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Embracing Soccer Culture: A Brief History of Soccer Scarves

In Sports
June 20, 2022
Soccer Culture

Baseball has the baseball cap, football has the jersey, and soccer has…the scarf?

Soccer scarves have become so ingrained into the culture of soccer that you likely don’t even blink twice when thinking about them. But they weren’t always associated with the sport, and they actually serve a very practical purpose. 

So why do people wear soccer scarves and where did they come from? We’ve got all the answers. 

Keep reading for a quick history of soccer scarves and how they’ve evolved over the years. 

Before Soccer Scarves Existed

Soccer scarves haven’t always been a thing when it comes to popular fan attire. 

Before the scarf rose to fame, it wasn’t common to see a lot of color in the stands during soccer games.

When people did want to show support for their favorite team, they wore smaller accessories like ribbons or hats in their team colors. But these items were small and not easily seen by the players or other supporters. 

The Reason for Soccer Scarves in the UK

Picture this: it’s the early 1900s in the United Kingdom, and you’re at a soccer (or football, to them) game in the cold and rain. To keep warm, you’re bundled up in a black coat and long pants.

In a sea of gray and black, how do you show your team spirit while also staying toasty? The scarf. 

By the late 1920s, scarves of different colored stripes were popping up all over the stands. Called “Granny Scarves,” they were hand-knit by family members, showing off team colors while keeping fans’ necks warm. The perfect accessory!

The United States Joins In

Once color photography became popular, people in other countries began noticing the colorful scarves worn by fans in the UK. 

Major League Soccer started in the US in 1996, and the fans of the US teams wanted to create an authentic, fun, and supportive crowd atmosphere just like the UK had done. That’s how soccer scarves made their way into American culture, too. 

Soccer Scarves Today

While the original soccer scarf was made of alternating bands of color, they’ve come a long way since the 1900s. 

Once they picked up in popularity, people started putting the name of their favorite team or a team’s crest on the scarf as well. Now, you can find soccer scarves in all different varieties, from ones sporting a team slogan or mascot to a scarf with an image of a player’s face on it. They even come in different materials, so you can wear a lighter soccer scarf in the summer and swap it out for a thicker one once the weather turns colder. 

You can even create your own custom scarf to support your team in a unique and personalized way. 

A History of Soccer Scarves Revealed

So there you have it: soccer scarves were born from a need to stay warm while also supporting one’s favorite team. The next time you see someone wearing a soccer scarf, you can thank the cold UK soccer fans of the 1900s for its invention!

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