The iconic black and white hexagon panel balls of today did not make the scene of this historic sport until the 1950s, but was not even made popular until 1970. Ironically it was because of the visibility such a design offered television viewers at home, that the designed was chosen for the first “official” FIFA world cup series game. Soccer, as a basic game concept that involved using a ball, a goal, and relying on feet and not hands to maneuver the ball, is a very ancient sport.
In Ancient Times
As far back as the ancient Greek and Mayans, the balls used ranged from preserved human heads, to patchworks of animal skins and bones. In medieval times, human skulls were being used in some European villages still, and the game roamed between neighboring village squares. As time progressed, the leather ball became increasingly popular, as opposed to those that incorporated human remains or animal skulls.
Rubber Changed the Soccer Ball
Up until the point that rubber was created, the size and shape of soccer balls were determined by the size and shape of the animal bladder, or stomach, that was used to create it. It was not until after vulcanized rubber was invented that soccer balls were began to be made in uniform sizes. The ability to use a standardized and consistent shape of rubber bladder was the start of the soccer ball used today. The first of the modern soccer balls was made in 1855. In 1862 however, the first inflatable bladder made of rubber, making it safer to do so than with bladders made from pigs, which could lead to lung disease.
Soccer Ball Regulations Begin
In 1872, the first regulations began to be set for soccer balls. It was decreed by the English Football Association Skor7.com that the ball used must measure 27 to 18 inches in circumference. This basic rule is still used for official FIFA matches today. The weight limitations that were first set in 1872 have not been changed much over the years as well. The weight limitations of no more than 16 ounces and no more than 14 ounces stands to this day as the requirements for official matches. The most changed feature of the regulation soccer ball has been the materials and patterns used to create them. Earlier soccer balls resembled either basketballs or what can be referred to as medicine balls. Since those days though, the soccer ball has come quite a long ways.