High fives to Mario Gotze and team Germany for winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The world’s most popular sport, or football as it’s more popularly known, is sweeping the nation. More than 26 million Americans watched as Germany put the game away in the 113 minute of play.

But did you know that the World Cup would not be possible without petrochemicals? And while we applaud your victory, petrochemicals could have made Team Germany look even sharper. Ditto for Argentina. That’s because many of the national team kits (aka uniforms) made by Nike were made using an average of 18 recycled plastic bottles made from polyethylene (which is made from ethylene – the leading petrochemical produced in the U.S.) The end result was a uniform consisting of shorts with 100% recycled content, a shirt with 96% recycled content and socks with 78% recycled content. So besides helping Team Germany look even more stylish, these uniforms would have kept you drier and cooler.

Petrochemicals also play a key role in a range of soccer equipment. Professional soccer goal netting often is constructed of high-strength polypropylene. Polypropylene is made from the petrochemical propylene which is the second most produced petrochemical in the U.S. What about the soccer ball? It’s made using polyesters (made from petrochemicals) for various parts including the stitching and covering. The seats a fan sits on are made from expanded polystyrene foam (made thanks to the petrochemical styrene).

The list of petrochemicals used in the world of soccer goes on… shin guards, goalie gloves, cleats and much more. At this year’s World Cup I say “score” for petrochemicals and their positive impact on this exciting event.

Melissa Hockstad

Posted by Melissa Hockstad

Melissa Hockstad is the former Vice President of Petrochemicals for AFPM. To learn more about AFPM, visit AFPM.org.