THE JUMPMAN ON THE PITCH

About six months ago I wrote a piece on the website where I stated that lifestyle and soccer had come to a peak with the collaboration of PSG and the Jordan Brand. When I first learned about the range, I was just a fanboy searching through all the press releases and images of the collection online and getting my wallet ready to buy the entire collection. The collection that represented, so perfectly, everything that we’ve been talking about at KTTP for the past four years. 

At that time it was a far-fetched notion of mine to shoot the iconic collection in action on the pitch. But just like a lot of my great notions in recent years, far-fetched isn’t always so far off. On the back of 2 and a half weeks of bouncing around cities in the UK and Europe fate would have it that PSG and Man U were meeting in the Champions League at the same time we were in Paris. 

The football gods smiled on me and the far-fetched idea became reality. I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot the second leg of PSG’s Champions League quarterfinal with Manchester United in Paris. The stage was set, and thanks to the homies at PSG, my photographer credential was set as well. 

The day before the match, I visited the PSG training facility to shoot the first 15 minutes of training. I got an up-close look at the training outfits. Bold red mixed with black pants spoke to that iconic “BRED” colorway that Jordan Brand has made infamous. Mbappe broke out the special edition Jordan Vapors. In the corner of the trainging ground stood two basketball hoops next to a soccer goal, painting a quite literal picture of the combination of two worlds. 

On match day the energy was buzzing from the streets to the metro, this was no ordinary day. One thing that was different for me, was waiting until the evening for the match to start. In the US I’m accustomed to watching Champions League matches at lunchtime. That wait intensified my anticipation. The combination of it being my first Champions League match (as a photographer and/or spectator), my first match at Parc des Princes, the significance of the match, and the thought that this far-fetched drea, was actually happening made for a few nerves. And then it rained and continued to rain pretty much the entire match. 

The rain set a unique frame for a match that held such significance. And while the result didn’t have PSG shining in the end, the Jumpman on the pitch definitely did. It wasn’t just the kits during the match. From the aforementioned “BRED” warmup/training fits to the all black coaching gear to bright white Flyknit pregame track tops to seeing fans rock both the home and the away kits in the stands (I didn’t see anyone with my coaches jacket though)–it was evident Jordan Brand and PSG came correct on all levels with this one. I even got a bonus snap of a fellow photographers fire on feet with his Jordan 1s. 

Of course, the black “home” kits did not disappoint visually on the pitch. Whether it was the whole team huddled together in moments like the team photo and celebrating the first goal or an individual player coming over to the corner flag to take a corner, the black kits with white the Jumpman showed out. No lie, every time I put my camera to my eye I said to myself, “man those kits look good.” Down to the Jumpman over “Paris” on the socks, all the little details of this kit just work.

One thing I did notice was missing, was the Jumpman on the feet of Mbappe. Now, I know this was probably due to some contractual obligations and what not, but still, a match of this level and a player of Mbappe’s level, you want the potential man of the night rocking the Jumpman on feet. Regardless of that omission (and of course the outcome of the match),  photographing the Jumpman on the pitch was well worth it. Jordan Brand set the bar high for themselves with this one, we are all waiting for next season. Too soon, too soon, I know.

LEGOS AND FOOTY | F.C. BRICKSTAND BRICK BY BRICK

Beneath the racks of throwback kits with commemorative patches and dog-eared ticket stubs lies the naked truth: football fans are sentimental creatures. Sentimentality, unfortunately, seldom pushes football culture forward, but in rare moments it does help produce someone like Chris Smith aka @Brickstand. The Manchester-residing, Palace supporter is a fan on a mission to build all 92 League stadiums in English football, brick by Lego brick.  

Chris’s passion for football and its stands may be a matter of fact, but his mission to erect shrines to English football took some coaxing. He was neither a Lego prodigy nor a Macauley Culkin Home Alone-type setting up elaborate domino mazes of blocks and trinkets. “I worked at a school and the kids would play with Lego a lot.” Chris just wanted to do something to commemorate his fandom. And so “Brickstand” was born. 

Selhurst Park, the current “palace” of Crystal Palace, was always going to be the beginning, but there was this adjacent desire for an anthology. Block by block, Chris built—constructing the halls of Old Trafford, the Stadium of Light, Goodison Park. In the early days, the only breaks from the English landscape were by commission: Barcelona’s Camp Nou being one significant delivery. On the purely Lego-end Chris is still very much a one-man shop. All pieces are purchased by him personally, and just as he stacks every block, he’s also the one hand-delivering the model to your door.

No piece of Lego is actually purposed to create a football ground, which means every goal post, every safe standing terrace is actually full-scale creativity in action to the very micro level. But according to Chris, that kind of creation amidst the unknown is the fun part, and fun for a guy who spends as much time as he does building blocks is paramount. 

Chris recounts his joy at not only how his build of Fulham’s Craven Cottage found a worthy home, “The idea was always to give it so it would it fit nicely in someone’s house.” but how enjoyable it was to build the unique stand at Fulham. “Sometimes you end up with one beautiful façade on the back of one of the stands, while the others are just plastic and corrugated metal – then you have this contrast with something Victorian almost.” 

Chris references Archibald Leitch, the architect responsible for not only designing Selhurst Park but many of England’s iconic stands with a kind of reverence. The nostalgic beauty of even the foundation material of old grounds is not lost on Chris who laments how similar the plastic and corrugated metal of modern stadiums can feel. 

The malaise of building copy and paste stadiums made sure that the fun of building a stadium in the first place began to dry out. Add to that the pure material cost of the Lego and Chris realized he wasn’t enjoying it anymore. “It was getting really difficult to replace the bricks. I couldn’t buy Lego fast enough to replace what I was giving away.” 

It became so routine Chris would find himself completing the model, taking a picture and stripping it down for parts. Turns out in the world of gleaming collectible, the un-glamour of it all still rests with the guy who has to build the damn thing. So with the knowhow of Football Manager and the newer, vaster imagination imparted by the Lego universe, Chris Smith decided to build something new.

 

The idea for FC Brickstand was to design the kind of club that would play in one of the many Lego stadiums he’s built – a club built completely out of Lego and the friends and family that make up Chris’ life. This Lego team would play in the simulated “Diorama Conference” with a full slate of opposing teams with equally whimsical names: Makersfield Town, Olymbrick De Marseille, Connection Orient etc. In the FC Brickstand world, results are shared via Twitter as Chris would stage his “players” in game situations and give the match recap through a caption. This new universe of FC Brickstand was a welcome one for Chris. Laughing, he says, “It can be a relief from following your real football team. It can be an antidote.”

The fictional football club is not a particularly groundbreaking concept on its own merit. Sophnet’s FC Real Bristol or Nike FC have been using the “club” as avatars/mannequins for football culture merchandising for years. And yet, this communal multimedia journey around a club built on Lego immediately depicted something innately deeper than just a Spring/Summer collection.

In today’s landscape of in-game/in-app transactions, FC Brickstand occupies this interesting gap between the completely analog Lego terraces Chris built and the immediate validation of something like FIFA Ultimate Team. For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, Lego was beginning to reflect the football world like a weekly magazine or publication would—one match day at a time. For Chris the switch came at a pivotal time, “It got me re-enthused. I’ve gone back to the start because all the stadiums were built on trial and error. The enjoyment part of it was not knowing how it would work out but saying let’s just start it and see what happens.”

The Brickstand squad continued to take shape with Chris no longer only creating replicas, but emphatic storylines wholesale. The social media community around FC Brickstand in return started following stat and storylines of Brickstand players like star striker and Lego figurine: Conor Muldoon whose goalscoring prowess is directly related to how Chris is feeling on the day of. Yet the supporters of Conor and FC Brickstand love it and engage because the scale and care that these matches are staged with makes it feel real.

FC Brickstand’s unique place in the hearts and minds of football fans is also rooted in the relational aspect to real-world results. When a black cat ran on the pitch during an Everton game, Chris recreated the scene for FC Brickstand within the week with Lego-licensed cat and all. Real football — it seems — gives him all the material he’d ever need. 

For someone building a fantastical club, the results are still mired in a heavy dose of reality. Maybe it’s Chris’ Crystal Palace fandom or some deep tenet about football culture thriving despite the lack of winning, but it tells you a lot about the man when FC Brickstand currently sits in 2nd place of something akin to the Lego 5th division. Just like his run at building all 92 stadiums, Chris has created FC Brickstand for the long haul.

In his daily life Chris, who had been fairly solitary in his design of the stadiums, began receiving extra help from fans across the country who wanted to be a part of the team. “I have a guy who approached me and said, ‘I’ll help you do the results and help you with the league table.” After a Twitter contest that saw Brickstand’s fans select the inaugural kit for the team, Chris partnered with a company that custom painted kits onto the Lego figurines. He’s even gone as far as opening up a FC Brickstand membership portal, where for 5 Pounds/year, anyone across the footy internet, can be turned into a Lego figurine and placed in the seat of their choosing. In the vast world of football culture, Chris has invented one of the most creative ways to support.

At the time of writing, Chris is about halfway through building his 92 stadiums. With about a two-week window for each build, Chris estimates he’d have spent a full year of pure building when he completes his run. While daunted by the hours and labor ahead, Chris is quick to point out that his favorite memories involve him hand-delivering a piece and talking football with the super fan who just received the gift of a lifetime. Somehow, even after all those blocks, Chris Smith found the happy medium between the brick, mortar and digital worlds with his sentiment still fully intact.

You can follow Chris and his 92 builds here at brickstand.com and on Instagram: @FCBrickstand

 

SNEAKERS W/ IVES GALARCEP

It all started with Run-DMC. The pioneering rap group who became worldwide celebrities singing about their sneakers. “My Adidas” was the song that hooked millions, and it hooked me too, a 10-year-old kid from New Jersey who found a way to convince his mother that he had to have the shell-toe adidas.

It wasn’t long after that when I started my first paying job, selling newspaper subscriptions door to door, and there was no debating what I would spend my first paycheck on. The Air Jordan 2 cost $100. A price that doesn’t sound like much today, but in 1987 it was considered outrageous. At least to my mother, but she didn’t need to know how much they cost because I bought them with my own hard-earned money.

Little did I know then that I was starting a love affair with sneakers that would last a lifetime. 30 years later I can still get a thrill from opening a pair of kicks I’ve been chasing after. My wife can’t begin to understand it, but my two sons are starting to get it, because slowly but surely the same sneaker bug that bit me more than three decades ago is starting to bite them too.

In my 20 years as a sports writer I’ve come to find out that there are sneaker heads in all walks of life, and in every sport. The soccer world is teaming with them. It can be the team’s manager, captain, rookie and even camera man. It can be the young American player, or even the veteran from Eastern Europe who points to your Jordans and gives you the, “Nice kicks,” that can make your day.

Many of them have similar stories to me, the same tale of being the kid who didn’t have much growing up, but found a way to get the sneakers that became their most prized possessions. Even athletes who now can have any sneakers they want will wax nostalgically about their first pair of Jordans or first pair of adidas.

You also get those athletes who have to set aside their love for certain sneakers because of contractual obligations. I’ve heard, “I wish I could wear those,” more times than I can count, while also hearing stories of the shoe collections gathering dust in basements, waiting for the day when show contracts might expire, or when the players might retire and once again be free to wear whatever sneaker they want.

Non-sneakerheads struggle to understand the appeal, and fail to realize that the emotional connection isn’t as much about the combination of leather, plastic and rubber that makes up the shoe. For some, it can be simply about the look, and the style, and how it helps you present yourself. For others, it is about the feeling of completeness and of security a prized sneaker can provide. A cool pair of kicks can be like armor for a kid who doesn’t have much else, helping some find the confidence to be their true selves.

That’s a feeling you don’t forget, which is why you see sneakerheads go particularly crazy about the shoes they wore when they were young. A few years ago I made it my mission to track down a pair of white, black, and red Jordan 2s, more than 25 years after I bought an original pair. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t remember the actual act of buying the original pair, and had no pictures of me wearing them back then. That didn’t stop me from opening the box of my new pair and smiling, suddenly conjuring up emotions I hadn’t felt in ages.

I’ve only worn those Jordan 2s a couple of times, but I take them out of the box every now and then and just stare at them, like looking at an old photo album, remembering the days when it was the only pair of sneakers I had, back when I never could have imagined owning as many sneakers as I own now, back when I couldn’t have imagined being a journalist lucky enough to have a career writing about sports.

That emotional connection to sneakers isn’t confined to the United States. Step onto any continent with a fresh pair of kicks and you will feel some love. I’ve covered four World Cups, on four different continents, and never failed to find conversations about kicks. From Tokyo to Cape Town, Berlin to Rio, sneakerheads have stories to share, and memories resembling the ones experienced here in the USA.

I will be partnering with Kicks to the Pitch in the coming months to bring you stories like mine, speaking to players and coaches and people throughout the American soccer community to share their love affair with sneakers. A love affair enjoyed by more people than you might realize.

 

LE BALLON: A DIFFERENT LEAGUE W/ JACK WHELAN

There’s no denying Jack Whelan’s love for football. As the owner and founder of Le Ballon, a football “maison de tout” based out of Paris, Whelan does everything from consulting to creating, and even sometimes playing, but that’s not where his football story in the fashion capital begins.

Originally hailing from near Birmingham, England, Jack has had spells in Switzerland and Canada before finally settling in France. His first foray into creating a mark in the culture he attributes to more of a little bit of luck than judgment. He and his brother were given an opportunity to take over a shut-down bar and naturally, their aim was to convert it to a football bar, except one that “did things a little bit differently.” At the time, around the 2014 World Cup, Parisians did not experience football matches in bars and pubs like American and English people do, so the Whelans wanted to bring that type of an environment to them.  

“We didn’t just want to have a pub where we put in a couple of screens and hang a scarf from the wall and say, ’yeah, we’re a football bar now,’ so we looked at all the things that we liked that surrounded football.

“We wanted to create a place where everyone could come and everyone could feel welcomed so people that were massive football fans would appreciate it for the little nods to football history and the nostalgia elements that would appeal to them, but also to the more casual fan (it was the World Cup after all), where they wouldn’t feel intimidated by a bunch of swear-y, beer-y, bold blokes in the pub.”

Where you might’ve assumed a signed soccer ball sitting in a display case instead hung a picture of Rod Stewart in a leotard kicking a ball around. Or as opposed to a vintage kit framed up, you’d see a shot of Andy Warhol photographing Pelé. “It was a bit tongue-and-cheek, a bit English, a bit self-effacing, and it ended up working quite well.”

The success of their bar led to interests from brands who liked Jack’s take on the game and wanted him to get involved further. For Jack there was still plenty of room to make football cooler and more interesting. Football culture had an image problem and this was an opportunity for him to change that.

 “If you wore a football shirt in the street, you were at best, uncool, at worst, a hooligan. And that was something we didn’t really like and we didn’t think was true. We disagreed that wearing a football shirt couldn’t be cool.”

“In France, they have this notion of [a footballer being] the ‘beauf’ and that’s someone who doesn’t have any sensibilities for style or for fashion, or for what might be cool or what might not be cool. And we just completely disagreed with it. Footballers influence so many things throughout history. Be it in fashion, be it in art; be it in music, whatever it might be; football has influenced it. It’s a global game. It’s the working man’s game. It ticks all the boxes for everyone no matter how rich or poor, no matter what kind of upbringing you’ve had, everyone can get in with it.”

So having this mindset, and having the eyes and ears of the people in fashion and marketing that were coming into his bar, Jack set his sights on getting his patrons to enjoy the game a little bit more. But as it turns out, the more he tried to sway people to toward his philosophy of football, the more he realized that he didn’t have to, because they already felt the same way. 

“Some of the lads, you’d have no idea that they were fans of the game, that they really enjoyed the game until you got them in the bar, and you got them hurling abuse at the TV, and you got them in a football shirt to support their team.”

It was like they were living double lives and they needed Jack to bring out that other side of them, to let them know that it was more uncool not to show their pride and passion than it was to express themselves and their true love. 

“I don’t think we can single-handedly claim responsibility that the football shirt is a bit more prevalent these days and people are happier to show their true colors but [the bar] gave them a place which was like a halfway house. It wasn’t turning up to Millwall bar in London. We weren’t just going to plant the head of menswear from Dior into a Millwall supporter’s bar and be like ‘yeah, go on mate’ because that would be terrifying and he wouldn’t fit in. It was a slightly softer edge, it didn’t take itself too seriously and I think people picked up on that quite quickly. And once they were immersed in it they realized, ‘yeah, this is quite good fun!’”

 

At the conclusion of the World Cup and the excitement and energy that they had built around his football bar, Jack looked on to the next step of Le Ballon. Upon getting a call from Nike, Jack thought to create a league composed of all the cool Parisian bars among and around his own as you can often find back at his home in England.

“We went and knocked on doors and were like, ’we’re thinking of starting a pub league, do you want in?’ and they’re like, ‘Why the hell would we want to do that?’’ So they would pitch to them as best they could. ”Playing football, you, your staff, a couple of your mates, your clients, your patrons, all get together, you know, Sunday morning, hung over football! And then back to one of the bars to watch the games.” But they were met with a resounding answer: “No. That sounds like a terrible idea.”

Ultimately, they had no desire to create a pub league so Jack had to go back to the drawing board to figure out what else he could do. “We decided that with the guys we had gotten to meet and knew already through the bar, could we get these guys to create a team, create a league, full of designers, models, photographers, artists, writers, PR people, ad men, and all that sort of thing. So we had the idea and we took it to Nike and they said, ‘Yeah! That seems like a really good idea.’”

“We got the okay from Nike at the end of October 2014 and we kicked off January 2015, so it was a pretty quick turnaround.  We got everybody to the bar, in the basement, put together a little presentation saying this is what it’s going to be, this is who we are, this is who you need to find as well. They had to find their teammates. And right, they had a week; a week to come back with a roster, a logo, a kit. And sure enough, a week later they’ve put together their presentations. We told them all they had to come and present a proper presentation, and they all did. I had a quick look at the list of the players. Made sure that they were telling the right sort of story we wanted to tell and away we went.”

“We had guys who were on the books at professional clubs to people who had literally never played football before. And we were able to balance it out and everyone was just as keen as one another. Every week they came to training and the guys who had never played before were able to get markedly better.”

Rather than follow a traditional schedule of training and matches on a weekly basis, the teams would train weekly, but in a group setting. They wouldn’t train as individual teams but as one team, Le Ballon FC. Then at the end of the month, they would split into their respective teams and have their matches. 

“I’ve grown up playing football all my life. I’ve played for good clubs. I played varsity soccer in Canada, playing six days a week, flying around the country to play football, so I was used to training at a high level and playing at a high level, so for me, to get back and play football again was really awesome. For the people who had played football when they were younger and then stopped, it was nice for them to be like, ‘Ah yeah, football training! I remember this from when I was ten. This is great!’  And then for the guys that had never done it before, they were like, ’God I missed out on this when I was a kid? This is great! I’m here with like a hundred mates. This is really good fun.’ And the guys who had never played went from not being able to kick a ball to actually being half decent footballers come the end it. That was quite good as well and it tied in with our narrative we had with Nike [regarding self-improvement].”

It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to learn about what Jack was doing with Le Ballon and his league of creatives. Jack was inundated with daily messages asking how to get on a team or how to create their own.  Everyone wanted to be a part of it or try to do the same back in their corner of the world.  Whether or not he’s ready to admit it, he had created a league unlike any other. “Were we the first? I dunno, maybe. And even if we weren’t, even now after us, there aren’t many out there.”

As the league continued to grow, so did the needs of Le Ballon. Additional sponsorships and partnerships were formed to keep the machine moving at a proper pace. “Puma came in and helped us out; they took over a couple of teams, so that was cool. Soccerbible got involved and really helped us tell the story. That helped us find a couple of sponsors as well, with them as a guaranteed media partner, their following is so enormous it provided added value.” Jack also built a relationship with Red Star FC who allowed them access to their training grounds and stadium for Le Ballon to play on. 

“It was a bit more organic than it was in the first season where we had gone from zero to a hundred in a way that basically nobody else had ever done before.  The third [season] was like returning to the source. I’d like to say that we were re-inventing it but it was more of scrapping around and making sure the thing didn’t die before we were ready. It was a bit of lateral thinking but it was a happy accident, I suppose.”

From there, Le Ballon then began touring as a team to different countries to play against other like-minded ensembles. “This is something that needs to be done; football is a global game. There are loads of people doing things that are similar to us, let’s try and [tour]. So we went to Milan to play against Calcetto Eleganza and AS Velasca which was awesome. Calcetto came here, Guerrilla [FC] came here. Soho Warriors came here. Recreativo Hackney came here. And yeah, getting fifteen guys together gave us an excuse to make new kits as well.”

 

All the teams traveling back and forth to each other lent great opportunities for content to be created and new stories to be told. “The guys coming from Milan to Paris or us going to Milan, everyone’s filming everything; everyone’s taking pictures of everything. You can look back at it and go, ’yeah, that was a really good time.’”

While Jack recounted the inception and progression of Le Ballon, he’d be remiss if he didn’t mention one of the best events he had ever put on. 

“The best thing that we did was the art gallery for the Euros in 2016, because that was just genuinely silly. No one has done anything like that and I don’t think anyone will again. Brands wouldn’t really be able to do what we did. They would never take it on; they would never try it. It was setting fire to money!”

“We had the bar at the same time just around the corner so it’d be at the gallery at 8, until 8, close the gallery, go to the bar, close the bar at 2, and do it again thirty days in a row. We’d completely rung ourselves out. Customization in the basement was stupid! 

We had far too much going on. [We had] like 200+ embellishments, 75 patches, 120 transfer customization elements, 8 different football shirts that were designed with four different designers. We had merchandise from all over the world. Stuff from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the States, England, Italy, France, Brazil, Russia; it was really, really stupid!”

“We commissioned work from two dozen artists to be on the walls and on display, sculptures and paintings and photographs. We had a library which had every independent football magazine that I knew in the world. So that was good. The opening we had two or three hundred people standing in the road. That was a good time and I think that’s probably the thing that you’d say you’re most proud of. It was a stupid idea and we executed it somehow.”

As a pioneer of bringing football culture to the forefront, Jack has had a unique opportunity to see it evolve and expand on the global stage. 

“Football culture is way bigger now; it’s massive now. I joke about my cynicism but it is something that I get. Even the word ‘culture,’ I feel it’s…  I dunno, you end up sounding a bit like a hipster.  ‘I listened to Arcade Fire before they were cool’ that sort of thing. But I see the way culture gets bandied about and I think people often miss the mark.” 

 

“But at the same time, the more people that are involved in it (my cynicism aside), the better. There’s more scope for creativity and people that are coming forth later have new ideas. When we started doing what we were doing, there wasn’t much of it going on and we had a different way of looking at it to the people that had gone on before us. That was fine. And now people that are coming in have a different way of looking at it than what we do and I suppose there always has to be a changing of the guard; there has to be progression. If it was up to me, we’d all just be going around in football shirts from the early 90’s. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.”

“I really like the fact that the women’s side of it has taken off; that’s really cool. We’ve got our friends here, the Cacahuète Sluts who are awesome. They continue to do really awesome things. They make cool videos, they take good photos. They have a really good story to tell and they have a really good message as well. Then in England you’ve got the likes of Romance FC, who again, are really cool.”

“In terms of the biggest change, [football culture] has shifted. Social media has played a big role as well. People can get something started [quickly] and it has shrunk the world. Everyone can see everything.”

 So what’s in store for Jack and the future of Le Ballon? “I want to keep the touring alive because I think it’s genuinely the most fun you can have. I’d love to keep that going because you get to learn the way the others do it and all the creativity that goes into it. When you do these things, they’re inspired to make a new kit because ‘Le Ballon is going to come and play against us’ because it’s fresh and an injection of impetus and life into their story.  Things get done when you act as a group and when you travel and meet new people.”

“The league has been on hiatus for almost a year now and I want to get it going again but it costs a lot of money. So I need to make sure I find the right partners, the right sponsors to help us out with that. I want to take [the league] around the world because I think that’s interesting. I’d love to go to Tokyo and see what they would be able to come up with if you were to go, ‘this is a limitless, no holds barred creative opportunity, release your inner ten year old.’”

“I think it’s about story-telling, it’s about design, it’s about the joy of the game and everything else that’s inspired by the game. We’ve done Paris and we’ve seen how they do it. I think it could happen again here with the younger crew and see how the new generation of cool kids in Paris would interpret it but for me, I kind of want to see how somewhere else in the world would do it. How would Brazil interpret the Le Ballon Football League? What would they make? How would they do it? I think it would be great fun! Now I just have to convince someone with a checkbook to think the same way.” 

As for any final advice Jack might have, he had this to say: “Do it because you like it and don’t try to turn it into a business. I see a lot of people try and monetize it. 99 times out of 100 it’s just not worth it. You’ll end up destroying the thing that you love because you’ll wonder why other people aren’t as passionate about it as you are. Everybody wants to be a brand these days and it’s not worth it. Do it because you like it.” 

 

WORLD SOCCER SHOP x KTTP PRESENTS | KIT STORIES: RICH GORDON

For this edition of Kit Stories, we sit down with Rich Gordon, the creative director of Kicks to the Pitch. Rich takes us on his soccer fandom journey, starting as a first generation Jamaican American growing up in South Florida. We learn how his love and passion for the game as well as kits blossomed in 1998, and how certain kits really represent who he is today. From the Jamaica ’98 World Cup Kappa kit, to the O2 Arsenal Invincibles kit to a throwback Arsenal kit from 97′; all these kits play a part in Rich’s Kit Story.

UNBOXING | ADIDAS WOMEN’S COPA and PREDATOR 19.1

On this episode of Unboxing we take a closer look at the women’s specific versions of the Copa 19.1 and the Predator 19.1 from adidas. These versions of adidas’s staple silos are made in women’s sizing and colorways reserved for the women’s pack. Thanks to World Soccer Shop and be sure to head over to WSS to pick up your pair.