Every year new technical partnerships in the world of football bring with them fresh optimism.
Naturally we gravitate towards the new deals struck for teams in the Premier League, Serie A or Bundesliga. Collectors might also look forward to new J.League tandems too, for example. Increasingly however we’re seeing some of the best work come out from across the pond, and it’s exactly there that I wish to travel to today.
I’m incredibly excited about Meyba’s new deal with Oakland Roots, and you should be too.
Old in the best sense
Meyba are an old brand in the best possible sense. Founded out of Barcelona in 1940, they plied their trade relatively quietly until a breakthrough decade in the 80s. Outfitting the club from their own backyard, the legendary Meyba x Barça partnership for which the brand were most well known was littered with silverware across a magnificent 10 year reign.
After something of a hiatus Meyba made a comeback in the world of football a couple of years ago, and the recently announced Oakland Roots/Oakland Soul partnership is a clear marker that we can expect a lot, lot more.
Doing it the right way
Before speaking about Oakland specifically, a short word on Meyba’s expansion. In the modern shirt game it’s not uncommon to see emerging or reemerging brands seemingly snapping up every possible deal they can get their hands on in order to increase their standing in the industry. I have one particular manufacturer in mind who shall remain unnamed (no prizes for guessing who!).
Brands are at liberty to make whatever business decisions they please, but I appreciate Meyba’s style. Their expansion has been slow and steady; there’s very much a sense of quality of quantity which couldn’t be achieved as effectively were they spread too thin. With the brand name they have they’d have every right to try and put themselves out there as much as possible, but they’re the tortoise to other brand’s hares and it’s great to see.
What of the Oakland clubs specifically? Why is Meyba’s arrival especially exciting?
For starters Oakland Roots have made a huge impression during their relatively short lifespan. Founded in 2018, the club quickly emerged as one of the most attractive lower-league clubs in the U.S. from a branding perspective. Football club branding isincrediblycompetitive in the States, more so than in any other region I would argue, but the stunning Roots crest and beautiful approach from the club to things like typefaces put them on the map from day 1.
This year a new women’s team, Oakland Soul SC, was announced. Though it’s early days all the positive signs are there once again, with an aesthetically pleasing brand identity which feels fresh whilst also sitting nicely alongside everything Oakland Roots.
Both teams have shown or are showing a commitment to the community of Oakland, and this is perhaps the most pertinent point.
When the Meyba deal was announced, the brand’s involvement with Project 51O was announced at the same time. In essence Project 51O is the reserve club of Oakland Roots, but the club is so much more. Through community initiatives and deliberate action, Project 51O is run with the desire to create a more sustainable model for community engagement as opposed to the status quo, where token gestures are instead the name of the game.
Money has been committed to the Common Goal Initiative. Safe and inclusive spaces have been funded across Oakland. Collaborations have sprung up with community members, giving back in meaningful ways. In short, there are few clubs in world football demonstrating a commitment to positive change.
But as we finish, how does all of this actually impact what we’re here to talk about today: the shirts.
All the right ingredients
Combine one of the most attractive clubs in football with one of the most storied brands in football and you have a very, very strong base. Mix in an authentic ethos which runs through every fibre of the club and you have something even more special.
Many of the best football shirts are the ones with deeper meaning. Sometimes that meaning is fashioned on the football pitch, but other times it’s present in the stories behind the designs. It would be no surprise at all to see Oakland Roots, Oakland Soul and Project 510 receive some beautiful Meyba football shirts because all parties in this situation care.
Kits are often described as representing the community, but when a club involved shows minimal effort in regards to that very same community on a day-to-day basis you can end up with something half-baked at best or at worst, soulless. That isn’t going to happen here, and with Meyba giving their full attention the potential is sky high.
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