Both rugby and soccer, until the 1860's, was played with a "plum shaped" spherical ball with an inner-tube made of a pigs’ bladder. In 1862 Richard Lindon introduced India rubber inner-tubes and because of the pliability of vulcanised rubber the shape for a soccer ball could finally be spherical.
For the first time in the history of the, inflatable, ball a template for leather panels could be made and balls be replicated time over to an exacting standard. Richard Lindon became the founding father to the first original round soccer ball and the original oval rugby Ball.
John Lillywhite was employed at Rugby School in 1850 as the schools first cricket professional and possibly assisted William Gilbert to launch his footballs and rugby balls to the London clubs of the 1860's.
The first time that a "standard" soccer ball was specified was for a representative game between the (London) Football Association and Sheffield Association in March 1866, when it was stated that "Lillywhite's No. 5" must be used.
Later, the Harrow Chequers club proposed that a fixed size of ball should be used for the FA's Challenge Cup Competition. The general agreement was also that Lillywhite's number 5 should be used.
Visit the Gilbert rugby museum in Rugby and you ill find a fascinating display of early balls, soccer as well as rugby.
Further information can be found at
Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum