Soccer - can bring people together. Some of the best moments of my life have taken place on a soccer field, either with teammates I grew up with, kids I've had the honor to coach, or even total strangers who heard about a pickup game we organized, and came from all over to play. At one point, we had a weekly pickup game at the beach in Southern California - mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, Spanish and English, friends from down the street and new friends who drove over to play. It was a long way since my own father learned the sport so he could coach my first team at the age of 5. And it was soccer that brought us together.
Soccer - voetbal; football; Fußball; fútbol, futebal; calcio; fumbal, piłka nożna, fotboll, nogomet - can also represent racism, sexism, corruption, homophobia. The world lacks inclusive leadership of the sport. As we watch the World Cup, hosted in a nation that has gone back on its word to promote inclusion and tolerance, it is hard to understand how in 2022, anyone can still tolerate such hate.
But the sport belongs to the people. The 32 Nations that made the World Cup represent peace and tragedy, stability and unrest, modern inclusivity and ancient segregation. The World does not evolve at a uniform pace. But people do, and they want to.
With the 32 Nations Project, we are rounding up artists from each of the 32 Nations, and asking them to celebrate visually what soccer means in their country and to their tribe.
From Zagreb, Croatia to Tema, Ghana; Paris to Mexico City to Rosaria, the artists and their stories are incredible. Just like the players we get to watch on TV. For the players, the sport is their universal language. For the artists, it is color and form, visual storytelling.
We are thankful to work with these talented artists and in some small way, support their work. And we hope you will too by buying their designs, in the 32 Nations collection, as they make additional income with each item purchased.