The history of international caps in sports


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In association football and several other sports, an international appearance is known as a ‘cap’, but did you know that a physical cap is traditionally given to the players selected?

In the very early days of football, these caps would actually be worn during matches and helped to distinguish one team from another, since the idea of a standardised football kit for a whole team had yet to be established. The idea of caps to be worn on the pitch may not have lasted, but England and many other nations still present a cap to players to represent the honour of being selected for their country.

The caps, not surprisingly, have changed in style and appearance over the years, but modern England caps consist of a soft crown made of six panels (much like the Yupoong Classics Flexfit Snapback), with the England badge appearing on the front panel. Details of the game for which the cap was awarded, including the opposition and the competition, are embroidered on the peak.

International caps tend to be kept as mementos rather than worn by players, and what adds to their collectability is that special ones are sometimes given out for milestones. In 2008, David Beckham was presented with a golden cap to mark his 100th England appearance, and Wayne Rooney became the latest player to join the exclusive 100 club in 2014.

Some players, such as former Ireland defender Dave Langan, have been known to sell their caps. For most though, what they represent is worth more than their material value.

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