Soccer Terminology: Caps

The term ‘cap’ is used to refer to a player’s appearance in an international game. So, one says that “Luis Figo has 80 caps” (which is quite a few, by the way). I’ve always wondered about the origin of the term, and I found it here:

In the “old” days (e.g., 1900), when a team would go (i.e., sail) to another country to play, the hosting team would give each member of the visiting team a brimmed hat as a symbol of goodwill. Today, caps are not exchanged, but the term “cap” continues to represent games against foreign teams, where you represent your country. There are no formal rules that say you must be playing on foreign soil when you represent your country or that you must be a member of the country’s national team in order to get “capped”.

Any player with more than 100 caps would be a storied veteran.

12 comments

  1. in football, there are rules of citizenship that involve being capped. And once you’re capped (in a competitive game) for one country you can’t be capped for another in most cases. Freddie Kanoute (ex of France, now of Mali) being an exception, somehow.

    As evidenced by Figo’s last few caps, caps have nothing to do with if you actually play well.

  2. I heard it on the radio that on the Canadian team the highest number of caps was 2. Geez.

  3. That would be the men’s team… on the women’s team, Charmaine Hooper has the most caps (over 100) of any Canadian, male or female, ever. Also the most international goals of any Canadian player, ever. And she’s just plain awesome.

  4. Women’s soccer is a complete joke, and Candaian soccer is a complete joke. So Charmaine Hooper is such a nonentity that she doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in any publication anywhere in the world at any time. So please refrain from posting stupid things Sylvia.
    Love,
    Demosthenes

    1. you are stupid mia hamm has beat records of any man and women in the world im doing a research project on womens sports and im talkin about haters like u who have no respect for womens sports

  5. ISimon, I would just like to say that the US WNT has done a hell of a lot better than the MNT. Just fyi. Women’s soccer is not a joke.

  6. Only reason the WNT has done better is because the rest of the world is not as skilled as the rest of the men’s team’s. The only thing worse than womens soccer is women’s basketball.

  7. Pretty amazing that at age 27 Landon Donovan has 100 caps, and also has the all-time goals lead with a total of 35.

    Hopefully he’ll increase those numbers in the FIFA WC 2010 this month.

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