As foot ball grew in popularity in English society, it found its niche as a fall and winter sport played between November and March. Cricket had already established itself as the premier British summer sport because the field required dry weather for proper play and many athletes competed in both sports. Relegated to colder climate, foot ball games often necessitated cold weather gear. Popular with fisherman and outdoorsmen, knitted wool caps were a practical, logical choice for foot ball players. Below, the 1872 Royal Engineers donned red and blue striped knit caps and jerseys in the inaugural Football Association final in 1872.
The Harrow School team photo below features four players wearing striped Eton-style caps and seven players wearing pillbox caps with tassels. The two different styles of cap may be early evidence of the foot ball (soccer) tradition of awarding presentation caps to upperclassmen or players competing in international competition. While modern national team soccer players are no longer given actual caps after each international game, statistically a "cap" is added to each player's resume.