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An Italy away jersey and a Philadelphia Union Parley kit highlights of this contributor’s collection

A public event at the KoP mall and a kit tent at a state cup match tell different stories of soccer jersey significance

Contributor Tommy deFonteny with his soccer jersey collection

I haven’t been a lifelong soccer fan, and I only discovered the Philadelphia Union a few years back, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first jersey I purchased for myself was last year.

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that it was a Union jersey. Once I really discovered this team, circa 2014, I dove in head first. I had a mix of scarves and a single Union jersey that was gifted to me that I would don every weekend to cheer on the U, however, last year, my support became more intimate.

The Union were doing a showcase at the King of Prussia mall for their 2018/2019 Parley jersey, and I made sure I was there. I dropped $90 on the kit and I immediately had it signed by the Union’s own homegrowns Matt Freese, Matt Real and Mark McKenzie along with now Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty. This is one of my most prized possessions and it is a landmark in the timeline of my support for the Union.

However, although one of my favorite jersey, my autographed Parley jersey is not my most significant.

That would be an Italian away kit from 2014. I got it a few years ago after my state cup championship game. It was a 4-1 thrashing and I got my side’s only goal. It was a disappointing game but it was also my first time playing in a final at that level—at the end of the day it was an exhilarating experience.

While we were walking back to our cars, we passed a guy with a small tent selling a wide array of jerseys. This is where I picked up my Italy jersey, to go with my finalist medal on a memorable day for me both as a soccer player and a fan.

This post is part of our Jersey Week celebration with the other SB Nation sites. To see more of our coverage visit this week and email if you’d like to contribute.