Soccer shin guards that meet the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) are essential soccer safety equipment.
There may be fewer collisions in soccer than in football, but go to a soccer game at any level above U8 and one quickly realizes that it is definitely a contact sport. Given the speed at which soccer is often played, serious collisions can and do occur; contact between players, between player and ball, player versus goal post, and player versus ground.
One form of player-to-player contact commonly occurs when two players try to kick the ball but end up kicking each other. The impact can cause soft tissue injuries (bruises, contusions) as well as fractures to the upper, or more commonly, to the lower extremities.
One recent study revealed that among one league of youth soccer players, the shins were the third most likely area to be injured. Of the seventeen fractures, four were to the tibia (or shinbone). The study confirmed that shin guards significantly decreased the force to the tibia compared to impacts without shin guards. No wonder wearing of shin guards by all youth soccer players, in both practices and games, is mandatory.