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Soccer Column: Oh the soccer kits you will see

Soccer Columnist

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 00:12

Walking around a college campus appears to be the most ideal of times to people watch. We have the stereotypical yoga, sweat pants and t-shirt, the Vineyard Vines boat shoe wearing frat boy, and the athletics lover.

On an American college campus, it comes to no surprise that walking to and from classes a plethora of professional team jerseys from the NFL, MLB, MLS, Premier League and even a fair few rugby kits are seen.

Rain or shine, the athletic apparel seems to prevail. Whether it be a retro New York Rangers jersey, or that God-awful Juventus pink kit I see walking around - it’s always pleasant to see another fellow student sporting his or her favorite colors.

We’ve all see the student around campus as he rotates his Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini kit on a weekly basis. We’ve all see the students with their fading AC Milan crest on the front, the shirt that’s been worn about one hundred times too many.

And we’ve all envied them at one point or another.

Truthfully, I walked into one of my classes the first week of the fall semester and saw another fellow Manchester United supporter, with the legend Ryan Giggs on the back. I thought I’d strike up some sort of conversation as Giggs has appeared in matches for the world’s most historic club, at the age of 40. Yet, much to my dismay the following week I saw the scruffy-faced kid walk into class sporting his baby blue Manchester City kit, with Mario Balotelli on the back.

I nearly gagged.

However, I’ve come to appreciate the variety of the kits I’ve seen. As Manchester United prepared for a clash against Real Madrid in the Champions League, I felt it only natural to throw on my own Rooney jersey. As I walked around campus chest-out, with more pride than a freshman at his first party, I saw the pristine white Cristiano Ronaldo kit.

In that exact moment, the fellow soccer supporter and I made eye contact – and gently said to one another in passing “Good luck tonight.” In that gentle smile we shared with one another, the instant bond that both of us had with our beloved clubs was felt immediately. Now come to think of it, it just so happened that he and I have become great friends.

On a sad note, it was Ronaldo who punished United on that fateful afternoon.

Yet that did not matter. What mattered was two individuals loved their clubs so much and found a common ground.

We’ve all looked at the kits on campus and thought to ourselves “Why on earth are they wearing that dreadful piece of clothing?” And before any rational thought could come into our minds, we flash back to our own personal reasons for loving the athletic teams we do.

Win or lose, there will be support for a team, club, organization, or even country. Just look at UConn’s football team– who would have thought they’d win two in a row?
It’s belief. College students far and wide believe in their respective clubs, so much so they’ll go as far as to not wash their kit until said club loses a match.

Which, if you support a club like Barcelona - could take months.

Through the interactions, the scrutiny and pure pride students have in their kits: there is a story behind each one. Understandably, while some students may have no particular allegiances to any club, what most do have is passion. The passion to defend why they’re wearing the Highbury vintage Arsenal kit, or the 2002 United States World Cup kit.

Oh the kits we will see. Oh the people we will encounter. Oh the matches we will witness.  

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