If you’re like me, you have a closet full of soccer jerseys. Each shirt in my collection is associated with memories of a particular event or era. The one that I’m most fond of is my LAFC shirt with Lee Nguyen’s name on the back.
You read that correctly.
I traveled to the west coast during the summer of 2018 and watched two games. The first saw the San Jose Earthquakes lose 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders in a virtually silent Avaya Stadium. One day later I experienced a different atmosphere when I went to Banc of California Stadium to see LAFC battle the LA Galaxy.
The first-ever edition of El Trafico didn’t disappoint, as the Galaxy won 4-3. The one I saw also lived up to the hype despite ending in a draw.
Carlos Vela (7’) and Nguyen (20’) scored to give their team a first half lead. The visitors flipped the script in the second half with Romain Alessandrini and Ola Kamara scoring in the 82nd and 86th minutes.
Seeing Nguyen—a former New England Revolution player—score his first-ever LAFC goal is part of the reason why I enjoy that jersey so much. A larger reason is the atmosphere I experienced.
The pregame celebration was lively, full of plenty of fans willing to discuss soccer as a DJ blasted music. Life in the stands was even better, as I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with supporters who sang their hearts out for 90 minutes. The repetitiveness of the chants didn’t bother me because they were sung with such passion.
I have other jerseys—yes, some are Revs jerseys—that I also really enjoy, but that Nguyen jersey is one of my favorites. It has less to do with the crest on the front and the name on the back and more to do with the day I spent in California.
What’s your favorite jersey? Let us know in the comments section below.