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We live in a beautiful time where soccer and culture are overlapping more than ever. The unique ethos of the beautiful game and everything that surrounds it continues to evolve with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives shaping its culture and helping it grow.
There is no better example of the collision of soccer and culture than the Los Angeles based soccer league, The Association. Born out of a desire to grow the sport through culture, The Association blends the best of music, art, and fashion with some of LA’s best brands and most influential social media personalities.
Started in 2018, the goal of The Association was to create the most dynamic and interesting soccer league in the United States. A league that wasn’t based solely on the competitiveness on the pitch but the culture and the people vying to make soccer more than just a game but a culturally diverse movement. The Association has become a hub for LA’s creative community that also happens to have a deep love for the beautiful game.
In the second installment of the league, The Association has brought back six original teams from season one (Beats by Dre, Complex, SpaceX, 424 on Fairfax, Niky’s Sports and Dash Radio) and added two new teams for season two (ShoeSurgeon and Guess). These brands represent some of the best that LA has to offer in terms of tech, fashion, media, music, and retail. And as diverse as the teams are, each of them shares a deep love for soccer, the culture and they all have a desire to help grow the sport not only in Los Angeles but across the US.
Each team in the league is given the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and design one of a kind kits that can only be seen on Association game nights—custom made kits by SpaceX, The Shoe Surgeon, 424, Guess and other paragons in their fields. These uniforms have helped drive the story around creativity within the league and pushed the boundaries of what a soccer league looks like.
The Association is truly an example of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The teams, players and kits are just a part of the story. Each game night is designed to give fans and players an experience that goes above and beyond the games. Through partners adidas, el Jimador, and Kona fans are treated to the incredible music from resident DJ Kappa as well as free tacos, tequila, and beer.
For more hands-on experiences, FutPool provides a novel soccer-meets-billiards competition. There are also FIFA video game stations onsite.
In addition to the music, the food, and the drinks, each game night features a unique activation. In the spirit of competition, season two includes a number of exclusive battles including a live art battle curated by Secret Walls, a barber battle featuring some of LA’s flyest barber shops, and a B-Boy battle that brought back serious 1980s breakdancing vibes. With three weeks left of season two and the playoffs beginning this week, The Association team has a few more tricks up its sleeves for the final activations.
The Association is a celebration of soccer and the culture that it inspires. The goal of the league has always been to elevate the sport for existing fans and use culture as a bridge to new fans.
Season two of The Association has three weeks left. If you are in Los Angeles on a Thursday night between now and June 13th, stop by for a drink. Eat a taco. Watch some incredible games and connect with the beautiful community that we are all a part of.
Thursday nights from 8pm-11pm The Base LA
352 N. Ave 21
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Entry is free and The Association is open to all ages.
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This installment of Female is Football is featuring Ashtin Larkin, a So Cal native that played soccer at the University of West Virginia. We bounced around some iconic spots in Downtown LA with Ashtin. Special thanks to 424 on Fairfax for a couple of the looks with their fresh throwback Hummel collab. Check out the shots and the BTS video below and learn more about Ashtin through our Q&A.
Q: To start, can you tell us where you’re from and what you like most about your home town?
I am from Cerritos, CA born in Torrance. I grew up in Cerritos and I can’t say there is too much great about it haha. We have the Cerritos Auto Square, which is what it is probably best known for. But, as far as location I appreciated the fact that I was in a good middle ground between LA and Orange County and having the ability to grow up and have access to both areas was always convenient.
Q: How did you first get involved with the game of soccer, and what made you fall in love with it?
I actually had a friend introduce me to it in the 1st grade. No one in my family ever played so I knew nothing about it. I grew up as a two-sport athlete playing soccer and basketball and at some point I fell in love with it and knew it was what I wanted to pursue in college. I think I most enjoyed the competition and physicality of the game. I would say my strengths are my low center of gravity and quickness and I think soccer really accentuated things strengths along with my competitive nature. I think I also fell in love with the angles of the game, which sounds weird. It reminds of basketball in the way of angles, but for some reason I see it much more attractively portrayed on the field rather than on a court.
Q: What position did you/do play. Why does that position resonate most with you?
I’ve always played midfield. Depending on the formation I grew up playing outside wing, then moved to attacking mid. In college we played in a 4-3-3 system and I played holding mid, which is a little different because I’m 5’1. Over the years I’ve grown to really appreciate center-mid, whether it be holding or attacking. I am a natural passer so I enjoy distributing the ball and just having an overall view of the field. Although I am not an avid runner, I appreciate the aspect of getting back on defense and then being able to get into the attack. I also am a big communicator so being able to communicate from that position on the field is very advantageous. I also enjoy defense and getting into tackles, so I think the defense mid position is something that over the years I’ve grown to appreciate and really see my best attributes excel. The 6 is my bread and butter 🙂
Q: Are you still playing now? If So where?
I currently still play during the week and on the weekends. During the week I play in an adult co-ed futsal league in LA Urban Futsal, which was originally something fun and different than I wasn’t used to. Now that I am not playing consistently, I really enjoy any indoor or short-sided soccer that gets the ball moving quickly. I also play in a Sunday women’s league. We just show up and play, similar to the Bad News Bears, except we are all ex-collegiate players lol. It’s nice to get outside and just play with girls who know the game and get the outdoor feel every so often.
Q: Got to ask, what are your go-to sneakers?
I recently bought a pair of Flyknit 270’s, which I am a big fan of. They look sleek and they are very comfortable. I wasn’t always a big sneaker person, I was always in sandals and letting my feet breathe since I lived in soccer cleats and basketball shoes lol, but over the years my shoe collection has grown. I like Nikes that are different or just not something that everyone has. I like the style to be a little bit unique, whether it is style or colorway. I try to pick them strategically or if I’m really going to wear them, otherwise I will want way more than I need.
Q: With that, how would you describe your style?
I would definitely say my style is very athleisure. Growing up immersed in sports I really got used to being comfortable at all times, and now I just try to dress that up a bit. I appreciate a good pair of Nikes with a feminine outfit or sweats and a hoodie. I like to get dressed up and wear heels, but it’s definitely not a regular thing. For me, if I can be comfortable and cute then I’ve done the trick. I would also say that my style is minimalistic, like less is more or a pop of color to something plain. I really enjoy fashion and for me being able to put fashion and athletics together whenever I can is a plus.
Q: Different styles and colors of soccer boots are almost as popular as sneakers right now, what are your go to soccer boots?
I’ve always been a Nike vapor girl (typically the men’s styles). I appreciated the sleekness and lightness of the cleat. Over the years the vapor has evolved, which is great because it was always rough when someone stepped on your toes smh. I’ve had multiple colorways in the vapors and at one point I had the gold Ronaldinho R10 cleat, which I really liked.
Q: Do you have a favorite pro team and/or favorite professional player?
I would be lying if I said I had a favorite professional team. I watch foreign soccer occasionally, and I somewhat keep up with the MLS, but I don’t have a favorite team. In regards to players, similar to everyone else I appreciate Ronaldo, Beckham, Messi, and Neymar all the flashy players. But I really enjoy the players that orchestrate and get into the physicality of the game. So like a Michelle Akers and Zinedine Zidane, people that get after it every game and have a little tenacity. I mean similar to a Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, I like the ones that play with a little grit.
Q: Ok, so here is a random question, what are your top three favorite guilty pleasure foods and then the same with music?
My top 3 guilty pleasure foods are chocolate, recently a cupcake with ice cream inside of it (Frosted bakery) and street tacos. When it comes to music I love the old Eminem, sad music when I’m emotional (don’t want to listen to upbeat lol) and any 90s R &B.
Q: What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Ha, let me think; slow drivers, lying, poor communicators, people who pretend to know it all or know more than they do and messy people.
Q: What personality traits do you admire the most?
I admire people that have a good work ethic and are honest. People that don’t take life too seriously and people with a willingness to step out of their comfort zone and not care what others think.
Q: Talk a little bit about your profession now?
I am currently a Forensic Specialist. I work for a local city and my day to day could be in the lab and evidence processing or out at a crime scene. No two days are the same which I appreciate, but it also challenges me because at each scene you have a completely different experience. It’s something that I was always interested in. I knew I wanted to do something and be hands-on and not work in a lab all day, in regards to chemicals and the science portion. I would say my current job allows me to have a happy medium.
Q: What’s next for you, or what are you working towards.
Right now that’s kind of up in the air and something that I am personally working on. I would love to continue to grow/excel in my field of work and I would love to do/ participate in more things that involve soccer or incorporate soccer more in my life now. My ultimate goal would be to achieve a work-life balance. The ability to pursue a career that I love/enjoy and be able to do things outside of work is the current focus.
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Kits Stories is a series in which we tell the uniques stories of individuals through the kits that have made an impact on their lives. This first installment of Kit Sotires features Ben Chi, the Manager of Brand and Community for LAFC, founder of the dope soccer lifestyle brand FC Dorsum and member of the KTTP family. Ben helped KTTP get off the ground and was integral in the vision of KTTP coming to life. Through the story of his kits we got to know more about where his passion for kits started and how he turned his passion for the beautiful game into a career.
Well, if you’re a fan of both music and soccer then we can safely assume your answer would be yes, right? The concept of taking your favorite album’s artwork and turning that into a soccer jersey begs the question of why it’s never been done before. Well, thanks to graphic designer Nick Texeira, we now have a good reason to push this design notion into reality, as his reimagining of some of today’s most popular music album artwork into kits proves just how amazing this idea can be.
Texeira’s concept artwork seen here focuses mainly on popular hip-hop albums, which he has turned into the designs for an array of global team kits, as well as throwing in his own choice of sponsored branding. This includes such mashups as A$AP Rocky’s Testing with Chelsea FC; Post Malone’s Stoney with FC Barcelona, Migos’ Culture II with Atlanta United FC; Drake’s Scorpion with Toronto FC; and Young Thug’s Slime Language with LAFC and more, not to mention other types of concept kits on Texeira’s Instagram account. Have a look at the designs Nick Texeira has put together, as well as his official website, then leave us a comment on what album x soccer jersey you would want to wear.
After a two week hiatus Drew chats with founder of Guerrilla FC’s Justin Salhani on the inspiration behind his brand, his thoughts on the World Cup kits, and the ever evolving blend of fashion and lifestyle with the beautiful game. He critiques designs, praises others, and predicts who takes it all in the World Cup this year. The guys also reflect on a multifaceted soccer culture that exists today, the praise it is receiving in the fashion world, and how far branding has come in recent years. Whether you like the boots, the kits, or the lifestyle, the game can reach anyone on any level.
We also recap the rise and fall of Liverpool in the Champions League Final (poor Karius), his opinion on Sergio Ramos’s controversial tackle on Mo Sallah, and what Zidane’s resignation means for Real Madrid moving forward. He also touches on the Dortmund vs. LAFC match that happened here in LA praising the class and respect of the Dortmund players.
You can check it all out below including some photos of Guerrilla FC’s recent releases:
The Naija kits took the world by storm today and rightfully so. We’ve said our peace on them and turn our attention to other inspiring gems from the beautiful game. This week sees Nivelcrack drop their Red Devils collection, while the Football Gal shows off her brilliant embroidery work on a throwback Arsenal kit. Puma follow the wave by dropping a lifestyle look-book for the new Italy kits, Trevor Noah visits Kiev for the UCL Final and Usain Bolt trains in the new Puma “Illuminate” pack for a training session in Norway.
This week on KTTP Radio Drew and Anthony discuss movement at Arsenal including Arsene Wegner stepping down and their proverbial implosion against Atletico Madrid. He then previews Champions League going forward including a Liverpool and Roma recap and Liverpool on a roll.
Rich and Drew share the highlights from LAFC’s home opener at Banc of California Stadium against the Seattle Sounders. LAFC won the match 1-0 but the best part was the fandom and the culture beforehand. Take a listen here:
Leading up to this Sunday’s debut home game for Los Angeles newcomers LAFC, we were lucky enough to visit the pristine grounds of LAFC’S Banc of California stadium. Untouched by the inevitable onslaught of live sports shenanigans, the stadium was nothing shy of impressive. More so when we discovered the countless attention to detail elements found throughout. Following our previous Destination piece on the stadium still in construction, check out our new and exclusive photo recap of the finished space throughout.
Last week saw an event within the heart of Los Angeles that changed the local landscape of soccer forever. It was the official opening/ribbon cutting ceremony for LAFC’s brand new home: the Banc of California Stadium. While any soccer fan will agree with such a sentiment, those questioning the weight of my opening sentence should know that, while the new stadium is indeed intended for the sport and its imprint within the City of Angels (and the nation’s MLS in fact), the initiative also plays a big role in politics, social justice, and economy of the city and more specifically its District 9.
Although I’ve only been living in Los Angeles, let alone the US of A, for three years, having joined KTTP at the tail end of last year, and only recently have been experiencing a heavy schooling of Major League Soccer, I can safely say that the LAFC stadium opening was one that’ll go down in my books.
To begin, LAFC’s community effort, overall branding/marketing, and incredible start to its career piqued my interest from the get-go. To have such a good looking club coupled with a fancy house…. well, I guess it sits right at home in a city like Los Angeles. Not to say I’m a sucker for that good “Beverly Hills” life, but you can’t deny how alluring LAFC and its new stadium is.
The place is outfitted with some of LA’s best local eateries, is constructed with top of the line technology, and features a glorious view of Downtown LA to highlight just a few. Its behind-the-scenes facilities are also unrivaled within the States, and probably gives its international cousins a run for its money. Sleek and metallic – akin to the Silver Surfer, who happens to be my favorite Marvel character – the whole space feels more like a SpaceX base than an enclosed pitch to kick a ball about.
All that being said, again it isn’t just about kicking balls. The arduous efforts put in by all departments associated to LAFC has managed to not just plunk something magnificent within South Los Angeles, aka The Ninth District, but to also give back to its community… four million dollars in “give back,” plus efforts that include job opportunities in the hundreds, equal rights initiatives, and more that helps local social injustices.
The ceremony itself gathered friends, family, supporters, and of course press to witness the club’s leading women and men, all of which took turns saying their bit – aka explaining their role and how their departments have helped both the stadium and its community. On the stage stood co-owners Nomar Garciaparra, Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, and Larry Berg, as well as the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley and more integral players in the mix. Sat by the side were the men of the hour: the LAFC soccer players, all of which had a look on their face that could only be translated as proudness.
You see, LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium is much more than just a new home for the new kids on the block; it’s a beacon of hope, a place of opportunity, a charitable endeavor, and a temple of our beautiful game. Check out our exclusive photo recap of the LAFC Banc of California Stadium’s ribbon cutting ceremony throughout, then be sure to head to the team’s first home game happening this Sunday 29 April.
Another Friday has rolled around way too quickly, especially when you’ve had the type of hectic week we’ve had. While continuing our efforts on the site, we’ve also had to move offices, conduct lord knows how many back-to-back projects, and find ways to grow our team, all the while keeping an ear on the ground for what’s been happening within soccer culture. So before we can hang our boots in exchange for ones better suited for the Coachella desert, we’re still grinding away at the new (and far from finished) office to bring you our Best 11 Instagram posts of the week, curated as always by our very on Andrew Medina.
To highlight a few, we’ve got COPA Football’s homage jersey to one of the greatest grunge bands ever: Pearl Jam; LAFC’s limited edition recycled Jersey, a Parley x adidas x MLS effort for Earth Day, Bleacher Report’s Bayern vs. Real Madrid and Liverpool vs. Roma Dragonball Z-inspired animation, Zlatan and Shaq (of course), and Alexander Wang’s third season drop with adidas Originals to name a few. Have a look below to see our full Best 11.