Being as passionate about football (soccer) as much as I am about street culture, Chinatown Soccer Club certainly captured my attention when they first came onto the scene. Having been fortunate to work closely with Peter Sutherland on THE NEW ORDER, I have been able to get a greater insight into the ‘Club’ and this coincided in a great piece in the latest issue of THE NEW ORDER celebrating their 10th anniversary. Below is an impressive article written by one of the founders Gerhard Stochl, and further below you can view the video’s created from the creative team to further emphasis the milestone.
“The Chinatown Soccer Club came together back in 2002, when Adidas invited a bunch of downtown Manhattan stores, crews, and personalities to take part in a soccer tournament to coincide with the World Cup in Korea and Japan. Inspired by the upcoming AdiCup and late-night marathons watching live matches from Asia, we started meeting a few mornings a week to sharpen our skills.
Kickoff was at 8:30 a.m. on a small public pitch in Chinatown, where many of us lived and worked. Our only spectators were homeless guys sleeping off hangovers and Chinese immigrants doing their morning Tai Chi. But the field was special. An oasis of bright green artificial turf, shielded from the surrounding chaos of Chinese grocery stores and fishmongers by a glossy black, chain link fence rising ten meters high. Sometimes the people from the City Parks Department forgot to unlock the gate. But we’d just jump the fence. This was our spot.
In the early days there was just a simple email list to call games but over time, the CSC started to grow, embracing friends and acquaintances from the downtown creative community. Some of us were playing for the first time; others rediscovered skills they’d honed in high school or college. Still others found an outlet for a passion they developed in their native countries: in England and Germany, Israel and Brazil. We were a group of strong personalities, but we always had a true sense of respect for each other and maintained a positive and inclusive atmosphere on the pitch, regardless of individual skill level or gender.
Before long, the friendships forged on the field led to creative collaborations off it. The CSC became a platform to express ourselves via self-published photo books, a haphazard clothing line, the mandatory batch of stickers and a limited run of soccer scarves. Along the way, we were lucky enough to also get to customize our very own pair of Adidas Topsala shoes and release a soccer-specific backpack with our friends at Incase. Now that we are celebrating our tenth anniversary, the community that has grown around the CSC feels stronger than ever. So here’s to the next decade.