One Nation

Stefan Ruiz Shoots the England Soccer Supporting Diaspora for The Green Soccer Journal

Bobby Moore leading the national team to victory at the 1966 World Cup, Paul Gascoigne’s flood of tears in 1990, one of the many tournament exits on penalties—each English soccer fanatic has a personal moment of joy or more often torment etched on to their psyche. This photo essay by Brooklyn-based photographer Stefan Ruiz, former Creative Director of the seminal Colors magazine, was shot for issue five of The Green Soccer Journal. It features a cross-section of modern England fans, showcasing the diversity of the sport today and interspersed with photos of St. George’s Park, a new state-of-the-art training facility built by the English Football Association to help the national team compete with the best in the world. “We wanted to portray something that felt genuine and honest and Stefan can connect on that level easily,” says GSJ co-founder, Adam Towle. “You only have to reference his previous work to understand. He is able to draw a lot of character from a very simple set-up.” Actor Ed Skrein, comedian Doc Brown and music video director Luke Monaghan make an appearance; also featured are rising figures in British fashion, including Katie Eary and Charlie Casely-Hayford (son of decorated menswear designer, Joe Casely-Hayford). NOWNESS spoke to Towle and co-founder James Roper about the eternal attraction of their national team.

Where did the idea for the One Nation feature come from?
Adam Towle:
We approached [new England kit sponsors] Nike with a pitch from the perspective of disillusioned England fans. We wanted the magazine to support this new era of English football but didn’t personally feel connected to the team. We didn’t feel like there was much love for the shirt from both fans and players. It turns out that Nike had similar thoughts with regards to this and for their national campaign, so we set about thinking of ways to reignite a spark.

Do you have any favorite shirts from the past?
James Roper:
One of my mine is the one from 1999-2000 which looks very similar to the new kit. I think it was one of the first times it felt quite smart to wear an England shirt. The difference now is that the shirt is very technical and nice to play in, some of the one’s from the 90’s were great but not ideal to run around in for 90 minutes!

What are your most memorable moments from England’s soccer history?
AT:
For me it is when England beat Holland 4-1 during Euro 96. It felt like a massive result against a big team at that time, I remember feeling pretty optimistic.

JR: For me I think it must have been [Michael] Owen’s goal against Brazil at the 2002 World Cup. My emotions may have been heightened by the fact it was the first tournament where I was able to go to the pub with friends and skive off from sixth form college—all pretty exciting for an 18 year old in Derby!

(Read More)

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  • MOST SHARED IN SPORTS
    MOST SHARED IN SPORTS

    In Football Training

    Arsenal Defender Thomas Vermaelen Warms Up in Sharif Hamza’s Stylish Film

    The chiseled features and perfect balance of 26-year-old Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen are spotlighted by British photographer and director Sharif Hamza, in anticipation of the Euro 2012 Championship in Poland and Ukraine, which kicks off tomorrow. Hamza used long lenses and handheld cameras to produce an instinctive, player’s-eye perspective of the action, with Vermaelen feinting in and out of frame as if taking on the viewer one-on-one. Controlling, dribbling and juggling the star-patterned Adidas ball through the chiaroscuro shadows of a floodlit training pitch, Vermaelen is kitted out in autumn/winter designs by his fellow Belgians, including items by Ann Demeulemeester, Kris Van Assche, Dries Van Noten and Tim Coppens, Raf Simons and Maison Martin Margiela. “He was great,” recalls Hamza of the Premier League star. “Although he was a little unsure about the red Margiela leather trousers at first. The wardrobe was very much about the Belgian designers, so it’s not just an arbitrary fashion film––it’s about him and where he comes from, too.”

    STATS FROM ON SET

    Location
    Pitch four, the Westway, London.

    Distance to the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, the venue for the 2012 Euro Championships Final
    1,329 miles.

    Shoot duration
    Eight hours (7pm to 3am).

    Camera
    Arri Alexa.

    Food consumed on set
    Protein bars, sausage rolls and tomato soup.

    Drink consumed on set
    Lots of tea and hot chocolate.

    Approximate calories burned
    4,152.

    Football used
    Adidas UEFA Champions League Ball (chosen by Hamza from a selection of six).

    Number of football choreographers used
    One, to play football with Vermaelen.

    Number of keepie-uppies Vermaelen can do
    Thousands.

    Hair
    Mark Hampton.

    Number of times Vermaelen has since invited Hampton to his house to cut his hair
    One.

    Makeup
    Lotten Holmqvist.

    Wardrobe
    Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Tim Coppens.

    Injuries sustained
    Hair Stylist Mark Hampton’s torn ligaments from messing around with a football.

    Numbers of Arsenal shirts signed for the crew
    Nine.

    Visit our Facebook page to see a selection of behind-the-scenes images from the shoot.

    (Read More)
  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Beautiful Game

    A Lineup of New Faces From Nations Competing in the European Soccer Championship

    With the UEFA European Football Championships now underway in Poland and Ukraine, fresh-faced models from the participating countries fly their native colors in acclaimed photographer Roe Etheridge’s portrait series for the fifth biennial edition of Sepp magazine. Paced to coincide with the even-year cycle of international soccer tournaments, Sepp has been celebrating the crossovers between football and fashion since its launch by Editor Markus Ebner in 2002 as a “cool fanzine.” Ebner brought in esteemed creative director Beda Achermann (formerly of Men’s Vogue Germany) and Gagosian artist Etheridge to work together on the shoot. “We wanted to make a map of Europe, to show the faces of Europe with the obvious sports link but with a classic Playboy connotation,” explains Ebner. “But it wasn’t easy to cast 11 girls from 11 countries to pose pin-up style.” The collectible’s latest issue also features witty soccer-themed sketches by Karl Lagerfeld and a hyper-saturated fashion editorial by photographer Jeff Burton. In addition to running Sepp, Ebner also edits handsome German fashion glossy Achtung.

    (Read More)

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