At Ruffneck making totally awesome scarves is only a small portion of what we do. Our real trade is exporting passion, and the avenue we have chosen to do so is through scarves. Whether it’s a US national team scarf, a custom “Spartan Spirit” high school pride scarf, or a scarf developed for a corporate event like the Halo 3 Launch, each and every scarf we make connects individuals to a community of passion, pride, and common place.
Over the years we have had the privilege of helping some amazing groups and individuals design and distribute their passion through custom scarves. To share their stories we’ve decided to do a monthly “Rockin’ Ruffneck” article that profiles a featured partner and their experiences with Ruffneck Scarves.
When we decided to run customer features there was never any question of who would be our first victum, one of the few individuals we know whose passion for scarves rivals our own, Coach Steve (Svetozar) Brdarski. Scarves aside, Coach Brdarski’s personal story is reason enough to write a feature. As a student at Pfeiffer University, between studying and his own collegiate soccer career, Brdarski somehow found time to act as assistant coach for the Lady Falcon’s at Pfeiffer. It didn’t take long for Coach Brdarski to realize this was his calling, and though according to him “many people though it was strange and I was crazy,” he forfeited playing his senior year to focus on coaching. Shortly after graduation at the fresh age of twenty-one Brdarski was appointed head coach of the men’s team, making him unofficially the youngest university head coach in the nation. It all sounds like a heartfelt sports movie in the making (note to self: secure movie rights…), but where do scarves fit into all of this?
It all started with a grand idea while working as assistant women’s coach at Longwood University seven years ago. Average match attendance at this time was around 200, but Coach had bigger dreams. Inspired by the growing popularity and fanatical supporters groups in the MLS, in particular the ECS Sounders supporters who rally and “March to the Match”, he conjured up a grandiose plan. The Lancers were gonna march!
“I can’t tell you how excited I was, but I had to get others on board. I pitched the idea to my partner in crime, Stacy Wilkerson with this whole march thing and she actually bought it.” Brdarski’s plans were underway but “what’s a march without scarves... they were the missing piece.” Pooling as many resources together as they could, the team scrapped together enough money to buy 1,000 scarves from a third party seller working with a company in China. When the scarves arrived to Coach Brdarski’s dismay the length, color, and design of the scarves were completely inconsistent. Half the scarves were navy, the others were light blue and noticeably shorter, but with limited time before the event they were gonna have to do.
Over 1,000 eager fans showed up to “The greatest athletics march ever” and the biggest match turnout in the soccer program’s history. “Everything was perfect except for the scarves.” The method for “fueling passion behind [the] event” was scarves, and that was the missing part.
At a coaching convention four months after the big march Coach Brdarski met co-founders of Ruffneck Scarves Jeff McIntyre and Erin O’Brien and became “best friends” instantly. The threesome spent the whole day talking about scarves and beginning preparation for the next march. 1,500 Longwood University scarves were ordered and delivered by Ruffneck, and they still ran out. Over 1,500 people had showed up for a women’s college soccer rally and match. Not just showed up but turned out and turned up with enthusiasm and pride for their team and school.
The scarf had turned into an epidemic! All over campus students and faculty could be seen rockin’ their Ruffneck scarves. Passion and pride bubbled over and students were already asking about the next years design. The Longwood Scarf took on a persona of its own as a symbol of school spirit and community, and believe it or not even has its own Facebook page.
That event sealed the deal Coach Brdarski is a Ruffneck elitist. As a self proclaimed scarf snob, Brdarski said “If it doesn’t say Ruffneck it’s not a scarf, it’s just a piece of cloth. Jeff and Erin are probably the nicest guys you’ve ever met… I love all the things that they do and will support them in any way I can. When someone will actually take the time to really talk with you, thats when you know they are something different… better.”The Longwood March to the match has seen continued success after its second year, and though Coach Brdarski has taken a new position at Saint Bonadventure University, during his time as a Lancer he was able to spread his passion taking one step closer to his goal of “a nation full of people who wear scarves.”
While the kids may still have their hearts set on their mid-summer bliss, any adults preparing for the new school year understand this is a very crucial period of planning for the year ahead. In fact, many of the choices that a soccer coach or team administrator makes now could have a major impact on the success of that very team. Organization of team tryouts and fall practice schedules, determining which soccer tournaments to attend, and even day-to-day choices about team travel and apparel must be made during this time. This is why the present moment also happens to be the perfect time to prepare your team’s custom scarves for the season ahead.
Soccer scarves are an integral part of the success for any soccer team, ranging from fledgling youth clubs all the way up to major professional and international teams. They all have scarves. They all understand the variety of purposes the scarves serve. Soccer scarves invigorate the fan base (and players), they get people out in the seats, they spread the word about your team, and they work as a tremendous fundraising opportunity. The lightweight items are very reasonably priced and often utilize all the key aspects that a club or school team would wish to promote. The team colors, design style, phrases, crests, or team logos all combine to harness the true ethos of the very club. With one snuggly item that is built to last for years of waving and wrapping around one’s self, the soccer scarf could truly be the most marvelous creation associated with any major sport.
Summertime is an excellent opportunity to order a new batch of scarves for your team. Every order takes some time to process. You need to figure out all the particular design aspects you want covered and think about the right number of scarves to order for your specific team’s needs. Fortunately, the staff at Ruffneck Scarves is well prepared to handle all of your questions, regardless of how big or small your program may be. But no matter how you cut it, you’ll want the scarves to be ready for the fall season pep rally and especially for the team’s first game. By taking advantage of this break before you have to get entirely involved with the players and the onslaught of team duties that accumulate alongside, preparing your soccer scarf fundraiser will be a piece of cake, and you’ll be well prepared to tackle the season and its challenges ahead.
A great result comes with practice, preparation, and execution. Those who succeed most in life have a plan and they act in a direct, concise manner. While the summer often means exotic vacations and lazy afternoons for most, those looking to lead their clubs to success and glory in the months ahead are already working hard, prepping for what lies ahead. Getting your soccer scarf campaign moving ahead right now is the perfect time to do so, and you’ll certainly reap the rewards in the coming weeks as your players and fans salivate over the delightful set of soccer scarves that arrived just in time for their big first game!
Many youth sports teams in America face an uphill battle. Costs for things like jerseys, transportation, tournament fees, and coach’s wages can make running a sports team a pricey endeavor, and many teams often simply cannot foot the bill. Unfortunately, those costs are often placed upon the players’ families and many simply quit the game. However, fundraisers can be a major savior for many such teams, and one item in particular has become very successful in helping teams organize successful fundraisers: custom sports scarves!
Many fans feel that team scarves are simply reserved for famous teams like Liverpool and Real Madrid, or World Cup nations like Germany, but they are indeed mistaken. Sports scarves have taken over the game at every level and can be found out in full force at high school matches and even along the sidelines of youth games!
The reason is that the scarves are wonderful items for teams and fans. They come relatively inexpensive, they are lightweight, easy to fold into small bags and purses, can be cleaned, and the list goes on and on. Their colors blend into those of the players on the field and help to create a wholesome, team focused energy at games.
But perhaps even more importantly, scarves help inspire the fans and players alike. When a young player looks up to the sidelines for support, he will see his team colors waving around proudly, or perhaps his dad stretching a scarf out proudly, revealing a team chant or logo on the fabric. These kinds of things will elevate the level of a player’s play and promote passion and hard work.
For fans and parents, the scarves can help get the crowd more positively involved in a game. If you’ve ever seen an English Premier League match or a Seattle Sounders MLS home game, you will have seen the faithful devotion by fans to their teams. Scarves are waved about, songs are sung, chants assembled, and blissful scenes of soccer merriment take place. Having custom scarves created for your team will elevate the atmosphere around your games. Beyond any financial support generated, you’ll also watch your team have more fun and excitement on game days as a result.
Sports scarves can help your club for years. Made from the finest materials, they can last for decades and will be seen around town again and again. This is the kind of thing that will enhance your overall presence around town and could well help urge the top players in your area to sign up for your team. Scarves are a normal fashion accessory that are worn everywhere on cold days. Therefore, you’ll see the presence of scarves far beyond the confines of the field. This could help start a powerful winning tradition for your club!
And so when it comes to fundraising, there really is no substitute for the soccer scarf (Why else would all the professional teams have them?). The item is affordable, inspiring, colorful, and soft. Check with Ruffneck Scarves today to begin the process of ordering team scarves for your club.