The soccer shirts worn by players these days are very bright and colorful, making it very easy to identify teams. But there was a time when there was no real uniform dress code and every payer wore white shirts with long sleeves. The only way to distinguish between teams was colorful caps and scarves. This created confusion for the spectators and the scorers. Gradually, the demand for uniforms for players rose giving birth to the first soccer shirts, which have now become legendary with players and teams alike.
As soccer clubs turned the game into a professional sport, all teams had to register their specific colors so as to avoid confusion with other teams. Soccer fans all over the world wear the colors of the teams. This has become a good way of increasing company sales and thus contributed to the economy too.
By the start of the twentieth century, shirts in various colors and designs including stripes made an appearance. The cheap, plain white cotton fabric gave way to synthetic materials such as nylon, which is lighter and allows sweat to evaporate, making it very comfortable for players to wear during a match. Now for summers players wear short sleeves, while in winters, they switch to long sleeves shirts.
Along with the shirts came the numbers from one to eleven on the back of the shirts. But as strategies and positions changed, so did the numbers. Nowadays the players wear their lucky numbers. Initially, the name of the team and club would be in front while the number and name of the player would be at the back of the shirt.
With the onset of globalization, advertising companies realized that there was a huge marketing potential. So they began to display their names on the shirts and paid the teams to wear their brand. Designs including logos and badges of teams were worn and every time a team changed its advertisers, the designs changed. The fans, in order to keep up with the changing pace, began buying the new brands.
As science and technology has advanced, the fabric of the soccer shirts has greatly improved. The fabric used for the shirts can adjust itself to the needs of the player and the weather i.e., it keeps the players warm in winter and cool in summer. Rapidly changing technology promises to invent shirts that will be able to monitor the heart rates and fatigue levels of the players.
Technology is also playing a very important role in making the soccer shirt more fashionable. A plethora of new designs and colors has indeed made the game more enjoyable. Cheap replicas are also available on the internet and fans often trade soccer shirts via the internet for profit. Big companies now vie for a chance to sponsor soccer teams as it is a great way to boost their sales. They even offer huge discounts and other offers to attract customers. Thus, soccer has been commercialized in a big way, through its shirt.