Eigil Nielsen (footballer, born 1918)

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Olympic medal record
Men's Football
Bronze medal – third place 1948 London Team Competition

Eigil Louis Marius Ferdinand Nielsen,[1] known simply as Eigil Nielsen (September 15, 1918 – September 7, 2000) was a Danish amateur football goalkeeper, who played 28 games for the Denmark national football team and won a bronze medal with Denmark at the 1948 Summer Olympics. He played his club football with KB.[2]

Originally from Esbjerg, Eigil Nielsen was not selected for the Danish national team, until he moved to Copenhagen club Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB).[3] At KB, Eigil impressed with his quickness, judgement of ball-flight, and long-range goal kicks.[3] He made his debut for the Danish national team in October 1940, but did enjoy a prolonged run in the team until 1947.[2] He was the starting goalkeeper at the 1948 Summer Olympics, where his long-range goal kick served as an in-direct assist for one of John Hansen's goals in the 5-3 defeat of the Italy national football team.[3] Denmark won bronze medals at the tournament, and Eigil Nielsen was considered on par with legendary goalkeeper Svend Jensen;[3] a status not equalled until Peter Schmeichel in the 1990s.[4] Eigil Nielsen played his 28th and last international game in October 1951.[2]

Father of the Modern Soccer Ball[edit]

While playing, Nielsen worked in the shoe and leather industry for additional financial support. This gave him the opportunity to explore and develop his own soccer ball designs. As a result, he founded the Select Sport company in 1947, which continues today as one of the world's largest companies producing soccer balls.[5]

Eigil Nielsen is credited with creating the common 32-panel soccer ball design in 1962 using 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal patches.[6][7][8] It quickly became popular when the Adidas Telstar in 1970 became the first soccer ball in the World Cup to use the design.


  1. ^ Haslund.info profile
  2. ^ a b c Danish national team profile
  3. ^ a b c d Lundberg, Knud (1986). Dansk Fodbold. 1. Fra Breslau til Bronceholdet. Copenhagen: Rhodos. pp. 150–151. ISBN 87-7245-132-7.
  4. ^ Steen Ankerdal, "Landsholdet", Aschehoug, 2006, p.59
  5. ^ "SELECT Since 1947". SELECT. Archived from the original on 2015-07-02. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  6. ^ "World's First Intelligent Soccer Ball Receives FIFA Recognition". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  7. ^ "NJCAA adopts Select Sport America as official soccer ball". National Junior College Athletic Association. Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  8. ^ "NAIA Extends Partnership with Select Sport America". The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2015-07-21.