing young talent all around the globe with the hope that they might uncover the next Tyler Adams or Christian Pulisic. 

Most youth soccer teams train in local parks or recreation centers, and as such there isn’t much expected in terms of style from the coach.

Given that the area that these coaches work in can often be quite wet and muddy, the best outfit to wear is the humble tracksuit. Most tracksuits are made from a waterproof material that will keep you both warm and dry while conducting training or stood on the side-lines during a match.

‘Manager jackets’ are also very popular among youth soccer coaches as they are very thick and usually reach far down your legs, once again keeping you protected from the elements wherever you find yourself coaching from. 

There is of course no obligation to wear this type of clothing though. Many youth soccer coaches choose to brave the conditions and wear shorts and a t-shirt as this outfit offers the most mobility when getting stuck into training with your players. 

Professional Coaches

As we touched upon earlier, tracksuits are still a very popular choice for professional soccer coaches in some parts of the world (especially countries that see freezing temperatures during their soccer season).

It is also very common to see coaches wearing official club-branded tracksuits while conducting a training session.

This being said, some coaches prefer to stay away from them in favour of a more stylish look during matches as they simply like to wear something else.

The most common choice aside from a tracksuit is a shirt and tie (or a full suit), this kind of outfit is traditionally reserved for coaches who like to be referred to as a ‘manager’ rather than a head coach. 

Many of the greatest ‘managers’ of all time wore suits during their time at the helm, Sir Alex Ferguson was usually seen wearing at least a shirt and tie whilst he was in charge at Manchester United.

There is no real reason or known advantage to wearing a suit during a match, but it perhaps does exude and air of confidence and arrogance that wearing another kind of outfit does not. 

In recent years, waistcoats have also come back into fashion for some coaches. Most notably, current England national team boss Gareth Southgate wore a waistcoat for the duration of his countries 2018 FIFA World Cup run that saw them reach the competition’s semi-finals.

The waistcoat has since become a stylish choice for other coaches around England who want to replicate the outfit worn by one of their nations greatest ever coaches. 

Would you consider wearing a waistcoat on the touchline? 

Cup Finals 

In most places, it doesn’t even matter what a coach wears, as most federations believe that it is more important for them to feel comfortable while doing their job rather than looking refined and stylish. This isn’t always the case in England though.

A nation renowned for its sense of tradition, England is of course home to some famous soccer-based traditions too. One of these rituals relates to the clothing that coaches have to wear when they lead their team out at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final.

Coaches are expected to attend the match in smart clothing at all times, meaning that they should not take charge of their team wearing clothing like a tracksuit. 

Despite this unwritten rule being in place, some have broken with the tradition in the past, leading to major controversy in the English press. Most recently, former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel opted to wear a club tracksuit for the FA Cup final.

Some fans were pleased that the German decided against the suit, claiming that it represented a new era of more relaxed management styles, while others claimed it was disrespectful given that royalty often attends the match.

Does it Really Matter?

In short, no. 

The longer answer is more complicated, though still comes to the same conclusion. It does not matter what soccer coaches wear most of the time, so long as they feel comfortable doing their job and are of course deemed ‘decent’ whilst doing it. 

People always perform better when they are comfortable, so forcing coaches to wear certain kinds of clothing that may make them feel uneasy is something that I believe should be stopped.

Tradition is important, but it should only be upheld by those that really believe in it and is shouldn’t be forced upon those that feel it doesn’t help their coaching methods. 

I would always recommend having a variety of outfits for taking charge of training and matches, but in my experience, a tracksuit is the best thing to wear for coaches who really want to get stuck into the action and help their team the most.