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Why Is A Soccer Ball Black and White?

Why is a soccer ball black and white?

The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® is kicking into high gear! That said, we can’t help but answer a curious question about soccer. Everyone knows the only job of a goalie in soccer is to prevent the soccer ball from entering the goal, right? Right. But what about the soccer ball? Have you ever wondered WHY it’s traditionally black and white?

Why is a soccer ball black and white?

A quick history of the soccer ball...

When soccer first originated, the soccer ball was made from inflated pig bladders covered in leather—GROSS! Don’t worry, the soccer ball has come a long way since then.

Livestrong noted that, in 1844, Charles Goodyear started making soccer balls from vulcanized rubber. Eventually, the pig bladder was replaced with a plastic, inflatable piece. That inflatable piece was then covered in brown leather. 

Fast forward to 1970…

By the 1960s, the television was already invented, but the picture was only in black and white (Booooring!). As soccer games were televised, it was hard for viewers to keep their eyes on the ball! In 1970, the black and white soccer ball we know and love made its debut at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Adidas was the mastermind brand behind it, and they called it the “Telstar.” 

Why it’s black and white

The soccer ball was regularly bleached white by this point, but Adidas added black pentagons in the design for easier TV viewing (Adidas even designed the official game ball of the 2018 World Cup). A bonus effect? The black pentagons on the ball help soccer players with their foot placement—to help them kick the ball exactly how they wanted!

It’s a win-win for everyone! ...except maybe the goalie. 

Now, soccer balls are designed with different variations of colors, but the most-iconic one is definitely the Telestar. Our soccer balls in the Subway Soccer Experience are going to be green and white. In the Subway Soccer Experience, you can learn soccer fundamentals, kick by a goalie, and learn about the legendary DaMarcus Beasley! Be sure to share your fun fact with parents when they hit record on their fancy TV phones. 

The official game ball of the 2018 World Cup was designed by Adidas with a new twist on the classic black and white look. See it in action in every World Cup game this summer!

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Whys" on the blog!