As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues, one of the most common terms you’re likely to hear when players are analyzed is ‘caps’.
No, this does not refer to any type of hat worn by a player. Rather, it’s a term associated with their senior team.
Let’s dive into the history of the expression and how it’s used today:
What do hats mean in football?
Caps in football refer to the number of appearances a player has made with their senior team, so their club is not associated with that number.
The term is said to have originated in the UK when players were given physical caps to mark their involvement in international matches. Although this physical feat is a thing of the past, it is still one of the highest honors a player can achieve in the sport.
How does a player earn a cap?
A player can only earn a cap by playing in an international game. Simply being added to the roster is not enough, as a player needs to log minutes into a given game in order to count.
What types of games count as a cap?
According to the FIFA Regulations Manual, international caps are only awarded in “A” international matches, which are the following: World Cup matches, World Cup qualifiers, continental competitions and their qualifiers, friendly matches between senior national teams and Olympic Games and their qualifiers.
Who has the most caps in football history?
According to FIFA, in October 2022 Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa has 196 caps, the most in football history. His last game came against Jordan in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on June 14, 2022, so the 37-year-old could soon be the first to break the exclusive 200 mark. Here are the six players with at least 180 caps [ADD DATE]:
- Bader Al-Mutawa, Kuwait: 196 and counting
- Soh Chin Ann, Malaysia: 195, retired
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: 191 and counting
- Ahmed Hassan, Egypt: 184, retired
- Ahmed Mubarak, Oman: 183 and counting
- Sergio Ramos, Spain: 180 and counting
Who has the most caps in USMNT history?
Former midfielder Cobi Jones has the most caps in USMNT history with 164. Here are the top five players with the most caps in USMNT history:
- Cobi Jones: 164, retired
- Landon Donovan: 157, retired
- Michael Bradley: 151, retired
- Clint Dempsey: 141, retired
- Jeff Agoos: 134, retired
Which current USMNT player has the most caps?
The USMNT has adopted a youth-focused approach in recent years after missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and that is reflected in the list of current most capped players.
Right-back DeAndre Yedlin is the current USMNT’s most capped player with 74 appearances, which ranks 32nd in team history. Here are the five best:
- DeAndre Yedlin: 75 and counting
- Gyasi Zardes: 67 and counting
- Kellyn Acosta: 53 and counting
- Christian Pulisic: 51, and counting
- Jordan Morris: 48 and counting