Everybody Soccer dives deep into unexplored regions of American soccer fandom with this interview. Earlier this year someone created uniforms for college soccer teams - some of which don't actually have varsity teams - and not only posted them online, but also made a trailer for the game. The kits can be downloaded on PES for PS4, and can be seen here in detail.
You've created a pretty nifty project by incorporating college teams into PES. Elaborate on that process. What inspired the project?
Well the project came about when I got PES the first time a couple years ago. Thanks to PES's edit mode I was able to create the teams that weren't there and I'd include some MLS and NASL teams and around PES 2008, as a joke I decided to create UCLA, UVA and Akron, three powerhouses in college soccer. When you go online you can find guides and pre-made kits for almost all the leagues, but not the NCAA.
It really kicked into high gear though, about three years ago when NCAA Football 14 was to become the final installment of the series due to the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit. Now there was a huge void, so I began creating SEC and Big 12 schools (non-soccer conferences) and it slowly grew as each new PES allowed more and more detail. As of right now, I have about 80 teams done with many more to come. I'm open to suggestions.
How does someone go about about creating uniforms for college teams, some of which don't even have soccer programs?
Each kit has about a half days worth of research. I look up the school and find their seal, athletic logo, nickname and see how much I can look into their school traditions or what's important to them. Little touches make this project feel special. To add realism I added things like making sure each school had their correct athletic kit manufacturer (Nike, Adidas etc). Most kits have a faded retro logo on their back. Boston College has a "Boston Strong" ribbon. Alabama has faded houndstooth all around. UNC has their classic basketball pattern down the shorts. Ohio State has the football "buckeye" sticker. Nebraska's captain armband is.... corn. I love trying to make each kit seem like it was made by a fan of each school.
And how does someone make a trailer for a game featuring teams that don't exist?
Making the trailer was a bit of a process too since I had to apply the kits and film a handful of games with EVERY team to ensure good clips and variety. It was pretty cool piecing it together with the College GameDay theme, and I actually got pretty pumped when I was finished.
What was the feedback you got on this? Any negative feedback?
I've only just put out the kits, so I haven't heard much feedback. So far all of the reddit comments have been positive so I think there's interest for something like this. It does make me a bit sad that I finally finished my initial teams as the lifespan of PES 2016 is coming to it's end. My only hope is that PES 2017 will have a similar kit input system. But if not, I'm prepared to adapt and update each one.
You used PES instead of FIFA, which I'm assuming is easier to create teams for?
Yes, PES has long had a distinct advantage over FIFA in the customization department. Since PES lacks many of the licenses to large clubs (most notably, the Premiership), they have a long tradition of having editable teams that most users turn into the Bundesliga, MLS, J-League or others. FIFA used to have a "Creation Centre" which was online and I dabbled in it for a while, but it had many limitations and was not brought into next gen consoles. Rumors are that PES 2017 will allow file sharing, so that may make spreading college spirit even easier!
The obvious question is when can we play with the teams? Can users make their own adjustments after downloading them, or are they set as is?
Right now, PES 2016 has a number of league with fictional clubs and all generic fictional players and all you really have to do is save the kit images on this page, to a thumb drive, plug it into your PS4, and download them into the game. PES allows you to alter the pitch, club name, banners and lineups all in game. (For whatever reason, Xbox is not very friendly in general to usb sticks and data sharing.) Users can edit the players to reflect the real life rosters of their school or create a lineup from scratch. The possibilities are endless.
(For more info on uploading kits, watch this video).
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on making kits for some of the schools that actually have soccer teams but not huge presences in the football world (which I've mostly finished). So schools like UCSB, Charlotte, William & Mary, UC Irvine, Wake Forest, etc. At this very moment I'm trying to finish the ACC.
What are you plans for future projects?
One of the things I'm trying to do is create retro kits for teams that do (or did) exist, like one of Jorge Campos or David Seaman's crazy outfits, or the 94 demin kits, Manchester United's Newton Heath kit or the NY Cosmos from the 70s.
What's a dream goal of yours?
My dream right now is to get a job working with college soccer in the US. It seems like a fascinating world that is kind of in an odd position right now. Many of the USSF see it as a hindrance to the soccer development of the nation, while others see it as a great weapon if only a few aspects where changed. I feel as the country becomes more acquainted with soccer, the college game will have to adapt or be left behind.
My dream of dreams would be the SEC picking up men's soccer! If it could find an audience, it would be a game-changer as that conference has so much money and so many crazy fans that want to win, win, win.
Lastly, where can people find you online to stay in touch with your work?
You can find me on twitter @RTRtheChief, I'm a recent graduate of the University of Alabama (no men's soccer, sad) and freelance graphic design and videography. If anyone has any requests for a college, I'm more than happy to give it a shot. Just let me know what things are special to you school and I'll try to incorporate as much as possible.
Most of the teams' kits have been uploaded to the Facebook page, which you can see here.