Every once in a while an assignment comes along that lets me combine some of my favorite things. In this case, soccer & photography. I’ve played the game my whole life and still continue to play in any leagues I can find. My touch is worse, I’m a little slower, and recovering takes a lot longer, but I still love the game. So, when Howler Magazine asked me to photograph a story about an over-30 men’s team in New Jersey, I jumped at the chance to photograph some guys who knew exactly how I felt.
Back in November, I traveled to Kearney, NJ to photograph a few members of the Kearny Scots, one of the oldest American soccer clubs. Back in the late 1800s, Kearny became home to thousands of Scottish immigrants who came to work in the booming textile industry of the time.
Along with a host of other cultural traditions, soccer was introduced to the Kearny community. In 1883, Clark Thread Mill Company formed company sponsored teams (among them the Scots), and in doing so, attracted not only workers, but talented soccer players to compete in local and national tournaments. This cemented Kearny as a hotbed of international talent, and drew teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and many other teams to journey to Kearny for exhibition games against a growing force of Scottish-American soccer.
Today, Kearny continues to be a hotbed for soccer, with multiple leagues and youth programs. Over the years, those programs have produced some well-known U.S. soccer veterans like John Harkes, Tony Meola and Tab Ramos, who all grew up in Kearny youth leagues.
It was a great afternoon talking soccer, commiserating on our 30-yr old legs not being what they used to, and making some great images. Can’t ask for much more than that :)