Parking in Downtown Santa Ana on the weekend is always a pain.
15 minutes of navigating through cramped parking garages later, I embarked on the short walk to the Orange County Patches and Pins expo to meet with the owner of Move in Silence, a pin company specializing in LA themed merch including Latinx references, pop culture, and you guessed it, Galaxy pins.
The plan didn’t get very far. There was a mob of eager consumers and fan crowding the pop-up space, grabbing items and shoving cash to the beanie-clad entrepreneur. Someone in a Dodger jersey reached for one of the pins I came to purchase, leaving two left to buy. All I could do was snatch my coveted items and have the quickest of words with Julio before making the rounds.
For fans of the LA Galaxy and especially the kids who grew up watching Mauricio Cienfuegos, Cobi Jones and the rest of the gang dominate Major League Soccer during their first decade of existence, the visuals of classic jerseys and past logos bring back precious memories.
Sadly, with the exception of an adidas 3rd jersey celebrating the 1996 season released in 2015 (Inspired by a contest-winning design from a fan no less), the organization has mostly shied away from producing retro merchandise. This may very well be due to copyright issues, but it’s a shame nonetheless. Luckily in the same spirit as the design-winning individual, the fans have taken a D.I.Y. approach to filling the void.
Julio was one of those kids. After releasing the 1997 white striped kit during the World Cup, he noticed it caught the attention of Galaxy fans on social media and decided to expand the lineup.
They’re a hot seller too. The more popular pins tend to sell out quickly, and if you don’t get your hands on the second batch you’re probably out of luck. Julio admits to selling 75 pins or so per design.
If you’ve attended a match at Dignity Health Sports Park lately, you’ve probably noticed fans around the stadium sporting retro Galaxy jerseys. The clasic Nike 1996 kits in home and away colors, the iconic striped jerseys and other vintage designs have been frequently spotted around the venue and on social media. The kits come from Retros y Rarezas, a Mitchell and Ness like soccer store run by the Salinas brothers out of El Salvador.
How did they become so popular? “It’s the quality” Jorge Salinas stresses, and he’s not wrong. The replica jerseys feature sharp details and a light breath-ability a step up from the sweat-wicking Dri-Fits of the time that were technologically advanced but hefty on the body. (The bargain price of $25 doesn’t hurt either)
For the Salinas brothers, their story isn’t much different than Julio’s. After years of producing kits celebrating La Selecta and especially El Mágico González, they decided to give a Cienfuegos Galaxy jersey the Retros y Rarezas treatment. Word spread like wildfire on Twitter, and now the jerseys are fashion items. Carlos “El Pescadito” Ruiz and Jorge Campos replicas are scheduled to come out in early May.
They’ve sold hundreds of jerseys. Just don’t tell Mitchell and Ness.
Since we originally published this piece in May, the market for retro gear has only grown. Retros and MiS continue to churn out products at a steady pace and now others are following suit. One Two Threads is the latest to gain a reputation for authentic merch while the anime-inspired work of Galaxy Art Fire is a hot item.