The End of Another 30-Year Quest

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OK, so like 30-year quests seem to be dropping like flies around here.  At least as far as soccer jerseys are concerned.  If you scroll below you’ll see the end of my quest for a game-worn NASL Whitecaps jersey.  And now, from a slightly later era, there is this: the beautiful diagonal-striped Adidas goalkeeper jersey from the 1980s.

First, soccer.  I am at best a casual fan, with my interest increasing during major tournaments.  Other than that I don’t follow any of the major global leagues but do keep an eye on what the Whitecaps are up to.  And this year have been taken to a couple of games by a friend, which is a real treat.

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I was in high school in the ’80s, and followed the Whitecaps a bit but not as much as the Canucks and B.C. Lions.  I became aware of the World Cup in my first year of high school in 1982, and graduated in 1986 during the World Cup in Mexico.  I remember watching and enjoying the games, and, as always, taking note of the jerseys.

I always enjoyed goaltending, whether in hockey or soccer, and of course soccer goalies have the unique distinction of needing to wear something different.  Kind of like how hockey goalies can have a painted mask.  So it was during Mexico 86 that I noticed these great Adidas jerseys with the diagonal stripes.

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At the same time, I became semi-obsessed with the “shadow stripes” that became all the rage during this time.  It was simply a tone-on-tone stripe, with the stripes alternating with a different sheen to produce the pattern.  I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen on a jersey (and still do).

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At the time, I thought these Adidas jerseys has this type of stripe, but really it’s just two slightly different shades of blue.

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I love goalkeepers jersey for all of the interesting elements they bring to the world of sports jerseys.  I particularly like jerseys that have built-in padding.

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The number on the back is screened on with a heavy rubbery ink.  I always liked these Adidas numbers, they look good as a one-colour design, and it’s interesting how they incorporated their three-stripe trademark into the look.

So since about ’86 I really wanted one of these jerseys but never came across one.  I never saw one for sale new in Vancouver, so I don’t know if they were sold here or not.  Over the years I would look on eBay, but eventually just forgot about it.  Recently I started looking again, and saw that when they did turn up they would be quite expensive, and always in Europe which would make shipping more expensive too.  I also wound up being outbid a time or two.

Then this one popped up.  It was in the States, and only $38 on a buy it now.  I almost sprained my wrist hitting the button, and the jersey arrived a short time later.  Another quest completed.

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I have seen these jerseys in five colours: blue like the one I got, green like Paul Dolan wore for Canada in ’86, grey, red, and yellow (which is the only one with black trim, not white).  I seem to see more blue ones show up for sale, but not sure why.  Maybe since blue is a popular team colour, these blue ones didn’t get used as much and survived longer?  Who knows.

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Size is also an issue.  Due to the tighter fitting styles of the time, these fit about a size small.  Most of the ones I have seen for sale have been size small or medium.  I fit a medium, but the one I got is an elusive large, which is a closer fit for me than the smaller sizes.  Again, I wonder if the larger ones got used up, worn out, and thrown away?

I’m far from an expert on these, so if anyone reading has more info, please do comment!  A few questions I have are:

  1. Did these come in any colours other than what I listed above?
  2. Were these sold new in North America?
  3. These were the first goalkeeper jerseys I remember with a bold pattern.  Everything before seemed to be fairly plain.  Was this the first jersey we could consider with a true bold look, and did this lead to the more outlandish jerseys that came in the late ’80s and into the ’90s?

Any other info of course is welcome.

Oh, and there is that issue of that particular Uhlsport jersey from the early ’80s I need to get my hands on one of these days…

Thanks,

Wafflebored

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