Why Do Football Teams Have Stars On Their Shirts

The Ultimate Guide To Stars On Football Jerseys

Last updated on September 25th, 2021

You may have noticed that some teams have stars on their jerseys. However, most of them are not part of their actual crest!

So why are these stars placed on their shirts?

Here’s what you need to know:

Why do football teams have stars on their shirts?

Football teams have stars above their logo to signify important milestones that they have achieved. This usually refers to the team winning a certain number of domestic leagues. Some leagues have fixed rules to determine the number of stars a team can have above their crest.

For others, it is open to the team to decide how many stars they want to incorporate into the logo.

Here are some specific examples that you may encounter:

Why does Borussia Dortmund have 2 stars?

Borussia Dortmund has 2 stars on their shirt to signify the 5 Bundesliga titles they have won. The 2 stars have been on their jersey from the 2012/13 season. This was after they won their 5th Bundesliga title in the 2011/12 season.

Dortmund used to have just 1 star on their kit. The last time they had 1 star was in their title winning season in 2011/12.

The star system was determined by the German FA (DFL). The teams will receive stars based on the number of Bundesliga titles they win.

This was done on a ‘sliding scale’:

Number of Bundesliga TitlesNumber of Stars
31
52
103
204

Borussia Dortmund was able to receive their 2nd star after winning the Bundesliga 5 times:

  1. 1994/95
  2. 1995/96
  3. 2001/02
  4. 2010/11
  5. 2011/12

As such, they received the honour of having 2 stars on their shirt!

You can find out why Borussia Dortmund has Borussia in their name in my guide to German football team names.

Why does Bayern Munich have 4 stars?

Bayern Munich has 4 stars on their shirt to signify the 20 Bundesliga titles they have won. They were able to wear the 4 stars from the 2008/09 season, having won their 20th title in 2007/08.

In the same way that Dortmund has 2 stars, Bayern Munich has 4 stars after they clinched their 20th Bundesliga title.

When will Bayern get 5 stars?

The German FA has not decided on the number of Bundesliga titles required to obtain a 5th star on the badge. As such, we do not know how many Bundesliga titles Bayern Munich needs to win to get the 5th star.

When the German FA decided on the star system, they only planned it till 4 stars. Once you win 20 Bundesliga titles, you will receive the 4 stars!

Bayern Munich has won their 29th Bundesliga title in the 2019/20 season. However, it is uncertain if they will receive their 5th star when they win their 30th Bundesliga title.

Moreover, the stars are awarded on a sliding scale basis. You had to win 10 more titles to obtain a 4th star. This was much higher compared to the 5 titles you needed to win to obtain a 3rd star.

In this manner, Bayern will need to win at least 30 titles or more before they are eligible for the 5th star!

Why does Huddersfield have 3 stars?

Huddersfield has 3 stars to signify that they were the first team to win the English First Division 3 times in a row, from 1924 to 1926.

The English First Division has now been renamed to the Premier League.

In England, there is no fixed rule on how stars can be placed on their crests. Interestingly, Huddersfield only incorporated the 3 stars into their logo from 2000.

The stars then became more prominent in 2009, where they were placed above the crest!

However, the stars have been reincorporated back into the new logo that Huddersfield announced in 2019. They are no longer as prominent compared to the previous logo.

However, the stars on the logo have received some backlash. This is because this feat was achieved more than 90 years ago!

Why does Juventus have 3 stars?

Juventus has 3 stars on their shirt to signify the 30 Serie A titles they have won. In Italy, teams are awarded 1 star for every 10 Serie A titles.

The 3 stars have been on Juventus’ jersey ever since the 2015/16 season.

Juventus was actually the very first team in the world to have the honour of a star on their jersey! After winning 10 Serie A titles after the 1957/58 season, they were awarded one star by the Lega Calcio.

The Lega Calcio was the governing body of the Serie A before it was taken over by Lega Serie A.

All Italian teams were then awarded one star for every 10 Serie A titles they obtain.

Juventus received their second star on their badge after they won their 20th title in the 1981/1982 season.

They were supposed to have received their 3rd star after winning their 30th title in the 2011/12 season. However after disputes with the Italian Football Federation, their 2 titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons.

This was because Juventus was involved in Calciopoli, a match fixing scandal in Italy in both seasons.

Even though both titles were won by Juventus, they were eventually not recognised.

In fact, no one was the champions of the 2004/05 season as runners-up AC Milan were involved in Calciopoli too! Inter Milan was awarded champions in the 2005/06 season as they were 2nd place.

Juventus did win their official 30th title in the 2013/14 season. However, they only chose to start wearing their 3 stars from the 2015/16 season.

They still have the 3 stars on their jersey after changing their logo in 2017!

Why does Inter Milan have a star?

Inter Milan has 1 star on their shirt to signify the 10 Serie A titles they have won. The single star has been on Inter Milan’s shirt ever since 1966.

Inter Milan won their 10th Serie A title in the 1965/66 season. They currently have 18 Serie A titles, which they last won in the 2009/10 season.

Why does AC Milan have one star?

AC Milan has 1 star on their shirt to signify the 10 Serie A titles they have won. The single star has been on AC Milan’s shirt ever since 1979.

AC Milan won their 10th Serie A title in the 1978/79 season. They currently have 18 Serie A titles, which they last won in the 2010/11 season.

So far, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus are the only 3 Italian clubs who have stars above their badges!

What do the 3 stars mean on Ajax’s badge?

Ajax has 3 stars to signify the 30 Eredivisie titles they have won. The system was started in the 2007/08 season, where one star is awarded for 10 titles won.

Ajax is the most prolific Dutch team in the league, and they clinched their 30th title in the 2010/11 season.

The next closest team is PSV Eindhoven, who received their second star after winning their 20th title in 2007.

Why does Celtic have 1 star?

Celtic has 1 star on their jersey to signify their European Cup win in 1967.

Celtic’s achievement was rather significant as they were the first club in Britain to have won the European Cup.

The European Cup has now been renamed to the UEFA Champions League.

When they announced their new jersey in 2007, Celtic changed the logo to add the star on top. This was done to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their European triumph.

Why does Aberdeen have two stars?

Aberdeen has 2 stars on their jersey to signify their 2 trophy wins in 1983: the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup.

Interestingly, they are the only team to have a star on their shirt to commemorate a European Super Cup victory!

The European Super Cup has now been renamed to the UEFA Super Cup, and you can find out more about this competition from my guide.

Why do Rangers have 5 stars on their shirt?

Rangers has 5 stars on their shirt to signify the 50 Scottish Premiership titles they have won. The 5 stars have been above their logo ever since 2003.

Each star represents 10 titles that Rangers have won. Interestingly, Celtic only chooses to wear one star instead of 5, even though they have won more than 50 titles too.

The Scottish Premiership does not have any ruling over how the use of stars on a club’s shirt. As such, Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers all use the stars for different purposes!

Why does Olympiacos have 4 stars?

Olympaicos has 4 stars to signify the 40 Greek Super League titles they have won. They added a 4th star above their crest after winning the 2012/13 Greek championship.

Each star on their crest represents 10 league titles they have won. There is no ruling by the Greek FA on how the stars should be awarded.

Why does Fenerbahce have 3 stars?

Fenerbahce has 3 stars to signify the 15 Turkish Super League titles they have won. Each star represents the 5 titles that they have won.

The Turkish Super League has an official star system that awards teams with a star for every 5 titles won. This makes it similar to how Italy and Germany work.

Why does Galatasaray have 4 stars?

Galatasary has 4 stars to signify the 20 Turkish Super League titles they have won. They achieved this feat after winning the 2014/15 Turkish Super League.

Apart from Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, other Turkish clubs Trabzonspor has 1 star and Beşiktaş has 3.

Why does Marseille have a star?

Marseille has 1 star above their crest to signify their UEFA Champions League victory in 1993. The European Cup victory is a significant milestone for the French club.

The Ligue 1 does not have any rules regarding the awarding of stars to the team. As such, Marseille used the star to mark their famous victory against AC Milan in the final.

Why does Benfica have 3 stars?

Benfica has 3 stars above their crest to signify the 30 Primera Liga titles they have won. They started to display the 3 stars on their jersey after winning the 2008/09 season.

The Portuguese league also does not have a fixed rule on how stars should be awarded. As such, Benfica started to display 3 stars, one for 10 Primera Liga titles they have won!

What do the stars mean on MLS jerseys?

The stars on MLS jerseys are meant to commemorate their team’s MLS Cup victory. Each team who wins the MLS Cup gets one silver star, while a team who wins 5 MLS Cups will get to have a gold star on their jersey.

Initially, the MLS teams would only wear a symbol to signify that they were the previous MLS Cup winners. The team will need to wear this badge, before a silver star is added to their badge for the next season.

The system changed in 2012, where the previous champions would wear a gold star, to indicate that they are the defending champions.

This gold star was worn on top of the other silver stars they have previously won. If they fail to win the current season’s MLS Cup, the gold star will be removed from their jersey.

In 2016, this was changed again after the LA Galaxy won their 5th MLS Cup in the 2014 season. The gold star also represents 5 MLS Cup victories!

The star system can be pretty confusing!

Why does LA Galaxy have a gold star?

The LA Galaxy has a gold star to signify that they have won 5 MLS Cups. This is part of a new star system that the MLS introduced in 2016.

LA Galaxy are the only team to have won 5 MLS Cups so far. As such, they were given the honour of sporting a gold star on their jersey.

This used to only be given to the defending champions of the previous season’s MLS Cup!

However, the LA Galaxy decided to place all 5 stars back on their jersey in 2019. The stars still signify the LA Galaxy’s 5 cup victories:

  1. 2002
  2. 2005
  3. 2011
  4. 2012
  5. 2014

Why does DC United have 4 stars?

DC United has 4 stars above their logo to represent the 4 MLS Cups that they have won. This is a special honour awarded by the MLS when a team wins the MLS Cup.

DC United actually has 3 stars on their logo as well! However, these 3 red stars are meant to represent the 3 jurisdictions of the Washington Metropolitan Area:

  1. Washington D.C.
  2. Maryland
  3. Virginia

The 4 silver stars above their logo are meant to represent the 4 MLS Cups they have won:

  1. 1996
  2. 1997
  3. 1999
  4. 2004

Why does Man City have 3 stars on their badge?

Manchester City used to have 3 stars on their badge, which was purely for decorative purposes. They are not used to mark any significant milestones that the team had achieved, as compared to other clubs which include stars on their logo to commemorate important tournaments they have won.

The logo was introduced in 1997, which was meant to give a ‘more continental feel to the design’. However, there was quite a lot of controversy regarding the logo.

Eventually, they announced a new logo from the 2016/17 season, and the stars were no longer included in this logo.

What do the stars on national soccer jerseys mean?

Stars on the national soccer jerseys are meant to signify each World Cup victory that the national team has achieved. The Brazilian team has the most stars with their 5 World Cup victories.

The World Cup is considered to be the most prestigious tournament for a country to win. As such, they are given the great honour of having a star above their logo to signify this great achievement.

Unlike at the club level where there are no standardised rules, FIFA has set out specific rules for national teams. This can be seen in Rule 15 of the Equipment Regulations.

In the rules, it says that you are able to wear a 5-pointed star on your jersey after you have won the previous version of the World Cup.

Which national football team has the most stars?

Brazil has the most number of stars on their football jerseys (5). This is because they have won the highest number of World Cups of any country.

Do you get a star for winning the Euros?

A national football team will not get a star on their jersey for winning the Euros. This honour is only reserved for the most prestigious competition in football, which is the World Cup.

When Italy won the Euro 2020 competition, they would not be able to add another star onto their jersey. This is because the Euros is considered to be less ‘prestigious’ compared to the World Cup!

A team can only have a star added onto their jersey if they win a World Cup.

Why does England have one star on their jersey?

The England football team has one star on their jersey to signify the single World Cup competition they won in 1966.

England has won one World Cup so far in 1966. This is why they have one star on their jerseys to commemorate this win.

How many stars does Germany have?

Germany has 4 stars on their national jersey to signify the 4 World Cups that the country has won, in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

Why does Uruguay have 4 stars on their jersey?

Uruguay has 4 stars on their jersey to commemorate their 2 Olympic victories (1924 and 1928) as well as their 2 World Cup victories (1930 and 1950). This was because the 1924 and 1928 Olympic tournaments were considered to be equivalent to a World Cup by FIFA.

FIFA did not have the means to host the World Cup on their own. Instead, they initially partnered with the Olympic Committee to host 2 ‘World Cups’ in 1924 and 1928.

Once FIFA were able to host the World Cup on their own, they started doing so from 1930.

This led to Olympic football having an age restriction, which could be a reason why it is not as popular.

In 1924, the FIFA Congress also came up with this ruling:

on condition that the Olympic Football Tournament takes place in accordance with the Regulations of FIFA, the latter shall recognize this as a world football championship

FIFA Congress

This means that winning the 2 Olympic titles in 1924 and 1928 were equivalent to winning a World Cup!

Since Uruguay won both the 1924 and 1928 competitions, they were entitled to 2 stars. They also won the 1930 and 1950 World Cups, so they now have 4 stars in total!

Why does Italy have four stars on their jersey?

Italy’s jersey has 4 stars to signify their country’s 4 World Cup victories, in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006.

Italy has the second highest number of World Cup victories at 4, with Brazil having the most number of wins (5).

Here was the penalty that gave them their latest trophy in 2006:

Why does Brazil women’s team have stars?

The Brazil women’s team has 5 stars on their jersey to commemorate the 5 World Cup victories that the Brazil men’s team have won.

However with this rule by FIFA, this is no longer possible:

Irrespective thereof, the number and configuration of the five-pointed stars, or other symbols as instructed by FIFA, corresponding to the respective first representative men’s or women’s team, may also be displayed on the Playing Equipment items of other
representative teams within the same category

FIFA Equipment Regulations

The Regulations then gave 2 examples where this is applicable:

  1. The men’s youth teams may display a five-pointed star per edition of the FIFA World Cup™ won by the first men’s team
  2. The women’s youth teams may display a five-pointed star per edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ won by the first women’s team

As such, the women’s team are no longer able to wear the 5 stars on their jersey!

This is because the Brazilian women’s team have not won a FIFA Women’s World Cup yet.

The Brazilian women’s team have since changed their jersey since 2020.

What do the stars on the USWNT jerseys mean?

The USWNT jersey has 4 stars to commemorate the team winning 4 FIFA Women’s World Cup trophies. The 4th star was added when they won the latest World Cup in 2019.

The jersey now has 3 silver stars, and one gold star above them.

The gold star is used to mark the incredible feat that the USWNT managed to complete by winning back to back World Cups. They have won 4 World Cups so far:

  1. 1991
  2. 1999
  3. 2015
  4. 2019

What do the 3 stars on the US soccer logo mean?

The 3 stars found in the old US soccer logo used to represent the 3 levels of soccer in America: Youth, Adult and Pro. However, the 3 stars were removed when the USSF changed their logo in 2015.

The US soccer teams are one of the few teams to have stars incorporated into their logo directly.

However due to the significance of a star in football, it could be the reason why the new logo no longer had any stars inside. This was because a star meant to mark a significant milestone for the team.

It could also be to accommodate the stars that are found on the USWNT’s logo!

What do the 3 stars on MLS logo mean?

The 3 stars on the MLS logo represent the 3 pillars of MLS’ brand: Club, Country and Community. It was added to the logo when there was an rebranding in 2014.

The MLS wanted to rebrand themselves ahead of the 20th season in 2014.

Interestingly, each MLS team could display a version of the MLS logo in their own team’s colours on their jerseys!

The 8 stars on the Champions League logo were meant to signify the first 8 teams that participated in the very first Champions League competition, back in 1992/93.

The UEFA Champions League consists of teams which originate from UEFA members, which are mainly countries that are in the European continent.

The 1992/93 season was when the European competition first played under the ‘UEFA Champions League’ branding. Back then, only 8 teams were playing in the actual competition!

This included:

  1. Marseille
  2. Rangers
  3. Club Brugge
  4. CSKA Moscow
  5. Milan
  6. IFK Göteborg
  7. Porto
  8. PSV Eindhoven

To commemorate these 8 teams that played in the very first Champions League, the logo was created as a nod to them. Each of the 8 stars represents one of these 8 teams.

The 8 star logo has also been placed on the match balls used during the Champions League matches.

Do you get a star for winning the Champions League?

There are no rules that govern whether a football club is able to place a star on their football jersey when they win the Champions League. This is up to the discretion of the club, and some clubs have chosen to do so, such as Marseille.

There are no hard and fast rules on whether you need to place a star on your jersey after winning the Champions League.

For example, Real Madrid would have 13 stars on their jersey for the 13 times they have already won the competition. However, they chose not to do so.

So far, only Marseille has added a star on their jersey to commemorate their Champions League victory. Most of the other clubs that have won the competition have not done so.

Conclusion

Most stars are added to mark a significant milestone that the club has achieved. Some leagues have a fixed system of awarding stars, such as:

  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. Turkey

For other countries, the stars are open to interpretation to each club. They can choose to commemorate league wins, or certain triumphs they had in European competitions!

The major exception to this was Manchester City’s old logo, which had 3 stars purely for decorative purposes.

For countries, there are strict regulations by FIFA regarding stars on the jersey. They can only be placed on the jersey if the team wins 1 of these 4 competitions:

  1. FIFA World Cup
  2. FIFA Women’s World Cup
  3. FIFA Futsal World Cup
  4. FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
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