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Soccer Jersey Buying Advice

adapted from Wilhite-Richey Marketing Research & Consulting,

Buying soccer jerseys from overseas – A gamble worth taking?

Buying a replica soccer jersey from overseas is a risky proposition, at best. Given that many countries do not police their garment industries to prevent counterfeit operations, the biggest danger is the chance that the soccer jersey you ultimately receive may not be the genuine article.

Even if the soccer jersey you are considering purchasing proves to be genuine, there may be customs issues, monetary-exchange hassles and arbitrary shipping expenses that unduly ratchet up the cost of your purchase. Additionally, many overseas operations do not have guaranteed satisfaction promises or return policies – so if your gear doesn’t fit, or it’s not what you had expected, you may be stuck with it no matter what.

Buying overseas can also mean a long wait for the delivery of your soccer jersey. Saving a few dollars by purchasing from a foreign retailer becomes less attractive when two months later the jersey still has not arrived.

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Getting the right size for your soccer jersey

Buying from an on-line soccer store makes checking for the fit of your replica soccer jersey prior to purchase difficult or impossible, so to avoid the hassle of having to send your product back to the retailer for exchange, carefully determine the size you think you need by factoring shrinkage rates into the equation, as well as cultural differences in overall sizing (A European “Large,” for instance, is often closer to an American “Medium.”)

While jerseys constructed of synthetic materials should not shrink when you run them through the wash, you can expect poly-cotton products to shrink from 3% to 4% and all-cotton products to shrink from 7% to 10% the first time they go through the washing process (Here, follow washing instructions faithfully!).

Soccer retailers often help by providing sizing and conversion charts, but a simple rule-of-thumb is to buy a size up to allow for shrinkage and sizing differences, especially if you are shopping for soccer jerseys of European origin. If you are unsure, call the retailer in question for advice on what size to select, and by all means, look for a retailer’s clearly stated satisfaction and exchange policy to provide extra insurance against any sizing miscalculations you might inadvertently make.

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Avoid getting stuck with an outdated model

Soccer clubs are famous for revamping the designs of their jerseys every few years, both in terms of the actual look of the strip, and the sponsor’s logo, which is generally found on the front of the garment. Companies usually negotiate a sponsorship of two to three years, so you’ll want to confirm that a soccer jersey is current by first checking the year/season (is the jersey a 2005-06, 2007-08, etc.) and comparing its corporate logo to the one seen on jerseys currently worn by the soccer club’s players themselves.

A club or national team’s most current jerseys usually sell for a premium price, so if you see a club or national soccer team strip that is being offered at a sale or reduced price, make sure the version for sale is the version you want and feel free to call the retailer to confirm that your intended purchase is what you really want.

Additionally, many European soccer clubs have a home, away and alternate jersey for their domestic tournaments and leagues, and if they are playing in the UEFA Champions League, separate versions for that competition as well, so you should make sure the jersey you are purchasing is the version that you are looking for.

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Ordering for your soccer club or soccer team

Many soccer clubs are turning to on-line retailers for team uniform purchases, a decision that can save your club money, but can create hassles if not done carefully.

While you can often go through the process of picking a soccer jersey design on-line without seeking one-to-one or personal service, it’s a good policy to contact retailer’s team-wear sales representative to help you along, especially when it comes time to talk about numbers, logos and most importantly, pricing.

Some simple guidelines for making successful on-line purchases for you club’s uniform needs include:

  1. Look for volume discounts – a retailer that doesn’t offer a volume price break should raise a red flag as to whether they are truly in the business of servicing soccer teams and clubs.
  2. Outfitting your soccer club with uniforms often requires personal service and hand-holding by the retailer, so avoid retailers that don’t offer you an opportunity to consult with a team-wear representative during the purchase process.
  3. You’ll want to confirm that the prices quoted by a team-wear supplier are all inclusive (including costs for numbering, letters, logos, customization, etc.)
  4. Sponsor and team logos are usually digitized and electronically sent to the team-wear outfit, so make sure you have confirmed the format (*.gif, *.jpeg, etc.) with your team-wear rep and to be safe, ask specifically whether there are any additional costs if the logos you send are not in the formats required by the retailer.
  5. Make sure the team-wear supplier will accept exchanges and offer satisfaction guarantees, and also confirm that the supplier can handle additional orders of kits, just in case a new player joins your soccer club or team after the the initial order has been delivered.

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What else should I know about buying soccer jerseys?

Please visit these related pages for more information: Apparel Care.

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Do you have a page where I can wade through complex legal jargon?

No business is complete without one. Just take a look at our terms and conditions for all the fine print you can handle.

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Effective: February 1, 2012

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