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The Evolution of Soccer Uniforms

Athletes’ jerseys are more than just their uniforms, and their purpose goes beyond differentiating the teams on the field. The soccer uniform represents all that a team stands for and is an important aspect of the game.

Suppose you’ve come across photographs or videos of athletes from decades passed. You’ll notice that sportswear has evolved significantly over time. That evolution is not only in materials but also in technological advancements.

How Soccer Jerseys Have Evolved

As far back as humans have recorded, we have used our bodies to hunt food and avoid danger. Yet sports have given us a new reason to enjoy our bodies. The sports jersey, for instance, is a minor but consistent aspect of athleticism’s long and lauded development that is often overlooked.

Here is a breakdown of how the teams have dressed over the years:

Inner Garments

As of 776 BCE, just as the first Olympic games were held, athletes of all categories had devised ingenious ways to distinguish themselves from competitors. Some of the first Olympians even competed without shoes and only in their inner garments.

The athlete Orsippos was the first athlete to sprint entirely naked. However, Orsippos started the race dressed in their typical casual attire, presumably a loincloth with a fabric belt. Even though his loincloth had fallen off by the time he finished the race, Orsippos won the race, and the Greeks began a new ritual.

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The ancient Greeks employed nakedness in the Olympic games to distinguish themselves from other civilizations and societies that they deemed barbaric, as they regarded nakedness as disgraceful.

Armor and Military Clothes

Although the Olympic Games were discontinued in 393 A.D. and would not restart for nearly 1500 years, the earliest forms of new sports were on the frontier.

Traditional soccer was called “Tsu Chu” and was taught to Chinese troops in their physical education curriculum; hence, it is likely that the early soccer players wore armor or military clothes back then.

Grey Linen Clothing

Gymnastics was also a source of uniform innovation in the 19th century. Early gymnasts wore gray linen clothing but switched to cotton shirts to better their agility. This was applied to other sports uniforms, like soccer, to offer better movement in general athletics.

Long Trousers, White Shirts, and Colorful Hats

In the 1848 Cambridge Rules, athletic clothing was not specified at all. Players wore, long trousers, white shirts, and colorful hats throughout the Victorian era to differentiate among rival teams.

Uniform Jerseys

Not until roughly 1870 did the public begin to demand that teams wear uniform jerseys. Typically, team colors were chosen to suit the school or organization they represented.

Shin Protectors with Jerseys

In 1874, Samuel Widdowson invented shin protectors. Before attaching a set of leg guards on his stockings, he sliced and reshaped them. His concept was initially laughed at but it quickly received support from other participants for effectively protecting the vulnerable parts of the lower leg from a major injury.

Cotton or Wool Jerseys

In the early twentieth century, jerseys were produced from sturdy natural fabrics, soon becoming a global fashion trend. Before World War II, most sports jerseys were made of cotton or wool to stay comfortable.

Synthetic Jerseys

From the 1930s until the 1960s, synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, and elastane transformed the textile industry.

In the mid to late 1900s, jerseys became more athletically friendly. The jerseys then had shorter sleeve lengths and V-necks and were lightweight synthetic materials with more breathability.

In the 1960s, soccer uniforms began to mirror the athletic clothes used on the field. Over the subsequent decades, teams began selling replicas of legendary players’ signature jerseys, commercializing uniforms.

Get your Team the Best Soccer Uniform Today!

Presently, only lightweight shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, soccer cleats, and tall socks with shin guards are required for soccer players. The simple and basic soccer uniform ensures players’ comfort and helps them cool in the typically hotter temperatures that they play in. You can find these pieces of soccer uniforms at stores. Using the right gear will set you up for success as an athlete so that you can achieve your goals and enjoy one of the greatest games ever created!

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