The History of Soccer – Who Invented the Modern Soccer Ball?

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? soccer live streams

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. 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.

Nonetheless, Goodyear’s contribution to soccer history is undeniable. Without his modernizing of the ball, the game could have perhaps evolved into a much different sport than what we see today. His addition of rubber to the manufacturing of the ball, from the rubber bladder inside to the panels on the outside, is an integral part of the history of soccer.


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