Depending where you live in this world, seeing a stranger wearing a jersey of a Premier League club could be a rare treat or an almost everyday occurrence. For me, living in a suburb in South Florida, I typically see a stranger wearing a soccer shirt every few weeks. The last one I saw was last week when a teenager was walking home from the pool wearing the distinctive colors of Argentina’s home shirt. But as for the last Premier League jersey I saw “in the wild,” it’s been several weeks. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t remember which club jersey was being worn.
Let me add that I’m disqualifying going to local soccer games (for me, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers) and local AYSO games from my answer.
While it sometimes is weeks before I see a Premier League jersey being worn in public by a stranger, it used to be much longer. Sometimes literally months would pass or even years. But they do now randomly appear more often than they did in the past, which is a welcoming sign. In fact, it’s almost as if I’ve trained by brain to constantly being on the lookout for seeing soccer shirts worn by strangers. It’s not something I do consciously, but I often do get a flutter when I see one. Sometimes it’s when I’m driving down the street. Or walking in the mall. Or elsewhere. But the sensation is often the same. After all, soccer shirts do stand out with their bright colors and design. First, I see something out of the corner of my eye which looks like one. Then I get closer and recognize that it’s definitely a soccer shirt. The third and most important step is then getting close enough to it, to recognize which club the stranger supports. And fourth and finally, if I’m feeling courageous enough, is the knowing nod, or saying something about the club that he or she supports.
To me, it’s all about making a connection. Finding a stranger and feeling that you have something in common with him or her. It’s almost as if you both are part of an underground cult. And you’ve now found each other.
And then, in a flash, it’s all over. The soccer-shirt-wearing-stranger is out of your view and you return to normalcy, seeing tens or hundreds of people wearing boring clothes that don’t speak to you.
When I was thinking about this topic this past weekend, I decided to post a question on Twitter to ask followers when was the last time they saw a stranger wearing a Premier League jersey, and which club it was. Interestingly, the vast majority of respondents replied that they had just seen one that day, yesterday or a few days prior. Of course, these are the people who saw one. The ones who haven’t seen one in ages (like me) didn’t reply.
I think a big factor in how frequently someone sees a Premier League shirt in public is where they live. Many respondents via Twitter said they seem them quite often. But those were Twitter users who lived in major metropolitan cities such as New York and Washington DC. Plus, it makes sense that in the more densely populated areas, your chances of seeing a Premier League jersey are increased because you’ll see more people per square mile than in the suburbs or elsewhere.
But what about you? When was the last time you saw a Premier League shirt being worn by a stranger, and which club was it? And where did you see it? Post your replies in the comments section below.