If Soccer Jerseys Could Talk

What goes into making a good soccer jersey?

Technically speaking, soccer jerseys are made with thread and cotton woven together to create a shirt resembling a Ralph Lauren polo or a tapered t-shirt. For a shirt to be classified as a jersey, it needs a number and obviously, a team crest.

But some may argue what makes a good shirt is what the jersey represents outside of the game. For clubs like FC Barcelona, the maroon and navy stripes of their iconic kit represent their plea for independence. You can often see Catalan flags waving in the stands at any match, Barca’s plays but especially at their home stadium, the Camp Nou. It’s no wonder their team slogan is “més que un club,” which translates to “more than a club”.

That’s why for fanatics of the game, what goes into making a soccer jersey goes a bit deeper than seams and sleeves. The 2018 World Cup in Russia draws near, so let’s dive a little deeper into the stories behind the people who wear these uniforms.

Jonathan Cavaliere

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube – 2005 – 2006

What piqued your passion in soccer?

It was actually my parents who put me into soccer when I was five. They claim that it was for me to make friends but I personally feel it was to ensure I’d would lose that stubborn baby fat. It really wasn’t until watching the 2002 World Cup before I was hooked. I remember everyone at school wearing their country colors, and the pure excitement my dad and Nonno had at the time was infectious.

What does soccer mean to you?

Soccer has played a major role in my life. Not only did it teach me simple things like how to work with others but it taught me perseverance and to work for something greater than myself.

Why did you choose this kit?

I was actually given this kit. As I played through the rep ranks here in Toronto, I had this crazy idea one day that I wanted to play pro. My mother and father thought I was a dreamer but I continued to train hard and would play like it was my last game every time I hit the pitch. One day my parents and I stumbled upon a former Brazilian soccer player training in the area named Armandino. He invited me to play for his boys team and before I knew it I was on a plane to his boyhood club, Cruzerio.

This jersey was my squad shirt for one of the home games we played in Belo Horizonte and it’s a keepsake that reminds me if you set your mind to it, anything is possible.

How would you incorporate a soccer jersey into your style?

I’m an avid wearer of blue and white and this jersey from Cruzerio goes well with most combinations I could put together. The constellation on the badge of the uniform is a personal standout for me. The inspiration came from the star formation that appears above the training ground Toca Dois at night. You can also spot the constellation in the Brazilian flag.

What’s your favourite soccer moment?

My favorite soccer moment dates back to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. As an Italian and an avid fan of the Azzuri, Italy had to square off against the German hosts in the semi-final. The game was a nail-bitter and finished tied nil-nil after 90 minutes. In extra’s, each team would carefully plan their attack to make sure they don’t concede. It went all the way into the last minute of play until the man they call Maestro (Andrea Pirlo), threaded a perfect pass to Italy’s right back, Mr. Fabio Grosso. Less than a minute later, a perfect clearance from the Italian Captian, Fabio Cannavaro, started a breakout and it was finished by Italy’s long time star, Alessandro Del Piero. The game finished 2-0 and the car honking and flag waving ensued here at home.

Sean Pollock

Liverpool FC 2007-2008 kit

 What piqued your passion in soccer?

My passion for soccer began by playing EA Sports’ FIFA. I remember playing the game with my brother back in 2002 and scoring beauties on him Steven Gerrard.

What does soccer mean to you?

Soccer means community to me. Anywhere you go in the world you can find people watching and playing the game. Soccer is truly an international language.

Why did you choose this kit?

It was the first kit I ever purchased and it has all the classic English stylings. I’m a big fan of the Adidas era at Liverpool and this one really sums up the glory years in the 2000s, reminding me of players like Gerrard, Kuyt and Alonso.

How would you incorporate a soccer jersey into your style?

I like to pair the jersey with a good pair of jeans and my Adidas NMDs. Because of how bold the kit is I like keeping the rest of my outfit neutral.

 What’s your favourite moment in soccer?

My favourite soccer moment of recent years must have been the Leicester City match vs Manchester City at the Etihad. Man City have always been strong the last few years but to be picked apart by relatively unknown players was pretty fun to watch. What sealed it for me was Robert Huths’ header to win it.

Eshan Shah

FC Barcelona 2011 – 2012 Messi kit

What piqued your passion in soccer?

There’s something about seeing someone perfect their craft that can inspire even the nonbeliever. Lionel Messi’s artful domination of the game (on and off the pitch) is one such example of this excellence. The unyielding determination that Messi demonstrated on his journey from Rosario, Argentina to Barcelona, Spain, all while self-administering his own growth hormones, captured my imagination.

What does soccer mean to you?

The comradery that develops through playing a team sport also extends off the pitch to the team’s supporters. In a way, supporting a club can build as much excitement, and is as ingrained in our sense of identity as supporting a particular political party (except in soccer, things actually get done.)

Why did you choose this kit?

For obvious reasons, Messi’s story as a resilient and determined child prodigy drew me to Barca as a team. And while visiting Barcelona in 2011, my sister decided that if she wasn’t able to bring me Messi, she would try her Blaugrana best.

 How would you in incorporate a soccer jersey into your style?

The jersey definitely has a space in your wardrobe beyond just game day. As I alluded to earlier, wearing the Barca kit all but subscribes you to membership of the Barca family (barring you football addicts who collect kits from all clubs and countries), and it’s important to incorporate your identity into your style. With the winter weather, I’d opt to layer the jersey over a turtleneck or thin hoodie to maintain an element of ath-leisure vibes while still repping ‘més que un club’.

What’s your favourite soocer moment?

Messi’s Maradona moment back in 2007, when he slalomed through half of Levantes’ team then buried a divine goal. Youtube it and bask in the glory.

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