Archive for December, 2008

Apprentice: Brian McBride

I remember my high school coach mention he was heading off to the University of Dayton to watch one of the best players in the country, Brian McBride, and the rest of the St. Louis University soccer team take on the UD Flyers after practice one day. I knew who Brian McBride was. His name always seemed to grace the Soccer Americas that I received weekly…much like Claudio Reyna did at the time. I did not realize that I would still be talking about him some 10+ years later.

More McBride after the jump

Apprentice: Frankie Hejduk

One of the things I love most about flipping through old catalogs is seeing the footballing stars of today as fresh, green, young players. Remember young Frankie Hejduk?

More Frankie

Who was behind Soccer Madness?

Soccer Madness produced colorful, glossy catalogs that paid as much detail to art direction as it did to soccer. The Soccer Madness catalogs always felt more like a magazine than a catalog. The pages were glossy, in full color and always contained great action shots. The catalog set itself apart from other catalogs I was receiving at the time in the sense that it had high profile stars wearing Soccer Madness products. John Harkes, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Tony Meola and Roberto Baggio were just a handful of footballers pitching the Soccer Madness brand.

I always wondered how the Florida based company managed to land such high profile stars to hawk their gear. From what I can gather, the company does not appear to be in existence anymore…or…if they are in existence they’re not doing anything with the url…aside from redirecting to How was it that Soccer Madness was able to snap a photo of a young Paulo Maldini wearing a Soccer Madness cap? How were they able to get Marco Van Basten to don a Soccer Madness sweatshirt for a few pics? The biggest soccer catalog, Eurosport, never featured professionals wearing Eurosport branded t-shirts.

Who was the brains behind the Soccer Madness machine?

“I am Zlatan…and I am great.”

I was talking to Jay and Heather the other day about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Apparently, Heather is quite taken with saying his name…”Zlatan Ibrahimovic.” It’s almost as fun to say as it is to spell.

Anytime someone brings up Zlatan I tend to talk about two thigns: a) how is “Zlatan Ibrahimovic” Swedish (turns out he’s of Bosnian and Croatian descent) and 2) the gum incident.

“What gum incident?” you say?

My Shoe Bag: Fall 1993

The Fall of 1993 saw me rocking three different boots. I had a pair of Bellotti Mostros, Lanzera Top Techs and the trusty, reliable Adidas Copa Mundial.

Why I needed three seperate boots? Well…I used to obsess over professionals…anything they did, I wanted to do. If Lothar Matthaeus changes his boots at halftime then I change my boots at halftime.

Copa Mundial

I think it’s safe to say that a good majority of players have owned a pair or two of Copas. To this day they’re still one of my favorite boots. I’ve tried a handful of other boots…nothing have been able to match the comfort and touch that the Copa provides.

I bought my first pair of Copas from Meek’s Sporting Goods at the Upper Valley Mall in Springfield, Ohio. I wore the shit out of them. The kangaroo leather was waterproof…I thought that meant they were impervious to snow as well. During the winter months I would go outside and take target practice with little snow mounds that I would create. My feet always stayed dry…as did my shoes…permanently. I should have done a better job drying my boots.

2 more shoes were in my Shoe Bag

Puberty, Soccer Master and Me.

Back in 1993 Soccer Master sent out a request asking for “profiles of American soccer.” I remember I penned some lines about myself, enclosed a really awkward striking photo of myself and dropped it in the mail.

Months passed…I had totally forgotten about the submission. We returned home from a family vacation in Hilton Head and what do I find in the mail? A copy of Soccer Master…but it’s not like the usual Soccer Masters I had received in the past…this one was packaged in a padded envelope.

Continue to the awkward part

So long, Keano.

Roy Keane resigned as Sunderland boss yesterday. Apparently Keano had a falling out with some of the Black Cats after their 4-1 defeat to Bolton last weekend. The lost was Sunderland’s fifth in six Premier League games. Keano stepped down from his position via a text message to his compariot and Sunderland chairman, Niall Quinn.

Before Keane was captaining United and mixing it up in tunnels prior to matches with Patrick Viera…he was scoring goals for Nottingham Forest and being featured in early issues of Eurosport.

This comes from the Fall 1992 Eurosport.

Samba Derivatives

I remember flipping through catalogs and coming across the Samba Derivatives…I thought they were awesome. Everyone seemed to have Sambas growing up…I was never crazy about the traditional pair. I think I was turned off by the fact that they were so popular.

I saw kid wearing a pair of the Oak Derivatives while watching my older sister’s indoor game. He was the best player on her team…my mind was set…I had to have a pair of the Jack Tripper-esque Sambas.

There was one problem…the Samba Derivatives were only sold for a limited time.

Eventually I came across a pair…in a Play It Again Sports store. Yep…I bought and wore a pair of used shoes. It kind of grosses me out now…but at the time, at the time I didn’t care.

For those keeping score at home, they looked better than they felt. I got so many blisters from those bastards.

The scan is courtesy of the Fall 92/Spring 93 Soccer World catalog.

Chilling with the 1992 US Men’s National Team

I found this gem in the Fall 92/Spring 93 Soccer World catalog. I always liked the Soccer World catalogs…they were huge…just like the older Eurosport catalogs. The mailman had to do a trifold in order to get it in our mailbox. The full color catalog had some great pieces of content…as well as some great photos. Has anyone else ever come across a picture of the USA Men’s National Team trying their best to look relaxed?

Here’s what the team looked like in their team photo.

Check out the 1992 Men’s National Team looking all casual.

Nike Mercurial Vapor – Berry…Pink

Nike introduced the eighth version of the Mercurial Vapor…they say the boot is “berry”…it’s pink.

I predicted that Djibril Cisse would be the first player to don the boot…he’s never struck me as one to shy away from anything flashy. I was wrong…I spotted both Franck Ribery and Niklas Bendtner wearing the boot over the weekend. Ribery wears them better.

Nike Mercurial Vapor - Berry

Check out some colorful Gazelles…courtesy of SoccerPlus