MLS is Back: 7 Players Ushering in 2018 With Style

MLS is Back: 7 Players Ushering in 2018 With Style

To celebrate the kickoff of the new MLS season, we're looking at how players express themselves through fashion.

To celebrate the kickoff of the new MLS season, we're looking at how players express themselves through fashion.

Text: Megan Armstrong

Major League Soccer is returning this weekend, and is helping welcome soccer into 2018 with flare. For its 23rd season, MLS is pushing the slogan "Our Soccer," which represents all the special ways MLS distinguishes itself from countless soccer leagues around the world. It's only right then that we highlight the individual ways MLS players express themselves individually.

For Philadelphia's Warren Creavalle and Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler, that means creating a brand from scratch — as Creavalle runs a brand and clothing line bearing his last name and Besler is launching soccer lifestyle brand States. For Seattle's goalkeeper Stefan Frei, tattoos play just as much a part in his style as the clothes he wears. And for several, it means looking up to soccer and style god, David Beckham, who just re-entered the MLS by announcing his new Miami franchise in January. Learn more about seven of the league's most fashion-forward players below.

Josef Martínez, Atlanta United FC

Photo credit: Atlanta United

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

I have an obsession with shoes, and with shirts, pants, and comfortable ones too. But I think my favorite part, that I love to wear, and that I could spend all my money on, are shoes.

What brands are you high on right now?

In reality, I like all brands. I like Zara. I like Philipp Plein. I’m someone who wears a lot of Italian fashion because, obviously, I liked it very much when I was there. But really I use a lot of brands and like them all; sunglasses, too. I have to thank N. Cardinal. The truth is that’s one of the brands I like right now.

In what ways do you express yourself stylistically other than clothes?

I like to utilize watches, glasses, shoes, cars, whatever it may be.  But I try to have my own style, my own form of dressing, and I think that’s how I would describe myself.

Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy

Photo courtesy: LA Galaxy

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

A leather jacket. That's No. 1.

What brands are you high on right now? 

Ah, good question. It's hard to pass on Zara. Zara's great just overall. AllSaints. Those would be my top two, to be honest.

In what ways would you say you express yourself stylistically other than clothes?

For sure, staying well-groomed and trying to have a nice watch.

You're in a high-profile relationship (with actress and singer Becky G). In the beginning, did that put more pressure on you to always look your best? 

Ah, maybe. Because let's just say we go out to dinner or whatever, especially in this city — I think maybe at first, just more of a "just in case." It was definitely always in the back of my mind when you go out, especially when you're in the public eye, there's a little pressure. Your appearance has to be just nice and formal, have a little bit style about you. I mean, it's also a chance to express myself too. And she thinks the same. We have fun with it. We don't let it take over or stop us from going somewhere.

Whose style do you admire?

I'm a big David Beckham fan. I am a soccer player, and he always had a great style about him. So I think he'd be my No. 1.

Have you had a chance to meet him?

Yes, I have. He's a gentleman. Also, I think that helps out that he's such a great guy. The full package, you know?

Game day outfits, do you actually put a lot of thought into those? 

I used to be a little stressed out about it, I'm not gonna lie. But now, I'm sort of used to it and put it together pretty quick.

Do you know what you're wearing for the season opener?

On Sunday, I'm gonna have to put some thought into that one. It'll be my comeback game, first official game, to be involved. It'll be special, so I'll dress up a little more.

Scott Sutter, Orlando City SC

Photo courtesy of Orlando City

What item are you most likely to splurge on? 

That's a tough one. I mean, growing up in London, we get this sort of English sense of style. And when you go out on [the town] there, it's kind of similar to places like New York or Miami; big city,  a lot of good restaurants and bars and stuff, so you like to dress up. So it's nice if I get a nice soft suit or a shirt with a tie. I do like dressing up. I miss that sometimes. I didn't really have that when I lived in Switzerland. So anything a bit up market that I can maybe wear once or twice a year.

What brands are you high on right now? 

No particular brand, really. I'm really, really into my sneakers at the moment. Or trainers as we call them in England. I've got probably 100 different pairs — all different colors. They're all Nikes. So I've got a lot of those, and I like to sort of switch out depending on what I'm wearing. So that's the main focus of my fashion at the moment.

In what way do you express yourself stylistically other than clothes?

I'm big on hats. All kinds of hats. Sort of the Peaky Blinders baker boy hat. It's probably from my English heritage, not so much top hats but bowler hats and caps — wearing them frontwards and backwards. I'm not too bothered about how I look or how stupid it makes me look sometimes, but I just have a bit of fun with it like that.

Whose style do you admire? 

Probably not a big surprise, but growing up in England 15 years ago or 20 years ago David Beckham was the main guy. Also because of his soccer, of course. Growing up in England and supporting the English national team, he was a big part of my boyhood soccer dreams. I always admired him and his style off the pitch as well. And also the way he carried himself, the confidence and the humbleness that he had. So he was definitely a guy I looked up to, not just on the soccer field but also his fashion style.

Warren Creavalle, Philadelphia Union

Photo credit: Larmar Singh

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

Probably a jacket.

What are some jackets in your rotation right now? 

I go between my HAN KJØBENHAVN trench coat and Nike ACG.

What brand are you high on right now?

Aimé Leon Dore.

In what ways do you express yourself stylistically other than clothes? Maybe even for you, it could just be the way that you design clothes.

I think for me, a bit of it is through design and concepts that we'll play around with. A lot of it comes through photography, aesthetics and curation, whether that be curating what a page looks like on Instagram or curating an event. That's where I have a lot of expression.

What do you hope that CREAVALLE, your brand, gives to people?

For me, I think my biggest hope for that is giving them a view into my perspective. It's how I see my position in this life that I'm in. My position as an athlete has me involved in the subculture, and so I think I have a unique perspective. That's what I want people to be able to see and wherever they take it, they take it.

What does your brand and creating everything that goes into it that soccer doesn't? 

It's all dictating me and my peers. I mean, soccer, a lot of it isn't up to you. With this brand, it's purely whatever we want to do — we do that, execute that. It's a lot of expression that sometimes you might not get with soccer. Although (soccer) is definitely another creative outlet for me, but it's a different type. For sure.

I am curious about the explanations behind and maybe even the inspirations behind the Cartoons/Cereal and 199X tees.

Yeah, so it started with a conversation with my cousin. He runs the brand with me. We were just talking about growing up, really, and where we're at right now. It's like, "Man, that shit happened overnight! We were just watching TV on Saturdays, watching cartoons. And now, we got bills and obligations." So we just wanted to reminisce on the '90s and our upbringing and what childhood looked like to us, let that be the center of our concept and collection and run with that.

Who's style do you admire? 

My old teammate, who is actually involved in the brand with me as well, Ashtone Morgan. He's playing in Toronto still. But I always look at that guy like, "Man, that's why you're on the team. Always lights out."

What's coming next for CREAVALLE? 

Definitely looking forward to doing something with the summer. New capsule and event. Just looking forward to progressing with the brand.

Danny Hoesen, San Jose Earthquakes

Photo credit: ISI Photos

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

Shoes.

What brands are you high on right now?

Balenciagas. I'm not a Gucci guy or those things, but I like shoes. I like Valentinos and Yeezys.

What way do you express yourself stylistically other than clothes?

I cut my hair once a week. I go to the barber every Friday.

Which of the four seasons is your favorite to dress in?

Spring because I can wear layers.

Stefan Frei, Seattle Sounders

Photo courtesy of Sounders FC

Would you say your tattoos are a way you express yourself stylistically other than your clothes?

Yes. I've always liked that look a little bit.Once you open that door with tattoos, it becomes an addiction. My very first one was a very meaningful one and then it grew into more art pieces. I mean, I'm a bit of an artist myself too, so I use my body as a canvas for a good tattoo artist to potentially put something on there that is important to me or I feel like represents me or speaks to me in a way. It's definitely an extension of my fashion.

What are you going to do when you run out of real estate on your body?

My goal originally was to get the left side of my body done and steer away from the right side, but it's already gone into a work-in-progress full back piece. I already have my next piece outlined, which is probably going on my left leg hopefully. Like I said, it's an addiction where after every single tattoo you go, "OK, that was the last one." But you wait two or three weeks and, sure enough, there's another idea that pops into your head. So I don't know if I'll ever be done, but I'm enjoying the ride. I think it's important that you take your time and don't just rush through tattoos because it will be on your body forever. Get good artists that take their time and take pride in their own work, and I found a good one so I'm happy with that right now.

Photo credit: Hana Asano

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

That's a good question. I don't know. Honestly, I've really downsized my closet a little bit because I realized that I wear the same thing over and over again. Because comfort — although I think appearance is important — is important to me. You gotta feel comfortable in your clothes. So maybe something I will splurge on would probably be a suit. A nice suit (for) when I want to dress up, whether it be for games or going out to dinner with my wife. A nice suit always looks sharp and makes you feel good.

What are some of those things you find yourself wearing all the time?

It seems like I'm wearing contrast in terms of one thing that's [loose] and one thing that's skinny. I've been doing a lot of skinny or tighter jeans, cropped looks on the bottom and then relaxed, and loose on the top. I like my shoes as well. So I do like the pants that maybe are shorter on the bottom and can highlight your sneakers a bit more... and a good accessory. A nice watch or something like that. I kind of have any style. I like to dress up here and there. My wife got me a really nice leather jacket. I've always wanted a leather jacket because that's more of the biker look. And then obviously, I also have my casual looks. Comfort is important. I think even if you're going with skinny jeans or something, if you don't feel comfortable, it won't look good. It's important that you're comfortable in what you wear because I think people can see that.

Favorite sneaker brand?

I'm very fortunate because I'm sponsored by Adidas. I feel like Adidas in the last two or three years have really stepped up their game when it comes to sneakers. EQT ADCV, primeknit, obviously all the Yeezys they have. I have a couple pairs of those. I'm more than happy to rep Adidas when it comes to sneakers.

Whose style do you admire? 

I find a lot of inspiration. It's not really from one person. I would have to say one guy that's always looking sharp is maybe David Beckham. He can wear a suit and look really sharp; not overdone, not over the top, very clean. But then he can also wear a leather jacket and look a bit more raw. With his tattoos, it maybe looks similar to what I have. He's someone that's very versatile.

Which of the four seasons is your favorite to dress in?

I have to admit that I think the summer makes me the laziest. So I think when it comes to winter, you have to be the most thoughtful and do some layers, combine it with some nice boots or something. So maybe when it comes to style, the winter is when I pay most attention.

Matt Besler, Sporting KC

Photo credit: Sporting KC

What item of clothing are you most likely to splurge on?

I'm a sucker for jackets.  Something that's not too flashy and I can wear everyday.  I'm a big fan of layering, especially in weather that's unpredictable like Kansas City.

What brands are you high on right now? 

I'm a Nike-sponsored athlete, so I'm always into their new stuff.  Currently, I love their tech and international lines.  I also got an LL Bean Mountain Fleece Jacket for Christmas that I've hardly taken off.

In what ways do you express yourself stylistically other than clothes? 

Honestly, not much.  I don't have any tattoos, don't wear jewelry, and I'm not into trendy hairstyles. My "accessory" item are shoes. I have way too many pairs. But hey, most people do!

Which of the four seasons is your favorite to dress in? 

In Kansas City, the seasons are crazy! We get the extremes, so definitely not summer or winter. I would say fall is my favorite, because I love wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, a ball cap, and throwing on a jacket when the sun goes down.

What's your style?

If I had to describe my style, it would be a mix and match between "professional athlete," "golfer," and "outdoorsmen." So try and imagine all three of those going together at once and call it whatever you want.

What is States's mission statement? 

The mission from the outset has been to build a U.S. Soccer lifestyle brand that creates tasteful, technical products which establish a unique identity both on and off the pitch.  Put simply, to give soccer in America, its players and fans, the support and recognition it deserves.

Why did you feel compelled to start a brand?  

States was essentially formed in my basement with myself and three other friends, all who are connected to the game in some way.  Together, we hope to change the way our beautiful game is perceived in this country. To us, soccer is a lifestyle. It’s in our blood, something we’ll forever be connected to.  We’re confident States will make you feel connected to the game in ways that previously weren’t possible.

Comparable to? 

Lululemon. Lululemon is a lifestyle brand inspired by yoga. States is a lifestyle brand inspired by soccer.

Photo courtesy of Matt Besler

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