Patching together memories with jerseys
MANY times after a game you will see players exchanging jerseys. This is a tradition that has been around for a long time. For many players it is like collecting cards or trophies and is not mandatory or expected. As players, we are pretty fortunate that U.S. soccer gives us a jersey for each game, whereas other teams might charge their players for extra jerseys. Thus, with the U.S. team, if you do not give out your jersey, you get to keep it for yourself or pass it on to a fan.
There really is no protocol for this process. If you want to trade a jersey you just go up to the player and ask if they would be willing to trade with you. Most of the time players are willing, but there are instances in which a player does not want to give up his jersey. There are also instances when more than one player wants the jersey of the same player. In these instances you have to be quick. For example, after the Italy game there were two players on our team that wanted Del Piero's jersey. Both players asked, but Del Piero gave it to the player who asked first, which happened to be the one he was playing against for most of the game. As for me, I only trade jerseys when someone asks me after a game I have played in. If I do not play, I usually do not make a trade, but there are others who do.
For most, I am sure they are collected to serve as memories for years to come. Each representing a moment in one's soccer career, which can be shared with family and friends forever. Aloha.
Kamehameha graduate Brian Ching is representing the U.S. in the World Cup