Spending a few days lately working on some potential designs for ACB soccer scarves (not as easy as you'd think) has made me think about my appreciation for them. I remember first noticing this type of scarf when I was in Torino for the Olympics. On certain days you'd see people all over town wearing them. I even bought a couple then not fully appreciating their significance, just because they seemed a cool souvenir of my time there. It wasn't until I started following American soccer and especially once involved with the Angel City Brigade that I realized what a signature of soccer they are. Football/Soccer scarves are generally attributed as originating in the UK in the early 1900's, first as stripe patterns of team colors and later with team names and slogans. Today there are all kinds of versions with elaborate designs, and like anything in sports merchandising, teams and leagues will add special designs for anything they can think of to make a buck. Naturally, fans gobble them up. In the last year alone I somehow went from one scarf to six, including one I gave away. What I love most about the soccer scarf is its versatility. Its an easy show of support for your team just hanging on your neck at a tailgate, but it also doubles as a banner when held over your head (especially impressive when a full section is doing the same), or as a rally towel twirled while cheering a play, not to mention its actual use as a scarf when chilly enough to need it. It sure beats a foam finger. It's no surprise that they are now starting to show up on baseball and hockey fans in the US, but they will always be the defining symbol of the soccer fan.
[apologies for blog posts before 11/2008 that are not yet updated to format]