Soccer shirts are known in Europe as football shirts and worn for Association Football (soccer) matches, it is usually short sleeved, but during the winter months many players will use a long sleeved version. Nowadays they are very similar to rugby union shirts, which was not the case previously, all the information we provide on rugby shirts is thanks to the guys at rugbyshirts.net
Kits were originally heavy and made from cotton, today’s are polyester and nylon based and much lighter to wear. Original shirts had buttoned collars, nowadays they don’t tend to have buttons and are sometimes collarless, we have a full range of retro shirts.
Numbers on the back of shirts
The earliest record of the use of numbers on the back of football kits was 25th August 1928, when Chelsea & Arsenal both used them in their league games. In 1939 the numbering of players shirts was introduced by the Football League Management Committee, over the years the convention changed as formations did and eventually it was difficult to associate a number with a position, although number 1 has always been the goalkeeper.
In 1965 a change in the rules saw substitutions allowed for the first time, however only to replace injured players, this was expanded in 1966 to allow them for any reason. The outfield substitutes would wear the numbers 12 & 14 with the reserve goalkeeper wearing 13.
The 1954 World Cup FIFA required teams to use a squad numbering system, shirt numbers were given to all the players on a nation’s squad and they used the same shirt number for all the tournament. The advent of squad numbering on the back of player shirts, meant the numbers were less meaningful but sales of replica kits rocketed. The League Cup final of 18 April 1993 saw the first player names on the back of shirts and from the 1993-94 Premiership squad names and numbers were used. Shirts bearing player names as well as numbers were first used in World Cup final tournament play at the 1994 tournament in the U.S.A.