Eigil Nielsen (footballer, born 1918)

For the other Danish footballer, see Eigil Nielsen (footballer born 1948).
Olympic medal record
Men's Football
London 1948 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-rage 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

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 Nielson 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. 1 2 3 Danish national team profile
  3. 1 2 3 4 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. 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. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  8. "NAIA Extends Partnership with Select Sport America". The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2015-07-21.

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