In building his custom jersey Icarus FC over the past four years, Robby Smukler has held onto the idea in the back of his head of hosting a weekend tournament in Philadelphia with teams all wearing his company’s designs.
That idea became a reality over the weekend with the first ever Icarus Cup at Drexel University’s Vidas Athletic Complex.
Forty-one teams gathered for the weekend event and all wore Icarus FC designs for the 7v7 tournament, which was put on in partnership with local adult league CASA Soccer.
“It’s surreal and ridiculous to see all these teams wearing the jerseys,” Smukler said. “It’s blowing me away to see 41 teams here but I have to say it would not have happened without Casa.”
Casa’s experience and organization running multiple leagues and competitions was evident across the two days as games were played simultaneously on six fields set up at Vidas Field and Maguire Field in the multi-sport complex.
The connections Smukler has built with his company, which outfits hundreds of clubs with custom designs, were evident in the distance some of the teams traveled to participate. Teams and individuals from New York City, New Jersey, upstate New York, Maryland, Boston and as far away as Seattle participated.
“We play for a league in Brooklyn and Icarus makes our jerseys so they invited us down and we were like ‘who in the league wants to come?,’” said Zihan Ascensio, of One Love CC, which went home with a trophy after winning the coed division. “It was amazing; such a great experience.”
Alexi Anderson came down from Albany, N.Y. to join one of the Philadelphia Falcons teams in the competition on the invite of a friend who was celebrating a birthday.
“The jerseys are really cool,” Anderson said. “I love all the designs and the colors.”
In addition to the coed division, there was a first and second division in the competition. An Icarus FC team won the first division and Maccabi FC won the second division title. Teams that didn’t advance to the finals played two consolation games on Sunday.
One of those teams was Monmouth Light FC, which plays in the Garden State Soccer League and is outfitted by Icarus FC.
“We’re super stoked to be here,” said Joey Dicamillo, who turned his attention to Monmouth Light after tinnitus forced him to retire from music. “Icarus is truly an innovative kit maker that is pushing both the realm of fashion forward in soccer and also changing the landscape of what’s attainable for lower league clubs.”
Planning for the event began in the late fall when it still wasn’t clear what the summer would hold in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was a real gamble,” said CASA Soccer president Nolan Bair. “In November we realized we might not be able to have this in the summer but if we didn’t start planning for it it wouldn’t happen. By February/March we felt pretty confident we were going to be able to have it and here we are.”
Tournament director Charlie Shea, who was part of CASA Soccer’s team of volunteers for the event, said the Icarus FC partnership was a key feature of the event.
“The synergy is definitely really special,” Shea said. “You’re playing under the Casa umbrella and getting to see what Philly soccer is about and Icarus’s brand gave us a lot of credit there so to have something like this where people get a fresh set of jerseys they can bring home with them to remember the tournament by is powerful and good for everyone.”
BrotherlyGame.com was represented in the competition by the Philadelphia Ringers, a team that originated with a series of articles last year imagining if Philadelphia had been given an MLS team in 1996. Several of our writers and a couple friends of the site participated.
“Even though we were out there just for fun, it was awesome getting to know the other Brotherly Game contributors and play a bunch of soccer,” said Justin Fisher. “Bringing to life the Philadelphia Ringers was really cool and as a self-proclaimed jersey fanatic getting a new bespoke soccer jersey was just the cherry on top of an already awesome weekend.”
In addition to the two days of games, there was an opening night party at Yards Brewing Company, a Saturday night event at the Ukie Club and a Euro final watch party at Smokey Joe’s to end the weekend.
“I just wanted to have a weekend for people to have fun and have some cool jerseys,” Smukler said.