A few months ago, in preparation for the Super Bowl, I took a look at the many wonderful pieces of football-related memorabilia available on ShopGoodwill.com. This was among the easier posts I’ve ever written, as I merely had to take a favorite pastime of mine (looking at ShopGoodwill.com) and combine it with another pastime of mine (writing a paragraph of jokes about something) to create it. The only thing that could’ve made it easier would have been if the memorabilia had been about my favorite sport, which the NFL is not. My favorite sport is street luge. However there’s not much – actually not any – street luge memorabilia available on ShopGoodwill.com right now, if you can believe it. There is some for the sport I prefer to American Football by a fine margin: Soccer.
The Soccer memorabilia category is a little shallower than its American Football counterpart, which I expected – But there’s still some good stuff floating around the ShopGoodwill ecosystem.
BRINE Pink Soccer Ball SZ 3 SIGNED –
Every now and then, you come across something genuinely cool here. In this case we have a ball signed by the 2008 US Olympic Team. There’s no certificate of authenticity, so I suppose you’d have to buy it on good faith that this ball is actually signed by Amy Rodriguez and Heather O’Reilly (whom I WATCHED WITH MY OWN EYES as members of the 2015 FC Kansas City team that won a second straight NWSL title) to presumably a young girl named Kelani, who they’ve encouraged to dream big.
I do feel like that aspect of the ball would make this a weird product to own, though. A personalized autograph diminishes reselling or rebuying value of the autograph when it appears on an auction website years down the line. That being said, I do own an autographed photo of former University of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino addressed “To Martha”, but I think that makes it better than if it were either un-addressed or addressed coincidentally “To Joe” or something like that.
Mangino is the perfect figure of whom one can have a nonspecific autographed photograph, I feel. One of the rare people whose absence seems to loom larger than his presence ever did. That’ll happen when you get fired in a controversial manner and then the team you coached goes through a near decade and a half of ineptitude.
Signed Soccer Ball No COA –
I must say I absolutely adore the original MLS Mitre ball. Unlike so much of early MLS, it presents itself as a relic of the 1990s in a way that elicits that nice sort of simple, warm nostalgia rather than the detached almost-ironic appreciation taken to the rest of the 1990s for MLS. This blue and green paneled ball, the original DC United uniforms, and compilations of Preki highlights that elicit the first sort of feeling, and most of the other stuff is like “well you gotta appreciate that they really went for it!”
Absolutely no clue to whom any of these signatures belong, for the record.
3 Atlanta United #29 Jacob Peterson Autographed Photos –
What a deal of a lifetime. JP29, or, as I knew him, JP37, was one of my favorites during his playing career. He was not what we’d call a constant scoring threat as a forward, but he had a knack for scoring juuuust on the edge of the moment in time when the fans felt comfortable complaining at how little he was doing so – and he showed up in crucial moments, my favorite being this mid-May 2016 game against Orlando that I remembered effortlessly midway through this paragraph as my favorite Jacob Peterson game. This is what my mind chooses to prioritize – If you put a gun to my head and told me to tell you the name of the Hungarian cousin who provides the entire purpose of the plot of my favorite movie, you would be cleaning skull and brain fragments off of the floor, but I am able to recall Sporting KC games I watched on TV for the purpose of a blog post like this.
Anyway, you can get three photos of him from his short stint with the then-upstart Atlanta United for eight dollars.
Signed Original Union Unocal 76 Petro Soccer Ball
I associate the 76 ball with sports, just a different sport – NASCAR – arguably the opposite sport of soccer in an American cultural sense. Remember there used to be those big rotating 76 balls at every turn at Daytona? They were so ubiquitous that they made it into Mario Kart. It only makes sense to make actual small 76 balls for promotion, though who signed them remains a mystery – a common phenomenon when shopping for sports memorabilia on ShopGoodwill.com.
There is something fascinating to me about an old ball dotted with unattributed signatures, especially one like this where I can’t even guess as to when it was signed, or by whom. I could at least read the signatures on the first one (and they even wrote “2008 Olympic Team” on the ball) and I could assume that, since the signatures were on a 1990s MLS ball, they belonged to MLS players from the 1990s. This I can’t even guess. In what situation would there be promotional 76 gas station soccer balls? A quick Google search reveals that 76 currently has a promotion with the NWSL’s Portland Thorns – so clearly it’s not out of character for 76 gas stations to promote itself through soccer… Though I doubt that any Thorns related promotion presents the situation here, just knowing the process through which items end up on ShopGoodwill.com, they’d have to be donated to a Goodwill first, and I personally doubt that a promotional item from 2022 would end up on ShopGoodwill that quickly. It’s mysteries like this, of such low stakes and such unimportant answers, ultimately left unanswered, that I believe define this exercise.
Vintage Leather England Football Laced Brown Soccer Ball Marked A.B.K.
Wouldn’t something like this be weird to find in a Goodwill? Especially for tchotchkes like this, there’s something of an age cut-off for what’s to be expected in a Goodwill. This belongs in an antique store, I’d think, not available for a starting bid of $7.99 at ShopGoodwill.com. This would be a cool thing to own, if I had more space to put stuff I might take a flier on this, but my one-bedroom apartment was just not built with an antique soccer ball conversation piece in mind. Maybe it’s something you put up as decor on the walls of a soccer-specific sports bar somewhere. Regardless there’s something uncanny about buying it off of ShopGoodwill.com and getting it delivered to your door via FedEx a few days later.
World Soccer Wall Hanging 33×27 (Soccer 94 Collector Series with COA)
I wish I had done two things with this one – Firstly I wish I had captured more pictures of it before it was purchased, and also I wish I had purchased it myself because I feel like a framed collection of 25 World Cup ’94 themed prepaid calling cards would fit in perfectly with the sort of theme I’m trying to cultivate in my apartment this year, at the moment loosely defined as “Beyond Beef O’Brady’s”, loads of tchotchkes and memorabilia that is interesting or funny to me and me alone cluttering my walls, vinyl record sleeves and pictures of old KU football coaches signed to people I never met and things like that.
The prepaid calling card is a fascinating thing in and of itself, I haven’t the faintest idea how they worked and never needed to use one, I might be part of the first generation of people that never used a payphone, though I still have the memory of their ubiquity and I know I’ve seen people use them.
I may have just stumbled upon the artifact of generational divide represented by people born in the mid-1990s in the middle that last paragraph. I know what most of the aspects of payphone usage were, I know what collect calls were (thanks to AT&T and Carrot Top’s commercials which aired nonstop during the VHS tapes I had of the 2002 X Games I know you just ‘Dial Down the Center – 1-800-C-A-L-L-A-T-T‘) but I never used one and the deeper intricacies of their use – like these prepaid calling cards, let alone promotional prepaid calling cards – do not and have never made sense to me, and almost certainly never will need to make sense to me. People talk about how people born in the mid-eighties are the last to really remember a life before the internet, those from the early nineties remember just going through a little metal detector at the airport, maybe those of us from the mid-nineties were the last to remember a period before cell phones became cost-effective and reliable enough to usurp pay phones.
I should’ve bought it. I should’ve bid on it and paid whatever ridiculous FedEx shipping cost it would’ve cost me. I should be the one with the framed 5×5 grid of 1994 FIFA World Cup themed promotional prepaid phone cards on my apartment wall. That should be mine. It would be perfect, it’d pull everything together, it’d be the perfect thing to have. I would be happy, I know they say that money can’t buy happiness but I really believe that waking up every day and looking at my framed 5×5 grid of 1994 FIFA World Cup themed promotional prepaid phonecards would provide me a level of joy that could absolutely change things around for me. What a shame
Lot Seattle Sounders Soccer Memorabilia w/ Signed Mask
I used to work at a sports memorabilia/apparel store. The store’s owner had a business philosophy that I can’t understand, but I will admit kept him in business for longer than it probably should’ve (He kept everything, never put anything on sale, basically hoarded everything with the hopes that it’d one day become valuable, which didn’t work until our moribund baseball team all of a sudden made two straight World Series runs in 2014 and 15, leaving him sitting upon a decade worth of diverse and suddenly-sought after Royals t-shirts and hats and what have you). He’d buy up bulk boxes of sports memorabilia and apparel and knickknacks from eBay auctions and other stores that were going out of business and try to upsell it. The one that stands out – because I spent an entire six hour shift putting it up – was when he purchased the entire inventory of a store in Stillwater, Oklahoma that had just closed.
I have pictures of those products somewhere, I wish I could find them, but in their stead, just imagine any mundane product that has ever existed, then imagine the Oklahoma State athletics logo on it. Beer openers, teaspoons, nail clippers, portable seat cushions – so many portable seat cushions, they could’ve stacked to the ceiling of our storeroom, and he priced them at twenty dollars each and tried to sell them from our dying mall in Olathe, Kansas, 300 miles from Boone Pickens Stadium. I learned several things that summer, but the most relevant to this particular section of this particular blog post were:
1 – A store that remains open for business is not necessarily a store that is succeeding
2 – That mall was not going to recover to the heyday of my childhood
3 – A sports team logo can and will be put on anything that can fit a sports team logo, and it will be sold to you
This is what I see when I see a decorative hockey mask and a stocking with the Seattle Sounders logo. They really can just put it on anything. I am nobody to judge – I have at least one coffee mug and a towel with the Sporting KC logo emblazoned on them, I know there’s a Sporting KC stocking floating around somewhere in my family – but I do find it interesting how much of this exists. One of my other pastimes that would bring the elementary school teachers that thought I had real potential to tears is going to MLSStore.com and searching through the Clearance section. Once you get twelve to thirteen pages in, it gets sort of bleak – Antigua Golf Shirts with the Toronto FC logo, Inter Miami Timexes, Real Salt Lake Panties… What a phrase. Real Salt Lake Panties. Say that aloud enough times and it’ll give you a nasty ASMR shudder. They’re out of a few sizes, too! People have bought them! There’s probably someone in Utah right now who’s dreaming of pulling down their wife’s Real Salt Lake Panties and going to town tonight. Probably somebody in Utah engaging in Pavlovian tent-pitching when they scroll by the Real Salt Lake logo on the MLS website. Statistically that’s probably happened! And isn’t that wonderful? What an incredible sport soccer is.
The mask does appear to be signed by some Sounders players, also.
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