Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Matthew and Chris Dent have lead the diverse Soho Warriors across their diverse range of projects since 2010, inspiring and nurturing some of the most talented creators in London football culture along the way.
How did Soho Warriors get started?
We were sharing a studio back in 2010 and both of us had become a little bit disillusioned with football having played Sunday League for so long, we were both at a stage where we needed a change. We’d seen this team Chinatown Soccer Club in New York. They were playing football and working on projects together, and that really connected with us so we started looking at how we could do something similar in London.
We started with a 5-a-side team but quickly grew to a squad of 30. We now have all types of creatives in the team, from illustrators, photographers, designers, directors etc etc the list goes on.
How are you doing on the pitch?
We are sitting top of our Midweek league, our first competitive league for a while. We went unbeaten last year and came up against a lot of tough opposition both in our summer friendlies and league games. As well as that we are also looking to tour more this year, currently working out our next destination.
How did Le Petit Cup come about? How did you get on?
We met Jack (founder of Le Ballon) in New York at the first Chinatown Invitational (2013). He was part of Gastown FC, out of Vancouver. We struck up a really good relationship with all the teams there and have kept in touch.
We have been meaning to do something with Le Ballon for a while and after a few conversations we put it together. It was one of those memorable trips, the perfect hosts, self-funded, 25 guys travelling out to play at Red Star’s stadium. It’s going to be hard to better that.
We played two games, winning 5-4 on aggregate. Last minute winner, couldn’t make it up.
Which culture clubs around the world do you admire and compare Soho Warriors to?
Chinatown Soccer Club are the original guys for us and should be for everyone else. They have become really good friends and a huge inspiration, if you look at what is happening now, they have more than likely already done it (and 100x better).
We also look at Le Ballon for the vision, Bled for the craft, Ringleaders for the heart, all are part of our network of clubs around the world. Shouts to Nivelcrack and Shukyu. Also keep an eye out for our boys OWN, Coats & Goalposts & youngathlete who are also doing some really good things in football.
The game or football fashion, what is more important to you?
It always has to be the football, right. Too many brands are forcing it right now, just an overload of product that comes and goes pretty quickly.
For us, having that group of people is the most important thing and then we just work off of that. You can then tell stories from that and start to build a real club, something we have been doing for the past 8 years and are ready to push on now.
Anyone can design a nice football shirt, the important thing for us is what that shirt means and how it relates to what we are all trying to do.
We have a bunch of projects and collaborations coming this year all building up to the World Cup, as it feels like the right time to do it. We now have a history, home pitch, surrounding area of pubs and places we have come to love as well as a committed group of people who love being part of the warriors.
All this adds to what we are trying to do in the long term, build something tangible and real. When the football trend dies down, we will still be there playing and creating stuff.
Tell us about your experience trying to buy The Albion?
We were in talks to buy it at one stage but couldn’t compete with the big boys. We have some great memories in that place. This was a massive part of how the club formed and helped build the strong bond all the players have to this day.
What are your aspirations for Dent?
We treat DENT as a unique opportunity to work with brands both with and away from the team. What makes it exciting for us is there is absolutely no pressure to go down any particular route, as the team evolves I think DENT will follow and things will come out of that.