The History of the Collared Soccer Jersey



In an attempt to make more money off of fans, soccer teams from around the world change their jerseys rather frequently. While many of America’s most prominent sports teams keep the same design for decades, soccer is a sport where even the most traditional teams change their jersey designs every two years. When the new jerseys come out, one of the most talked about aspects is the collar. But what is the history of the collar in the soccer jersey?

When soccer first started at the club level in England and Scotland, it was widely used as a winter activity when the cricket clubs could not play their summer game. So when they changed sports during the summer, they often wore their cricket outfits for this winter sport. This meant wearing white shirts with pants. The way the two teams tended to differentiate themselves was with colorful caps and scarves.

When the start of the 20th century came around, the uniforms made a drastic change. Largely due to the FA’s insistence that the team’s uniforms differ for the FA Cup, teams began wearing tailored shirts with a variety of collars. Most teams went with striped shirts, be it vertically or horizontally. The most popular type of shirts during this period featured laced, crew necks.

While the early parts of the century featured heavy, cotton shirts, the 1950s saw the soccer jersey change to something more appropriate for the players to wear. Starting on mainland Europe, these manufactured jerseys were now lighter, featuring shorter sleeves and V-necks.

Over the next three decades, the collared shirt really began to develop. The 1960s saw short, rounded collars become the rage. The collar became a much more prominent feature during the 1970s, when the large wing collar was introduced. Leading up to this decade, the collars were very short, like you would see on a modern t-shirt. But the 1970s saw the most visible collar since polo style shirts were worn some 50 years prior. The 1980s started with V-necks as the most popular design, but ended with wrap-around collars increasing in popularity.

While wrap-around collars remained popular throughout the 1990s, the new millennium saw varying styles come into play. Depending on the year and the manufacturer, teams could be seen wearing either small collars or larger, polo-style collars.

When Orlando City started in 2011, its first jerseys — the only time City players wore red as their primary color — featured a rounded shirt with a small collar. Over the following five years, which included the club’s first two years in MLS, the Lions would feature the V-neck design. However, that may be changing for the 2017 season.

If the leaked kits are indeed adopted, Orlando City would be using a full collar, similar to those that were popular in the 1990s in Europe, for this coming season. It would be the first time that the club has featured a full collar on its jersey in its history. Fans will get their first look at the new jersey, and see whether the rumors are true, when the club officially reveals the new shirt on Feb. 17.


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