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February 05, 2022 2 min read

We caught up with Andrew Helms, writer for Eight by Eight magazine, to talk about the 96 Aston Villa shirt he won in a bet, the inaugural DC United shirt and Ian Darke taking on a vuvuzela.


What was your first ever football shirt?

Growing up outside of Washington, DC, my summers were often spent playing football at local “soccer camps,” and many were run by a group of expat Englishmen who had managed to corner the market with the clever deployment of accents. One summer day, I won a bet with my English coach and he gave me the shirt off his back, a 1996 Aston Villa x Reebok away shirt. Though it was far too big for me when I was a kid, I can finally wear it now.

What is your favourite football shirt?

Sentimentally, I’ve got to pick the inaugural 1996 D.C. United home kit. While other MLS clubs went for more exotic designs, the first D.C. United shirt was an instant classic: jet black top with three white stripes across the chest. It also helped that United won three of the first four MLS championships with that look.

What is your favourite ever goal? 

I have to go with Landon Donovan’s stoppage time winner against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Facing elimination from the group stage, the Yanks engineered a classic American counterattack goal with Donovan, Jozy Altidore, and Clint Dempsey combining to slice through Algerian defense in the final minute.


If you want to read more about the football memories of players, writers, and more you can buy the full Your First Football Shirt book. Discover Alan Shearer's first ever football shirt, Carl Anka's most cherished shirt and more. All proceeds go to the charities CALM and Willow.