It’s impossible to imagine what a professional soccer game would look like if the players involved weren’t wearing their uniforms.
Not only does it designate which team each player belongs to, but it gives the team a sense of uniformity that would otherwise just have everyone running around without knowing which player was on their side.
While they may seem inconsequential, like any other piece of sporting equipment, the modern soccer uniform has a long and interesting history that started over 200 years ago.
Here we will break down the history of the soccer uniform, how it was created, and how it’s evolved over the years to become an important aspect of the sport today.
The Origins Of The Uniform
When modern soccer was first established in the mid 1800s, it was up to the officials of the time to make rules and regulations that would lay out the behaviour of the players as well the kinds of equipment that a professional game would need to have.
These were known as the Cambridge Rules, and when they were first put together in 1848, there was actually no mention of having any kind of uniform. This went on for some time, in fact, and most of the players of the Victorian age would have just worn the normal clothing of the time when playing, with teams being identified by wearing hats and scarves of a specific colour.
This only changed later down the line in 1870, when the general public began to request that teams found a way to make themselves more identifiable. It was then decided that the colours of the teams would be chosen based on the club or school that they were playing for. One example is the players of Shrewsbury School, who began to wear white jerseys that had the Maltese Cross on them in blue.
Similar pieces of equipment had the same evolution. The shin guard, for example, was invented by Samuel Widdoson, who played for the Nottingham Forest team.
He cut out cricket pads and then wrapped them around his legs to give them some protection against both the ball and other players kicking his shins while playing.
Over time, it became common practice to design clothing that was not just durable, but that would match. It became something of a fashion trend before long within the sporting world, and by the time that the 1950s had rolled around, having matching uniforms was extremely common.
It wouldn’t be until the 1960s that uniforms began to look more like they are today, in the age of smartphones and real money pokies, and it didn’t take long for clubs to start selling replicas of the jerseys to the fans as a means of making more money on the side. Today, the uniform is a necessity for most professional teams around the world, and allows a player to be recognisable to both other teammates and to fans.