How many different types of shirts are there in soccer/football?

How many different types of shirts are there in soccer/football?
by Darius Kingsford Aug, 3 2023

Understanding the Jerseys: The Different Shirts in Football

Ever stared at your television screen, transfixed by the smear of colors battling it out on the football field and thought, "Wow, that's a lot of different types of shirts out there?" Well, join the club, fellas. As a football enthusiast, and a lover of the grand old game named 'soccer' by some, I've spent countless hours trying to understand the variety and significance of different football shirts; from the iconic green and yellow of Brazil to the ever-changing designs of professional club jerseys. So, let's jump right in and explore the beautiful world of football shirts and understand the sort of styles and types that exist out there.

The Classic Case of Home and Away Shirts

The first on our tour of football shirts is the commonly known home and away shirt style. To put it simply, a home shirt is what a team typically wears when playing on their 'home' ground and reflects the club's traditional colors. These are often the most well-known designs, think the mesmerizing red and white of Arsenal or the iconic red of Liverpool. An away shirt, on the other hand, is worn during 'away' matches. They are usually contrasting in color to the home shirt to avoid clashing with the opponent's home shirt. It's kind of like having two superhero suits - one for home duties and another for away missions.

The Third Kit: A Fashion Statement?

Now here comes the curveball - The Third Kit. Most major clubs release a third kit each season, which is essentially an alternate jersey used if both the home and away kit clash with the opponent's. Picture this - you are a Chelsea supporter, you have their classic blue home kit and nifty yellow away kit, but then they unveil their striking red third kit. Suddenly, your wardrobe feels incomplete. This third kit has become a marketing gem, a change to weave some creative magic into the designs, and generate some extra revenue. And sometimes these kits are so outlandish, they can become synonymous with a particular season or a memorable moment in the club's history. Remember when Barcelona rocked a teal and deep purple combo? That was a real treat to the eyes.

Goalkeepers: Standing Out from the Crowd

Alright, let's switch gears a bit and delve into the world of the guardians of the goal - the goalkeepers. Every now and then, when a ball whisks past towards the net, our attention is drawn to the colorful figure attempting to block its path. The goalkeeper's kit! These guys are special, and so are their shirts. Bookmakers of soccer often make sure that the goalie stands out from the joueur millaire. These shirts are different in color from the rest of the team's attire, helping them easily distinguishable during a game. Why is it that way? For one, it makes it easier for referees and fans to tell them apart from other players. Additionally, it can be used to throw off attackers during penalty kicks. Goalkeepers sometimes take this in stride, turning up in kits of bright pink or electric blue. I mean look at Gianluigi Buffon with his neon kits, or Joe Hart in his controversial acid green shirt, they were unmissable!

Special Edition Shirts: For the Collector's Soul

Now, let's move on to something a little bit extrinsic, and quite frankly, a bit extravagant. Yes, we are talking about the special edition shirts. Whether it's to celebrate an anniversary, a legendary player, or a winning season, special edition shirts make their grand entrance into the fashion market. In the past, we've seen clubs like Manchester United releasing a special kit to celebrate Sir Matt Busby's birth centenary, or Real Madrid’s gold black kit commemorating their 110th anniversary. As a taste from my own life, I remember obsessively hunting down the special edition shirt released by Arsenal to mark their final season at Highbury. While not suited for the casual fan or the budget conscious, these are the stuff that collectors dream of.

The Training and Pre-Match Kits: Behind-the-Scenes Style

For the final leg of our journey, we arrive at the training and pre-match kits. Often overlooked, these are a solid part of any team's wardrobe. In the quieter backdrop of the training ground, or in the tense hours before a game, it's these shirts that provide a subtle style statement and offer a sneak peak into the on-field fashion. For instance, you might've seen Lionel Messi sport a seemingly casual shirt while practicing some magical footwork. That, my friend, is the training kit. Pre-match kits, on the other hand, are approximately tailored attires that players wear during warm-ups and just before a game. Clubs often use these kits to experiment with designs and colors, frequently changing them throughout the season. For all you football fashionistas out there, mining these styles could be a great way to stay ahead of the curve.

And that brings us to the end of our tour through the maze of football shirts. We've been through home and away kits, brushed along the mysterious third kit, basked in the colorful glory of goalkeeper shirts, admired the exclusiveness of special editions, and peeked into the everyday style of training and pre-match kits. It's been a journey of diverse colors, interesting design philosophies, and the unique stories each shirt type tells. A vivid patchwork quilt that covers the beautiful and chaotic world of football. What a wonderful place it is, indeed.