A couple of months ago I mentioned Asbury Park FC in a SteadyGo Best of The Web blog post, but I didn’t go into too much detail.
Well, now I will.
A few years back I became aware of a football team in New Jersey. They came to my attention because a couple of guys from my favourite band, The Gaslight Anthem, started being pictured in their shirts on Instagram.
In recent years I’ve really gone off football, but I liked the look of the Asbury Park FC club crest, the kit, and… well, my favourite band liked them so I wanted to know more.
The only thing is, they’re not actually a team.
Yes, they have the crest, the kit, a website, and all the merch… but they don’t have a team, or a ground, or play any games.
And that’s kinda the point.
It was hard to find out much about them at first. I could tell they weren’t a real team, and that it was a bit of a laugh, but that’s about all, until the New York Times published this article:
Created by Ian Perkins, an English expat and musician (who often tours with The Gaslight Anthem) and Shawn Francis (who is apparently a social media professional and soccer tastemaker, which sounds like a cushty job), Asbury Park FC is ‘a parody of modern day football’.
Photo of Francis and Perkins from NY Times
When Perkins moved to Asbury Park he wanted to play football, but realised there were no teams in the area, and nowhere to play. Francis answered a tweet from Perkins stating that ‘soccer’ isn’t for playing anymore, only consuming, and the idea for APFC grew from there.
Everything is tongue in cheek. Not only do they have a kit, they also have a retro kit, even though they’re only a couple of years old.
On social media they have loads of fun with it. They talk about their plans for the new stadium (which is to be built on top of another building) and they announce when they’ve made new signings, or released players, (usually made up people, or friends) with piss-take press releases.
I love it. I love the thinking behind it and their reasons for doing it. It’s one of those things that makes me wish I’d thought of it.
And it would appear that Francis is right in his assertion that ‘soccer’ is for consuming. I’m desperate for an APFC shirt but they keep being sold out. I’m aware that out of context, when I’m wearing this shirt round and about Leeds, I’ll just look like a chav in a football shirt, and I don’t care.
But my girlfriend probably will.