are they even called "jersey's"?
June 10, 2007 1:01 PM   Subscribe

i'm wondering if there are hidden dangers for a non-soccer fan to buy some soccer jerseys and start using them for both casual wear and exercise (this dual-use of the shirts is particularly appealing--less clothes to worry about)?

by "danger", i mean, is not knowing a thing about soccer (both US and Int'l), and walking around with a (the wrong team's?) jersey bound to land me in a dark alley or an emergency room?

i'm on the East Coast, USA, btw. and i don't mean this to in any way mar the reputation of soccer-fans out there. just want to know whether this is a hugely bad idea for a soccer novice.
posted by garfy3 to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Soccer isn't, to my knowledge, one of the classic gangsta sports. At least the gang members around here are still hung up on basketball and once in a while football.

I used to wear a great, comfortable rugby shirt, and the worst that happened was that I got asked what position I played.

Heck, hockey is the most violent professional sport on these shores, and I know people who wear hockey apparel all the time.

So, wear your plate of beans, garfy3.
posted by dhartung at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2007

i don't think there's much to worry about.

i'm near Toronto, Canada and when i wear my favourite team's soccer jersey, the most response i get is a playful jab about how crap they are.
posted by gursky at 1:11 PM on June 10, 2007

Buy a DC United shirt. You're in DC, nobody will look at you funny.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:11 PM on June 10, 2007

Not a problem in the USA. Only concern is that when some actual fan tries to talk to you about the team, you'll be at a bit of a loss. If it's a national team jersey and they're from that country and they're drunk, that may cause a minor confrontation.
posted by smackfu at 1:14 PM on June 10, 2007

If you're only going to wear MLS or International shirts then I wouldn't worry, but Premiership shirts (for example) are a different matter. I'm not saying that anyone will beat you up but for us ex-pat Limeys and those Yanks that we've successfully managed lure into the beautiful game, the shirt that you wear is a serious matter. I have made snide remarks to people wearing certain team shirts in the past and if I saw you wear say a Chelsea shirt one day and then a Man United shirt the next I really would start taking the piss.
posted by ob at 1:19 PM on June 10, 2007

You should have no problem wearing football/soccer shirts/jerseys. Just as a New York Yankee fan can walk around Boston Red Sox Nation unaccosted (at least physcially), you should be able to do so wearing a New England Revolution shirt in Washington D.C. United territory. BTW -- for international kit I recommend Kitbag.
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on June 10, 2007

Response by poster: great info, guys. i figure i'll go with some international team jersey's, limited to places i've traveled to and enjoyed. that might at least cover some awkwardness.

and ericb thanks for the Kitbag recommendation! any other useful shops out there? (in the US would be a bonus).
posted by garfy3 at 1:41 PM on June 10, 2007

Well, considering the huge turnover made on such shirts, some people will consider you an idiot for spending too much money on what is basically a pimped up T-shirt. I am just saying...
posted by ijsbrand at 1:54 PM on June 10, 2007

For MLS gear -- there's the official online store.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on June 10, 2007

International teams are cooler anyway. Don't get more than one shirt from any particular country. Go for really obscure teams - many will have shops - although their international shipping might be a bit excessive. Start following internet message boards of teams in parts of the world you've never been. Join in games in your local park. Get obsessive about obscurity.

All I want for christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit.
posted by handee at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2007

the only problem you should expect to get is a nasty skin rash. exercise and then wear the same shirt? ugh.
posted by krautland at 2:00 PM on June 10, 2007

there is a hidden danger. you are going to smell TERRIBLE if you work out in them, especially if it's made of "miracle" fabric, aka nike dri-fit, adidas climacool, patagonia coolmax, etc. All these "wicking" fabrics that modern sports jerseys are made of work by having a hydrophillic and hydrophobic layer to force water off your skin as quickly as possible. That hydrophobic layer traps oil from your body really well (after all, it's is job to be a nonpolar mesh). and as a result, the fabric smells like stale sweat, sometimes even after a wash

This effect varies in strength. When I played ultimate in college, my jerseys smelled acceptable after a wash. but my roommates, man, I dreaded when I forgot a dark or a light for practice cuz wearing that shit (even when clean!) made the baby jesus cry. So, I'd try to separate the ones you sweat in from the ones you wear casually.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:13 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'd echo handee's suggestion to get a selection of onscure/lower league shirts - I have a selection of these and have never had any problems here in the UK.

(Kudos, by the way, for the Half Man Half Biscuit reference)
posted by Lionel d'Lion at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2007

I lose kudos for not being able to spell "obscure".
posted by Lionel d'Lion at 2:24 PM on June 10, 2007

As an alternative to obscure teams, you could also consider getting some vintage shirts, perhaps from the North American Soccer League as the league doesn't even exist anymore. I've seen replica New York Cosmos shirts for sale for example at TOFFS (although an US stockist would obviously be a much cheaper option).
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2007

getting lower league or weirder country shirts are expensive - not only for the shirt, but for shipping. most of the online stores with good deals, like kitbag and world soccer shop, have pretty good international selections, but then only have the top teams from the tops leagues around the world.

as for the possibility of people sussing you for a phony - if you're ok with that, then don't worry too much. i know i get excited when i see other people wearing everton kit (though it's rare over here) and am more than happy to talk to people when they start talking to me about the team kit i'm wearing. i'm also more than likely to make rude comments about people wearing manchester utd, chelsea, real madrid, barca, bayern munich, et al. shirts because it's so predictable. but it's usually good natured and usually real fans take the opportunity to point out how good the club is, but if you're not a fan that might be difficult.

just don't buy a liverpool shirt.
posted by kendrak at 4:01 PM on June 10, 2007

The Italians have the nicest international kit, and non-Italians (even in Europe) wear it unaccosted. Cos it's nice.

Forza Azzurri!
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:01 PM on June 10, 2007

This reminds me of the shirt my brother brought me from Deal's gap I don't wear it anymore, because people kept asking "so, how was the Dragon?" and I cannot tell a lie. 'I've not been , just a gift Tshirt' is what I would answer. *sigh*
posted by nola at 4:57 PM on June 10, 2007

I wear soccer gear all the time, I do get a gentle ribbing from Man U fans (aka Mankers) once in a while when I wear some Chelsea gear. Its always been in fun though, football's following in North America is small enough that it is just nice to find a fellow fan of the game.

But if you wore Chelsea one day and Man U the next, yeah I would think you were insane. At least go with clubs in different countries.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:02 PM on June 10, 2007

I somehow feel the need to clarify - I don't wear sportswear outside the gym.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:06 PM on June 10, 2007

Many companies that make football gear (nike, adidas, umbro, puma, etc.) will also make generic versions of their kits. These will be cheaper, and no risk of taking shit for supporting a particular side.

That being said, if you are in the states, you are most likely to get (mild) flack for wearing a jersey from one of the top three or four teams in the English, Italian, or Spanish leagues (plus maybe the Bundesliga). Deflect this by having one or two things to say about any team other than the one whose uniform you are wearing:

-if someone appears to be a Chelsea supporter, talk about how easily Drogba will dive or how fat Lampard has got.

-for Man U, talk about how Christiano Ronaldo is a big pretty-boy or how Wayne Rooney has a fifth-grade education

-for Liverpool, just say that Gerrard or Pennant are shite.

-AC Milan: Madrid made you look like assholes for buying Ronaldo

-Madrid: sure, now Beckham starts playing semi- competently

-Barcelona: gosh Ronaldinho is getting fat

-Arsenal, of course, have players and a tradition of football that are unimpeachable

Actually, in many American cities, you might attract more attention wearing a shirt for one of the top Mexican sides (Chivas, America, Cruz Azul and Pumas are all popular in Chicago). Why not pick a team to follow and use it to start conversations?

Just stay away from wearing Celtic or Rangers colors if you ever visit Glasgow (Hearts or Hibs in Edinburgh).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:18 PM on June 10, 2007

I'll second the suggestion that since you're in DC, why not wear some DC United kit? Hell, come on down and catch a match, you may find you really like it.
If you do wear the kit around town, though, you run the risk of crazy soccer fans like myself yelling "Vamos United" at you on the metro or something. You won't get anything worse than that, I promise you, no matter which team you decide to represent.
posted by Inkoate at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2007

Defintely prepare for the sheepish 'Sorry, I jsut wear the shirt' responses you'll have to make. I wore a nascar jacket for halloween one year and many people assumed that I was a fan.
posted by Four Flavors at 4:39 PM on June 11, 2007

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