Photos by Brandon Werth
Taking a page from the David Beckham playbook, five Minnesota United FC teammates showed off their quads and abs in a summer lookbook produced by Minneapolis-based menswear retailer Askov Finlayson. For a brand whose imagery is usually associated with northern woods and lakes, the summer campaign—shot on the soccer field and in the locker room at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine— is a playful departure. Also, a really great opportunity to get intimately acquainted with midfielder Jonny Steele’s totally tattooed chest and arm sleeves.
Minnesota United President Nick Rogers, a longtime friend of Askov Finlayson co-owner Eric Dayton, is all for celebrating the soccer body. “Soccer players have a lot of things going for them," Rogers says. "They don’t wear masks, that’s the main thing, and they have normal body types . . . just incredibly fit.”
You don’t have to tell Calvin Klein or Armani, two of the many designer labels that like to display their briefs on pro soccer players—Beckham and Oscar dos Santos Emboaba among them.
For Askov Finlayson, the players spent a lot of time in the brand’s Vermilion Short, named for one of Northern Minnesota’s most popular lakes and made with Japanese canvas and twill. They might be a bit tough to kick in, jokes Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez, “But they fit great. I really liked the blazers too, but the shoes were my favorites.”
With the recent announcement of Major League Soccer coming to Minneapolis, "It seemed like perfect timing to partner with the team on something fun," Dayton says. "All the players are such nice guys, and it doesn't hurt that they're also amazing athletes who look great in our clothes."
Ramirez and Steele were joined in the photo shoot by defender Brent Kallman, and goalkeepers Sammy Ndjock and Mitch Hildebrandt, who liked the crewneck sweatshirt he modeled so much, tried to "forget" to take it off when the cameras stopped flashing.
Modeling is definitely tougher than it looks, Ramirez says. “You are put in awkward positions trying to act normal.”
If this is what normal looks like, Christian, we would very much like to see more.