History of the soccer ball

It is amazing how soccer balls have rolled down the ages

The oldest soccer ball recorded and known to still be in existence is over 450 years old.

It was made in Scotland and was created and designed by inflating a pig’s bladder by blowing into it with a pipe, then wrapping with a deerskin tightly around it and stitching them all together. An ingenious design that no one improved the looks for centuries.

In the very early days of organized soccer in the early 1800s when only students at British elite private schools and universities played the game, the soccer balls were crudely-stitched- together leather pouches, totally dependent on the shape of the pig’s bladder and often almost box-like in shape. By the 1860s some bright spark had invented inflatable rubber bladders, and the ball literally began to take a round shape.

For the best part of a century the design remained the same: a rubber bladder covered by 18 orange leather strips. One part of the casing had a large lace where the ball had been laced together. If players headed the ball they sometimes cut open their foreheads due to its hardness. The balls also got heavy in wet weather, it was often hard to kick the ball in any meaningful distance in torrential weather. Many believe the heavy ball also tragically caused some players brain damage through repeatedly playing the ball using their head.

But in the 1960s new technology brought synthetic-leather balls. The soccer balls became lighter and easier to play with in all weather conditions. A new 32-panel design replaced the old 18-strip leather cover, and the modern ball as you know it and played with it was used in all soccer games.