The numbers and letters used to identify players on the uniform are subject to significantly more stringent standards since they must fit inside a certain framework. These rules were put in place so that numbers cannot be easily identified by opponents.
For example, the number 10 can only be used once in each country's squad, so if one player uses it then another must withdraw. Similarly, countries can use no more than three letters on their shirts (unless they are replacing all ten players, in which case there is no limit).
The most famous example of this rule being enforced was when Brazil refused to let David Beckham play due to his wish to wear the number 10 shirt. The FIFA Appeal Committee ruled that since Brazil had used all its allotted spots, it could not add any more players to the list.
Brazil did offer Beckham an alternative number but he declined it. So instead, Brazil played without a captain for a round of games against lower-ranked teams. When they returned for a match against England, Ronaldo was given the armband ahead of Roberto Carlos and Luís Fabiano.
Beckham eventually gave in and wore the number 10 shirt during his time with Los Angeles Galaxy. He never represented Brazil at any level nor was he ever called up again.
Number of Major League Baseball uniforms (Major League Baseball) In baseball, the uniform number is the number that each player and coach wears on their uniform. Because no two persons from the same team may wear the same number, numbers are used to readily identify each person on the field. Although intended solely for identification,...
According to Rule 5, Section 3, Article 3c (see NOTE 1), all players must wear numerals on their jerseys, and such numerals must be assigned by playing position as follows: quarterbacks, punters, and placekickers, 1–19 (and 10–19 for wide receivers if 80–89 are all otherwise assigned); running backs and defensive backs, 20–24. The remaining positions are designated by letters under the system created by the NFL in 1953 when it introduced a new numbering system for its players.
The rule was adopted to "assist fans in identifying their favorite players." In addition to the player's number, which is displayed on his uniform during play, most fans know the name of the player who is lined up across from them on offense or defense. But since the early 1950s, when the modern NFL started using numbered jerseys, many players have used letters instead; these days, almost everyone does.
In fact, since the early 1990s, no one has worn a single-digit jersey anymore (NOTE 2). Today, everyone wears a letter on their jersey. This includes players like Deion Sanders (number 26) and Michael Jordan (zero).
During games, the official scorer reviews each play and assigns letter grades to indicate how well each player did at his position. These letters are then reported to the media by coaches and trainers after the game. Players are not penalized for incorrect jerseys, but they can be fined by the league office if they fail to comply with the rule.
Traditionally, numbers were given depending on a player's position or reputation on the field, with the starting 11 wearing 1 to 11, and replacements wearing higher numbers. In general, the goalie would wear number one, followed by defenders, midfielders, then strikers in ascending order. There was no specific reason for this system; it is simply what people have done for hundreds of years.
Today's players usually choose their own numbers for several reasons. First, they can be any number between 01 and 99. Second, some companies have special licensing deals with players' families that allow them to use their descendants' names as player registrations. For example, Roberto Baggio could be registered as RBG.
Finally, some players like having numbers close to each other on the pitch so they can communicate without shouting across the field. For example, Paul Scholes often takes the number 26 because it's the distance between him and Kevin Keegan when they line up against each other in a corner.
There are various ways a footballer can become famous or notable enough to have a nickname. One common way is to be called "the guy with the golden arm". If you watch soccer regularly, you may have seen pictures of Diego Maradona holding a flamenco guitar. He earned this nickname because of his amazing arm strength.
Soccer numbers were first used to denote specific positions in a tactical formation. The relevant shirt with the right number was given to the player in that position. Regardless of the number on the back of a player's shirt, the numbers 6 and 8 are used to denote holding midfielder positions. A six is used for the defensive-minded midfielder who wants to help his team keep a clean sheet and an eight signals the goal scorer who can find the back of the net from anywhere within the area marked out by the pitch.
Numbers on international shirts have always had meaning. The number 7 has special significance for England because it was also the squad number of Bobby Moore, who played for England between 1955 and 1962 and is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of English football.
The number 9 is very important to Argentina because it is the license plate number of their national team. Other countries with significant followings include Brazil (with its traditional colors of yellow and green) and Italy (red and black).
There are several other common numbers among soccer players. They are usually found printed on the chest or back of a player's jersey. They include: 0 for no. 1 for yes. 3 for away team if both teams wear numbers on their backs. 4 for the goalkeeper.
Number 10 is not used by any professional club but does have special significance for Manchester United.
In association football, squad numbers are used to identify and differentiate players on the pitch. Originally, numerals were used to identify position as well, with starting players allocated numbers 1–11. Modern practice generally replaces this with the use of letters for this purpose, with each club having a list of allowed positions and players being able to choose their own numbers.
Numbers can be worn in any combination by different players, but most commonly those on the same team will wear numbers that do not include 0 or 5 because these are reserved for substitutions. For example, if number 10 is unavailable then number 9 would be substituted instead; similarly, if number 15 was unavailable then number 20 could be used instead.
There is no limit to the number of players that can be identified by numbers, but usually only the first 11 or 12 are used due to limitations on the amount of time that can be spent on the field during a game.
The use of numbers in association football has its origins in the sports that pre-date it, such as rugby and cricket. These sports tended to have larger rosters than modern football, so numbers were needed to distinguish individuals on the field.