During the Covid-19 pandemic, when it was safe to mix back outside, a group of students and recent graduates started organizing pick up soccer games in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Whoever was available on the day would show up, throw down some pop up goals, toss out bibs and play. Eventually they’d built up a community of around 40 people through word of mouth. Players have come and gone as people have graduated or gotten new jobs, but the core community continues to thrive. Earlier this year they decided to start an official team to play in an 11-a-side league. Pickup FC was born.
When it came to deciding on kits, team captain Andrew recalled playing Pickup with a team in Brooklyn, New York wearing KLABU kits. “The kits look cool,” explains Andrew, “But then they also have a really cool mission as well which is a double win.” After keeping tabs on KLABU for over a year, when Pickup FC was finally formed it was always in the back of Andrew’s mind what he wanted the team to wear and represent.
Rather than focusing solely on competition, Pickup FC prioritizes the community that the sport brings. When they aren’t playing in their league or Pickup, some players will host World Cup or Premier League watch parties. “A group of roommates on the team hosted some of the USA World Cup matches and made a ton of breakfast food for everyone. The atmosphere was incredible, easily one of my favorite World Cup memories.”
Team captain Andrew has previously coached at youth clubs and done work involving football in the favelas of Brazil. “I’ve had that experience of seeing how football is not just a sport but can bring common ground amongst people who don’t even speak the same language or can be an escape if life is a little bit tough.”
Bringing the kits to the team, Andrew explained KLABU’s mission and the players voted on their favourite from six templates, opting for the eye-catching pink and blue. “I was actually trying to go with a more subdued colour and the team decided this is what we want,” Andrew adds.
Now they get compliments every time they play, both from guest players and the opposing teams.
"We are definitely the best dressed in the league, that's for sure. Players will text me afterwards and be like, I had so much fun, also the kits are sick."