CHICAGO (June 6, 2014) – In celebration of the U.S. Men’s National Team competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, renowned graffiti-style artist Futura, U.S. Soccer’s Art Director for the World Cup, designed limited-edition Kayo skate decks.
Embracing the “One Nation. One Team.” motto, Futura’s original artwork was painted onto the world’s highest quality wood to create a one-of-a-kind Kayo deck that intertwines soccer and the skateboard cultures. Established in 2002, The Kayo Corp is one of skateboarding's premier manufacturers.
All 23 players on the U.S. Men’s National Team received an exclusive Futura-designed Kayo deck as part of the World Cup package provided by Nike, which includes clothes, luggage and sneakers. The deck was a surprise gift for the players, who found them in their hotel rooms on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla., where the team is preparing to take on Nigeria in the final Send-Off Series match on June 7 at Everbank Field.
The decks are one of a number of Futura’s collectibles the renowned artist has created for U.S. Soccer in the lead-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which includes a unique redesign of the U.S. Soccer jersey and crest , two “live” works, and the official poster which will be launched next week. The first live design was created in Times Square during Lupe Fiasco’s performance on Fan Appreciation Day on May 30, and another will take place at U.S. Soccer Fan Fest in Chicago on June 16, the day of the USA’s Group G opener against Ghana.
"It has been an absolute honor to be involved creatively with our U.S. Men’s National Team on the world’s biggest stage," said Futura.
Two hundred additional Futura-designed Kayo boards were produced for this unique collaboration and information will be provided in the future on how to possibly attain the limited-edition item.
“It has been an absolute honor to be involved creatively with our U.S. Men's National Team on the world’s biggest stage.”
"This entire event is exciting and rare,” said Kayo Corp CEO Troy Morgan. “It’s an honor to be able to work with Futura to produce a skateboard deck that will remain timeless in history for each player on the Men’s National Team."
The Kayo Corp’s mission is to supply the skateboard community with top grade products while supporting skateboarding on all levels. Kayo serves as the home of DGK, Expedition-One, Organika, and Gold Wheel Co. Each brand has a different messages, but they all share the common thread of being rooted in the core of skateboarding's culture.The U.S. MNT caps off its three-game Send-Off Series on Saturday, June 7, with an international friendly against Nigeria at 6 p.m. ET at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida [TICKETS]. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow live on Twitter @ussoccer.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, U.S. Men's National Team and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen was named the 2018 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year, becoming just the second player in the award’s 35 year history to earn the honor in his debut year with the senior team.
The award caps a year in which Steffen tied an MNT record for appearances by a goalkeeper in their inaugural campaign, earned his first MLS All-Star selection, won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and was named to the MLS Best XI team. Last week, Steffen was transferred to defending Premier League champions Manchester City, which he will join during the summer window in July 2019.
In his own words, Steffen describes the importance of family, the thrills of the National Team experience and the wild ride in Columbus this year, and how it all adds up to him being ready to take the next steps …
My family is a big part of my life. I was 19 when I went to Germany, and it was tough not having them around. It just didn’t feel right. So when I joined the Columbus Crew, it felt like home right away. Over the last two years, they’ve made it to just about every home game, and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be – to have a career that I could share with my family and have them next to me while I began this ride.
One of the best life lessons my parents instilled in me is that there will always be ups and downs…both in life, and in soccer. But you have to learn from them, and when you’re going through them, you have to stay humble and stay grounded - no matter what.
And that’s the thing about me – when there are downs, I get over those quickly. You have to as a goalkeeper. You keep playing and you make the next play. I believe that mentality has helped me have some success early on, which has humbly led to a few accolades this year. What an honor it’s been to receive these.
Coming into this year I wanted to build off 2017. I gained a lot of confidence in my first full year in MLS, having a good season with the Crew. I wanted to come in and not take a step back, to start playing well right off the bat, and to work and grow from there.
I was honored to be called in to the Men’s National Team’s January Camp. We were playing Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even though the plan was for me to come on at halftime, it seemed to happen too fast. I had to warm up in 12 minutes and at the same time I was telling myself to go out there, play my game and enjoy it. I was nervous. My heart was racing, but I was about to make my debut for the national team, so I was also really excited. And fortunately for us, we were playing well so I did not have much to do.
Our season with the Crew began not long after. Gregg Berhalter and the coaching staff did an excellent job of keeping us focused amid the uncertainty on the team’s future in Columbus. They kept us updated on what was going on with ownership and all that, but at the same time they did a really good job of reminding us that we couldn't control any of it and that our job was to put quality out on the field, work hard every day, and if we did that good things would come.
- READ MORE: Zack Steffen Voted 2018 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year
- RISING: Zack Steffen's Emergence With the U.S. Men's National Team
So that was my focus during the season – to enjoy it, to work hard, to learn, to push myself and try to stay consistent. I wanted to become a leader for the team on and off the field and try to improve my game in each area that I could.
That was also my mindset with the National Team. We knew it was a transitional era for us, but Dave Sarachan and the coaches did a great job incorporating youth and starting this process for us. A lot of us “younger guys” got time and played against quality opponents, whereas we might not have gotten the same opportunities in another World Cup year. The biggest thing we can take away was our performances and seeing the gap there is - how comfortable some of those teams were on the ball, knowing what to do with the ball and when, and learning from all of our experiences.
And personally, that game against France just before the World Cup gave me the most confidence with the national team, knowing that I could play at that level.Read more