Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

At the risk of stating the obvious, a soccer ball is an essential piece of equipment for any soccer match. More effort goes into the design and manufacture of a ball than you might think, however. This begs the question, who is responsible for inventing the modern soccer ball?

Mini Autograph Soccer Ball - Baden Sports

The history of the soccer ball in fact goes back a lot further than you might think. As you might imagine, balls have been used in a variety of field sports for centuries. Early games resembling soccer were played with a leather sack of some kind that was stuffed with hair. Live Score Terlengkap In reality though, anything available could be used as a ball including even pig bladders and human skulls!

The ball used in early soccer actually predates the founding of the sport itself. Since rugby and soccer share a common sport, the ball used in early soccer matches was nothing more than a modified rugby ball. Because the sport became so popular though, the opportunity was there for individuals to improve the ball and make it more suited to the game.

Enter Charles Goodyear. If the name sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is the same person who founded the Goodyear Rubber Company, known for its rubber products ranging from tires to the famous Goodyear blimp. Goodyear’s big innovation was to introduce rubber to the manufacturing process.

Prior to this, soccer balls were made with leather strips stitched around an inflatable bladder of some kind. While the leather worked well enough, it wore quickly, was often warped, and did a poor job of resisting water. Goodyear’s innovation meant that the ball became lighter, faster, and more durable.

In this way, Charles Goodyear can be given much of the credit for inventing the modern soccer ball. Over the years though, the ball has morphed and refined continuously. In fact, extensive engineering and testing goes into the design of all soccer balls, with millions of dollars going into research and development. In truth, the ball has changed so much over the years that even the soccer ball that Goodyear designed is now just a relic. The soccer ball’s history is as rich, protracted and varied as the game it serves. Although their evolution can be traced to ancient history and cultures, the history dates back to more recent times – the 19th century. Indeed, soccer is well over a century old and the modern, high-tech ball has come a very long way from the irregular-shaped pig’s bladder.

Before the English Football Association prescribed qualities and measurements for the football, game-play was subject to the vagaries of the size and shape of a pig’s bladder. Naturally, this presented problems as players found it difficult to judge the bounce and direction of the bladder. In addition, footballs made with animal bladders tended to deteriorate rapidly.

In 1855, Charles Goodyear developed the first rubber football. A process known as vulcanization (the process of converting rubber into more durable materials) helped to accelerate the development of the soccer ball. Vulcanized rubber was able to withstand pressure and avoid deformity.

In 1862, further development took place with H. Lindon’s innovation – the inflatable rubber bladder. Ten years later, the English FA introduced specifications concerning the size of the ball (27 inches – 28 inches in circumference) and its weight (13 ounces – 15 ounces). FA approved soccer balls also had an outer case of leather. Lindon’s inflatable rubber bladder provided the template that the game would use for decades.

In the early 20th century, the balls were made with more durable rubber. These balls were encased in tanned leather panels that were stitched together. The leather casing of the balls made heading difficult, especially as the leather was very absorbent. This posed a problem with balls that were made with genuine leather. Manufacturers attempted to mitigate absorption by coating leather exteriors in synthetic paints and other non-porous materials.

The year 1950 yielded another significant change – the white ball. This was made by white-washing the leather. The aim of using the white ball was to increase the ball’s visibility for the benefit of spectators. Sometimes, when watching old clips, one might notice that orange balls were also used in the 50s. These were also created to improve visibility in snowy conditions.

Prior to the 1970s, there was also another significant development in soccer ball design – the Buckminster ball. This was a change from the balls made with panels of leather stitched together. Instead of panels, hexagons were stitched together. This design became a very popular design that is still utilized by modern soccer ball manufacturers.

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