When soccer players talk on the field, you’ll notice that they cover their mouths. You’re not alone if you’ve wondered why they do this.
Some key points we’ll look at today are:
- Media and fan scrutiny
- Teams try to find out secret tactics
- Players being heard in loud stadiums
Let’s dive in and discover why soccer players cover their mouths when talking.
Why soccer players Cover their mouths
Soccer players hold their mouths when talking for three reasons:
- To keep conversations private from the public,
- Keeping tactical discussions secret, and
- Amplify their voices.
We’ll take a closer look at these and uncover the reasons behind this habit.
1. Keep conversations private from the public
In soccer, there’s always someone watching the players. Cameras are everywhere during a high-profile game, and players’ every move is recorded. This means their words and actions can be studied later.
Media and fans can scrutinize players’ words and actions after a game.
So, when a player does something or says something on the field, the media can check every tiny detail from the footage. Also, the fans can share and discuss footage on social media.
This can make players feel like their words and actions are under the microscope. Everything is being watched.
The players might not be able to hide their actions, but they can try to hide their words. Teammates do this when talking to each other. But even players from opposing teams cover their mouths when having a conversation.
Covering their mouths keeps their conversations private from the public.
Now, you might ask yourself how a player’s words can be kept private by covering their mouths. And it comes down to stopping people from reading their lips.
It’s not uncommon for professional lip readers to try and figure out what soccer players say to each other. Soccer players are high-profile people, and the public is interested in their lives.
So, people are curious to know what they say.
- Let’s look at an example of lip readers trying to figure out what a soccer player said.
Example of public scrutiny
In 2019, a clip of an exchange between Manchester United defender Phil Jones and Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward went viral on social media.
With Man United losing to West Ham, Jones allegedly said: ‘Sacked in the morning. ’This comment referred to United coach Ole Gunner Solskjaer being fired.
Woodward allegedly said: ‘We’re on camera. Stop!’
Soon after the clip went viral, some English media organizations claimed that professional lip readers confirmed both men said these words.
Check out a short clip of the exchange below:
So, this shows that anything players say can be made public if they’re not careful. And that’s a reason why they cover their mouths when talking.
This doesn’t mean players always discuss controversial or essential things on the field. But they’ve gotten into the habit of covering their mouths because the media and the public can scrutinize every word.
It doesn’t look good for the soccer club or the player if they’re seen as saying something wrong about the coach or the team. So, players should keep their conversations private.
Covering their mouths when talking is the best way to avoid controversy.
2. Keep tactical discussions secret
During a soccer game, you’ll often see players from the same team covering their mouths when talking. It usually happens before taking a free kick. Here, they’re discussing tactics.
Soccer players cover their mouths when talking to keep tactical discussions secret. This can stop opposing players from figuring out tactics during the game.
Stop The Opposition
But it can also stop opposing coaches from getting too much information for future games. As previously mentioned, cameras are everywhere during a high-profile soccer game.
This means that opposing teams could watch the footage and try to figure out what players are saying about tactics on the field.
It’s common for coaches to analyze footage of teams to see how that team plays. So why not watch the footage to see what opposing players are saying?
Knowing what tactics the opposing team discusses could be a significant advantage on game day. This would allow the team to prepare for those tactics in training.
So, players cover their mouths to keep these tactical discussions secret. They don’t want opposing teams to be able to watch the footage and find out their plans.
Before Set Plays
That’s why players do this mainly before taking a free kick. Soccer teams often work on different tactics for free kicks.
This is to surprise the opposing team and increase the chance of scoring a goal. But if opposing coaches can find out their tactics, it takes away the element of surprise. That means the tactics won’t be effective.
So, players cover their mouths when talking to keep their tactics a secret.
3. Amplify their voices
Professional soccer players perform in front of thousands of people. The fans make the stadium super load on game day. That makes it difficult for players to hear each other.
Soccer players cover their mouths when talking to amplify their voices.
When players cup their mouths with their hands, it stops the sound of their voices from spreading outwards. This directs their voice towards whomever they’re speaking to.
In a stadium full of cheering fans, directing their voice makes it easier for the other person to hear what they’re saying.
Not only do players do this when talking to other players, but they do it when talking to the referee. This ensures that the referee can hear what the player says.
You’ll often see this when the team captain discusses a decision with the referee. It doesn’t make sense that players would want to keep these conversations private.
They’re not conversing with another player or discussing tactics with a teammate. So, it’s likely that covering their mouths in this instance helps to amplify their voices.
Communication between players and officials is important in soccer. That’s why it makes sense that players would want to be heard when discussing a referee’s decisions.
Using their hands to direct their voices is an excellent way to be heard over the crowd’s noise.
That’s the three reasons why soccer players cover their mouths when talking. Look out for it the next time you watch a game and keep these reasons in mind.
Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.