In 1863, the first football association was formed. During the initial years, there was no dress code for football players. The players of the rival teams were not required to wear team uniform that distinguished rival players from each other. After Rugby was split from football, the first set of codes for football uniform, were framed. In 1870, the first football clothing was made and in 1879 the first football jersey was made. The jerseys were made from thick cotton fiber to withstand the heavy tugging amongst the players during the match. The color code was introduced to differentiate between players of two rival teams.
Gradually the material of the football shirt jersey was changed from cotton to polyester and nylon. New technology and increase in demand from the fans enabled the manufacturers to mass produce the shirts from newer materials as a faster rate and in bulk quantities. The new materials like nylon and polyester reduce the weight considerably and increase the flexibility. Addition of new mesh like features enables quicker removal of heat and perspiration from the players, relaxing them considerably during the game.
The rapid rise of popularity of football game and the introduction of newer regulations attracted the attention of the corporate and clothing manufacturers. This led to commercialization of football game and the football shirt jersey became the perfect display board for advertisement of the brand product of the companies. The corporate sponsor the team and the team players sport the logo of the sponsor on their jersey. The number is usually printed on the backside and follows the squad numbering system, introduced by FIFA. When the players play for their country, the color of the football shirt jersey is of same color as that of the national flag. At club levels when individual clubs are participating in the tournament , the shirt gets more trendy and sports, features and colors, that identify in to the particular club. Hence the shirt becomes unique identification code for a particular team.
The steady increase in popularity of football has increased the demand for shirt, enormously. The football shirt jersey has become the brand ambassador for many sponsors, who benefit from the world wide audience the game of football provides them. The increasing popularity of the football has also benefited shirt manufacturer. The shirt manufacturers have been quick to meet this increase in demand, by using latest manufacturing technology and use of newer materials. The fans wear the shirt of their respective teams to show their love and support. While some keep it as a souvenir.
The modern day football game has greatly changed the way football shirt jersey look, today. From thick cotton jersey that caused discomfort to the players, it has completely transformed itself into trendy and fashionable shirt that caters to the needs of players, sponsors and the football fans. The shirt have come a long way indeed, from a mere jersey to brand icon of football game.