Most football fans love to talk about strikers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Goalkeepers, however, aren’t always appreciated in the same way, even though they play a crucial role – keeping the ball out of the net.
That said, goalkeepers are the most recognisable players on the pitch. They wear a different-coloured jersey from their teammates to help tell them apart. If you’re interested in goalkeeper jerseys, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know.
Before World War I, goalkeepers wore the same colours as their teammates. The crowd had to rely on the caps they donned to tell them apart from the outfield players. Caps were necessary as the sun often got into their eyes and distracted them.
With the advent of multi-tiered stadiums, however, the need for caps has greatly diminished.
Goalkeepers also used to wear dress shirts in England, which had been the practice since 1880. They progressed to yellow roll-neck jerseys in 1954. These featured crew necks rather than the v-necked shirts the outfielders wore.
Aside from the yellow shirt, there was an alternate blue one to prevent colour confusion. But it still took more than a decade for colours to be used.
Early Modern Jerseys
Goalkeepers today still usually wear a yellow jersey, though that can change depending on circumstances. In England, the colours and designs tend to change frequently, which is a testament of the creativity of the design teams. They also tend to wear the traditional number one on the back – if squad numbers sometimes deviate from the norm .
Short-sleeved jerseys are becoming increasingly popular, if they have been in use since the 60s. In fact, Gordon Banks wore a red short-sleeved shirt in the second half of a World Cup against the Romanians in 1970.
The change was necessary as Banks himself was wearing a yellow Aertex shirt during the first half, which proved confusing as if clashed with the Romanian kit.
Modern technology has enhanced not only the typical football shirt but also the goalkeeper jersey. They’re more comfortable than ever before and even offer increased protection without being cumbersome to wear.
Today, many of these jerseys are made of polyester, which is a light material that absorbs sweat rapidly compared to other fabrics.
Long-sleeved goalkeeper jerseys are also available for colder weather, and some have slightly shortened sleeves to help accommodate gloves. That way, the goalie’s range of movement won’t be compromised in any way.
Short-sleeved jerseys are the best during warmer seasons. Again, they offer a better range of movement, especially for the arms, if the long-sleeved models could hardly be classed as restrictive.
To avoid sweat build-up, some jerseys have mesh inserts near the armpit areas. As the meshing is thinner and has holes, moisture will escape sooner and help the keeper stay dry for longer.
There are also padded jerseys, which offer extra protection to the goalkeeper.
Goalkeepers often dive, jump, and leap to stop the opposing team from scoring a goal. This often results in heavy falls. Learning to limit the impact to avoid serious injury is part of goalkeeper training, but it can still be a painful business.
Hence, padded jerseys came to prominence. You’ll notice that the elbows, sides, and other parts are thicker with layers of cushioning.
Padding is often firm and absorbs impact, which will protect the goalkeeper from getting hurt.
Overall, the choice between padded or non-padded jerseys mostly comes down to personal preference. But there are still legitimate reasons not to wear padded shirts.
For example, padding isn’t the best when the field is muddy. The goalkeeper will be bogged down by the weight, which may negatively affect their performance.
Still Part of the Team
Even if the goalkeeper wears a different coloured jersey and dons gloves, they’re still a big part of the team. Both fans and players alike appreciate the full-length saves and bravery when diving in at a striker’s feet.
For the best jerseys in the business, visit our store. The stylish designs aren’t the only features to look for, as the other benefits are practical and will serve you for a long time to come.