Buying soccer jerseys in malls is fine. But online purchases may even be better. Why so? This is because of the wide variety of team soccer uniforms now available in the market. And soccer being a male-dominated domain as it is, most males would want to leave the perusing and fitting of garments to the girls. The thing is male soccer fans who abhor traditional shopping can find it quite difficult to have a good choice of the soccer uniforms they really want. From the simple white kits that the football pioneers wore in the late 1830s, soccer jerseys have morphed to the mind-boggling colorful choices of today that can fortunately be browsed fast via the convenience and accessibility of the Internet.
Notably, during the early days of the game in the Victorian period, the all-white soccer uniforms didn’t even have numbers, and teams were only distinguished by the scarves that the players wore. It was only when the sport became more organized that soccer jersey numbers were introduced, and 1 to 11 were adopted to denote the team’s starting formation and the specific player’s roles; the numbers 12 and onward were for a team’s reserves. In this setup, number 1 was assigned to the goalie, number 2 to the right back-defender, and so on.
In more recent times, however, only the goalie kept the number 1 assignment, because across football-crazy countries, there were variations in soccer team management interpretations on what the numbers 2–11 stand for in terms of players’ role. Moreover, some numbers became identified with some star players because of the tremendous growth in the following and media coverage of football games. This phenomenon was dramatized in the 715 million estimated viewership of the 2006 France–Italy World Cup Finals.
In soccer’s early years, players foot the bill to buy team soccer uniforms, and all but naturally, football clubs with modest means had to opt for less expensive design and color schemes. With the professionalization of the sport, soccer team management now shoulder all costs associated with ball club activities and negotiate commercial sponsorships as well.
More elaborate styles, hence, came about as garments and sporting goods manufacturers saw the huge marketing potential of soccer. Styles that have become in vogue included soccer jerseys with wide vertical stripes and laced crew necks, with horizontal-striped soccer shirts with V-necks vying for attention too. Materials used likewise came to be revolutionized with the arrival of soccer jerseys made of durable but lightweight fabrics like polyester. All told, these developments now make for a dizzying field of choice of team soccer uniforms that can be best navigated via online sports stores.