Three months ago, without telling anyone, I began a fun experiment on Twitter to live-tweet my life in suburbia (near West Palm Beach, Florida, to be exact). Since most of my life is consumed by watching, reading and writing about soccer, I thought it’d be an interesting experiment to live tweet any instances where I would see a soccer shirt in public.
Some of you may be lucky to live in Britain or in a large city where seeing a stranger wearing a soccer shirt is a commonplace occurrence. But for me, and many others living in suburbia in the United States, it’s a rarity. I seldom see a soccer shirt that when I do, I often get excited. But I thought I’d chronicle my experiences to see what they would reveal.
So, I started up a Twitter account named @SoccerShirtLife and proceeded to share my experiences of what I saw.
Here’s what I discovered during my experiment:
- On average, I saw a soccer shirt once every 3 days,
- I saw a MLS shirt once every 3 weeks,
- I saw an EPL shirt once every 10 days,
- The most number of shirts I saw from a single club or country was 3, which was shared by Barcelona, Argentina and — surprisingly — Manchester City (3). In the 3 month span, I saw 2 Manchester United shirts, 2 Chelsea shirts and 1 Arsenal shirt.
In total, I saw 29 shirts in 3 months (or 87 days, to be exact). Out of all of the different shirts I saw, I saw more EPL shirts (8) than any other league.
The rules I used for spotting soccer shirts were pretty simple. I tweeted any observation I made of a professional soccer jersey for any club or country (cheap knock-offs weren’t recorded). My life in suburbia revolves around my family, so many of my evenings and weekends are spent at the local soccer parks (for practices and soccer games), as well as going shopping, etc.
The one exception I’ve made to my experiment is that friendly I saw between the US women’s national team and China earlier in December. With an attendance of more than 10,000 in a stadium, it was impossible to count all of the soccer shirts I saw that night. I saw dozens of USA jerseys and even some Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United shirts. Interestingly, I didn’t see one MLS shirt. But in the interest of staying true to my experiment, where I wanted to capture and record soccer shirts I saw in an average day in suburbia, I decided to skip the USWNT game.
Let me be the first to admit that life in suburbia United States is awful for soccer fans unless you’re lucky to live in a city near a MLS team. The nearest top flight professional team to me is Atlante in Mexico’s league. For the past 11 years, there’s been no MLS team within 1,000 miles of my home. And it doesn’t seem like that is going to change anytime soon.
As far as anecdotes go, these were few and far between. I didn’t see any shirts from lower league English clubs, so I can’t romanticize about that. And I didn’t see any retro jerseys or something spectacular I haven’t seen in years. Perhaps the most bizarre occurrence was this morning when I saw a homeless woman at an intersection wearing an Argentina shirt.
Here are the shirts I saw, in total:
How do these shirt sightings compare to where you live in the United States? Share your stories, observations or insights in the comments section below.