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The Story of Select Sport


An innovative company with history

SELECT Sport is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hand-sewn balls and produces approx 2 million balls a year. SELECT Sport is recognised as an innovator in quality balls and is represented by its own sales network or distributors in large parts of the world. We export to a total of more than 50 countries.

Select Sport America is located in Alpharetta, Georgia USA. The hand sewn soccer balls are made at the factory in Sialkot in Pakistan. Select has never used child labor – on the contrary all the people working for Select, and their families, receive free medical assistance and free schooling for all the children through a program called SAHEP.

Eigil Nielsen — the inventor of the modern soccer ball

Select Sport was founded in Denmark in 1947 by Eigil Nielsen, the Danish National Soccer Team goalkeeper at that time. He participated in 28 national matches from 1940-1951and was a part of the team winning Bronze in the Olympics Games in London in 1948.

At that time soccer players was not able to live solely from income from soccer, so Eigil decided to become sports psychologist and he also had a job in the shoe- and leather industry. It was here Eigil created the first SELECT leather soccer ball.

In 1951 Eigil Nielsen entered a contract with the Danish National Soccer Association (DBU) supplying soccer balls to the national soccer matches. A something completely new, the soccer ball had a build-in valve and no outside lace. This meant that the ball kept is roundness and shape much better than ever before and that the lace was not a nuisance when kicking or heading. The improvement was a radical new invention.

At this time, all soccer balls were made up of eight sections of cow leather which most of all looked like a brown leather orange. Later 18 oblong strips were used before SELECT in 1962 introduced one of the greatest inventions in the history of soccer balls – the 32 panel soccer ball.

In 1974 SELECT moved away from cow leather and made the first hand sewn synthetic leather ball. This material quickly become the material of choice instead of real leather and today practically all soccer balls are made of synthetic leather, regardless of brand.

All sorts of soccer ball tournaments around the globe are still played with soccer balls based on Eigil Nielsen’s 32 panel principle – and almost all soccer balls produced in the world today is still based on Eigil’s innovation.

Milestones in the history of SELECT sport

  • 1947 Eigil Nielsen and SELECT makes the first quality soccer ball.
  • 1951 Eigil Nielsen and SELECT introduces the first lace less ball in the world.
  • 1951 SELECT becomes the official ball supplier to the Danish Soccer Ball Association.
  • 1952 The SELECT soccer balls is used during the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
  • 1962 SELECT presents the first 32 panel soccer ball in the world.
  • 1965 SELECT presents the first waterproof soccer ball in the world.
  • 1974 SELECT presents the first PU (artificial leather) soccer ball in the world.
  • 1996 FIFA invites Eigil Nielsen to support them making the soccer ball criteria’s.
  • 2004 SELECT presents the worlds first self balanced zero wing bladder.
  • 2009 The official ball supplier contract between SELECT and The Danish Soccer Ball Association has now been in force for 58 years – world record.