The weather has been extremely changeable over the last couple of years – last year was one of the world’s warmest on record, yet last month was also one of the UK’s wettest ever Decembers. This means that it’s often difficult to know what to wear when going out, particularly if you are playing any sort of outside sport, including any of our children’s football coaching sessions in London or Hertfordshire.
Here SoccerKidz look at the how the football kit has evolved over the years, what you should wear for any of our activities, and what our ‘bad weather’ policy is.
The History of Football Kits
In the late Victorian era at the end of the 19th century, which saw the beginning of properly- organised football, what players wore was very different to today’s strips. The kit then consisted of cotton or woollen shirts, woollen trousers and socks, and heavy ankle-length boots. It was often difficult to pick players and teams apart – as usually everyone wore the same kit!
It wasn’t until post-1870 (more specifically, a football handbook published in 1867) that some of the more sensible modern kit developments were introduced. These included teams wearing the same standard kit (but different from their opponents’), proper football boots with studs, and shorts rather than trousers.
Players also started wearing shin pads to protect their legs from tackles. The shorts were still below the knee (they were known as knickerbockers) and it wasn’t until well into the 20th century that they were as short as they are today.
Other changes in the early part of the 20th century decreed that goalkeepers should wear different-colour shirts to the other members of their team, and that sides should also have an ‘away strip’ in case of a colour clash with their opposition.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that players started wearing numbers on their shirts to help with identification (and also positions); names on the backs of shirts (see picture above) didn’t start for another half a century.
In the latter half of the 20th century, lightweight synthetic shirts and shorts replaced heavier materials and became much more stylish. In recent years a big market has grown up for replica kits at the professional clubs, with many children especially choosing to wear their supported team’s kit.
Shirt advertising didn’t start until the 1970s in the UK, and even then, professional clubs weren’t initially allowed to wear sponsored kit if the match was being televised.
What Should You Wear at a SoccerKidz Session?
Generally, our advice is to dress according to the weather conditions or forecast, but always err on the side of caution. We would recommend your kit includes T-shirt, shorts, socks, tracksuit, wet top, boots and trainers, shin pads and a drinks bottle. (It’s worth ‘wearing in’ any new boots before the session; and moulded studs or blades are probably more suitable for the summer courses). In terms of specific conditions, the following advice applies.
Sunny weather – a T-shirt (or football shirt) and shorts will be fine. If it’s really hot and sunny it may be worth wearing a cap and coming with some sun cream (and a water bottle). The UK weather can be unpredictable so you may glad you brought some extra layers, even if it looks warm and sunny at first glance.
Cold weather – make sure you have at least two layers on (e.g. a tracksuit on top of a T-shirt).
Wet weather – if it’s raining heavily and the forecast isn’t good then we may call the session off (see our policy below). If it’s only light rain or a shower, then we would recommend at least two layers and possibly tracksuit bottoms depending on the nature of the session.
If there’s any contact involved in the session (such as a practice match) we always recommend youngsters wear shin pads – it’s a good habit to get into and will help to protect against any unnecessary scrapes and bruises.
Our ‘Bad Weather’ Policy
The safety and wellbeing of the children is always our number one priority.
We play in light rain or showers; however, if the rain is heavy, or there is thunder or lightning about (or even the threat of it) then we won’t play (unless there is the option of taking the session indoors, which is sometimes possible at some school-based sessions).
If you aren’t sure if the session will be running, call your SoccerKidz coach to check. If you don’t get a phone call yourself and there is no update on our website, assume the session is on; we may have to make a late decision ‘on site’.
Children’s Football Coaching in London and Hertfordshire from SoccerKidz
At SoccerKidz, we run a range of football courses suitable for 3.5-14 years old. The emphasis is on having fun, whatever your sex or level of footballing ability. We run weekend, afterschool, holiday and evening clubs and can also offer multi-sport lessons as well as football. And we offer children’s football parties in London and Hertfordshire too, if you want to make your child’s big day extra special.
If you would like to know more about any of our sessions, then contact us on 07946 260945 or follow this link and fill in the online form.