Number 11 In Soccer: Why It’s So Special

In the very beginning when numbers started popping up on soccer jerseys, every player was assigned theirs based on the position they played. It made it pretty simple to follow the game, and most just accepted it for what it was.

These days, there is a lot more freedom as far as what number a player is able to wear. Teams issue numbers based on what a player wants, and availability for certain numbers can be in high demand. The number 11 is one of those highly sought after numbers, as it has quite a bit of history surrounding it.

What is the number 11 in soccer? Is it worth all the hype? It might not be the number one choice for a lot of players, but it is highly rated on the list.

The Historical Significance of Number 11 In Soccer

The best way to describe the historical significance of wearing the #11 jersey in soccer is to look at its position on the field. For number 11, this is a player who is the outside left occupant, also known as a left winger.

They are counted on a lot offensively, and that means plenty of goalscoring opportunities when they arise. With that being said, they might not be the most well-known players on the average team, and are overshadowed in a lot of ways by traditional number 10 players.

Who Are The Most Famous #11 Soccer Players?

  • Ryan Giggs
  • Romario
  • Miroslav Klose
  • George Best
  • Didier Drogba
  • Angel Di Maria
  • Gareth Bale
  • Marco Reus

Since a lot of players wearing #11 jerseys are left wingers, it makes sense that that’s where some of the most legendary players play. Guys like Ryan Giggs, Romario, Miroslav Klose, and George Best all wore #11 at one point in thier career.

Didier Drogba is one of the most well-known players to start wearing #11 away from the left winger position. Throughout his prime he was a striker, but wore #11 and became synonymous with the number at numerous stops.

For a lot of Brazilians, they have wore #11 in honor of legendary player Romario. For example, Neymar wore the number when he was with Santos and Barcelona. He was heavily impacted by his play when he was just a young fan of soccer himself.

Is The Number 11 Considered Lucky?

Eleven is one of those numbers that has always been popular in sports thanks to feeling lucky. Other than seven, it might be the number that the average person thinks is luckier than any other out there. For soccer players growing up, it’s very easy to be gravitated towards 11 as opposed to something else.

There’s also a lot of people who have the number 11 in their birthdate at some point, or it makes some sort of connection to the person in general. For example, anyone born on the 11th day of the month might be inclined to wear this number. The same goes for a November birthday.

Lucky number 11 translates to other sports as well. There are legends like Isiah Thomas and Elvin Hayes in basketball, Carl Hubbell and Luis Aparicio in baseball, and Larry Fitzgerald and Julio Jones in the NFL who wore the number and excelled with it on.

How Often Is The Number 11 Worn Away From The Normal Position?

Now that an entire generation of soccer players has grown up with numbers not meaning as much as they did in the past, it happens frequently. Since 11 is a popular number, it is one of the first to go when available.

It’s pretty much open season for number 11 compared to a lot of other numbers out there. There will still be left wingers who wear this number, but they don’t necessarily have to play that position. It’s something that seems to be involving, as a lot of younger players are not even aware of the history of numbers in soccer.

When Were Numbers First Used?

The first use of numbers in soccer goes all the way back to 1911. However, it was pretty sporadic throughout that time, and was not seen at the FIFA World Cup until 1950.

During that time, players had to wear a number from 1 to 22, and most of the starters wore a specific number for their position. It was not until the 1990s that a lot of professional leagues would allow players to switch their numbers to whatever they wanted.

For the number 11, the history has almost always been that the player is either a midfielder or a forward. It depends on the setup of each team, and what they end up using their specific prayer for.

The Final Word on #11

Without question, #11 will continue to be on the back of plenty of legends in soccer. Players understand that there is a lot of history with the sport, but the number is pretty aesthetically pleasing as well.

In fact, some people believe that the number is pretty slimming compared to others, since it consists of just two small lines. Everyone picks numbers for certain reasons, and that is just one more factor to consider.


Also Read:

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

Recent Posts