Why Does One Player Wear a Different Color Than Their Teammates?

If you see someone wearing a different color than their teammates during a team sport, there’s a good chance it’s the goalkeeper. Soccer and ice hockey goalies, for example, always wear jerseys that don’t match the team uniforms; and water polo goalies wear red caps to set them apart. For indoor volleyball, on the other hand, there is no goalie — but there’s still a player on each team whose jersey clashes with everyone else’s. That person is a defensive specialist called a “libero,” who advances the game forward. Liberos aren’t just adept defenders — they’re some of the best passers on the court, which makes them instrumental in setting up offensive plays. However, there are several actions they’re not allowed to take: serving, blocking, spiking, or any other attack hit that occurs when the ball is entirely higher than the top of the net. While liberos can play any spot in the back row, they never rotate to the front row. Basically, liberos are responsible for helping the offense, but they can’t actually partake in the offense themselves. In short, liberos wear contrasting colors for the same reason goalkeepers do: They have a different job and different rules than the other players, so it’s easier for everyone if they stand out from the rest.