When we think of soccer balls today, we imagine a perfectly round ball made of leather or synthetic materials. However, in ancient times, the soccer ball was far from what we know now. In fact, the first soccer balls were created using entirely different materials than what we use today.
The Origins of Soccer
Soccer has been played for thousands of years. The earliest recorded evidence of a game resembling modern-day soccer dates back to ancient China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).
It was called “Cuju” which means “kickball”. The game was played with a leather ball filled with feathers and hair.
Ancient Greek Soccer Ball
The Ancient Greeks also played a game similar to soccer called “Episkyros”. The ball used in this game was made up of an inflated animal bladder covered in leather. The bladder would be blown up and tied off before being placed inside the leather casing.
Medieval Soccer Ball
During the medieval period, soccer-style games continued to be played across Europe. In England, these games were known as “mob football” and usually involved an entire village playing against one another. The ball used during these games was often made from inflated pig bladders or animal stomachs.
Modern-Day Soccer Ball
It wasn’t until the 19th century that modern-day soccer balls began to be developed. In 1855, Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber which allowed for more consistent and durable balls to be produced. By the early 1900s, soccer balls had evolved into their current shape – a spherical ball made up of 32 panels stitched together.
Throughout history, the materials used to create soccer balls have changed significantly. From animal bladders and stomachs to vulcanized rubber and synthetic materials, the soccer ball has evolved into what we know and love today. Despite the changes in materials, one thing remains consistent – soccer continues to be a beloved sport worldwide.