A Brief History of Soccer Uniforms

It was not until 1870 that regulation was introduced for sides to be separated by uniform. Prior to this players and opposition teams were distinguished by the color of their caps and the scarves that were worn around the neck in Victorian England.

Just nine years later and the first soccer uniform was manufactured by Butka. These uniforms were predominantly made from cotton to withstand the physicality of the game back then and the constant contact and tugging of the shirt during a match.

Fans had to wait until the middle of the twentieth century to get their hands on replica kits, as new mass production techniques were introduced.

Modern day soccer uniforms are almost entirely short sleeved, although long sleeved uniforms are available at some clubs. Perhaps the biggest difference in soccer uniforms is the material used for manufacture, which is far more synthetic and light weight and usually composes of polyester and nylon.

Gold Coast Xtreme Ash Grey Uniform
Gold Coast Xtreme Ash Grey Soccer Uniform

Numbers were introduced on the back of soccer uniforms in 1939 by the Soccer League and goalkeepers were assigned the number 1 uniform due to their fixed position between the goal posts. The three substitutes were given numbers 12 and 14 whilst the substitute goalkeeper wore number 13.

It was 1954 when FIFA introduced squad numbers throughout a tournament, meaning the players were assigned and had to use the same number on the back of their uniform until the competition was over.

Somewhat surprisingly it wasn’t until 1993 that a player’s name was printed on the back of soccer uniforms.

Today’s soccer uniforms are widely manufactured and the replica uniforms of national and club teams are hugely popular. Many corporate brands have subsequently appeared on soccer uniforms such is the global reach that soccer now attracts.

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