Interview with Daniel D'Angelo from MIDFLD

The Terrace Club and MIDFLD recently go together and dropped an updated take on the 1991-92 AC Milan inspired jersey. To get a better sense of what this was all about, we sat down with Daniel D'Angelo, the man behind the MIDFLD brand as well as Village Soccer Shop in Tarrytown, NY.

Tell us about MIDFLD, when you started it and what the inspiration is for it.

I came up with MIDFLD in 2014, but it took a little while to get things going so it soft launched in the beginning of 2016. I was looking to create a brand that combined some of my inspirations and influences from the game, fashion, culture, and philosophy. The name MIDFLD came from the area of the pitch and it's importance in the game, the idea of the center, and the layers of meaning from that both physically and mentally.

You're based in New York, how much of the NYC soccer culture influences what you do with MIDFLD?

The soccer culture in New York is probably one of the hottest in the world right now. There are some truly talented people doing a lot of amazing things. New York is New York and it is hard not to get inspiration from it. It is a fashion hotbed where you can get influences just walking down any street.

In addition to MIDFLD, you also own Village Soccer Shop. Can you tell us a bit about VSS?

Sure. The Village Soccer Shop opened in 2009. I started it out of a lifelong passion for the game, but also with the vision of blending a a soccer shop with a lifestyle shop, and creating something that I hadn't seen done at the time. Besides soccer gear I bring in products and brands that I think are cool, and that fit in with the vibe of the shop. An eclectic mix but I think it comes together nicely.

What is it like running a store and a separate brand?

It's all about balance, that's the only way to stay focused. Sometimes you feel like there aren't enough hours in the day, but I think life is like that now and a lot of people feel this way. Everything moves so fast, especially in retail. In the end though I am blessed to be able to go to work everyday doing something that I love, and running a brand where I can express myself and create.

We've been talking about working on a project for awhile, what do you think it was about the 91-92 AC Milan team and this jersey that felt right to do now?

This is true. We go way back to 2010 when I started to carry Bumpy Pitch at the shop. Truth is everything works out the way it's supposed to, and I am happy that we waited and got something going that we both have connection to and are excited about. 

When we started throwing ideas out, and you came back with this idea, I was immediately psyched because like you, the memory of this AC Milan era, and players on this team had such an impact on my youth. What also excited me about this project and this team was the connection of the "Dutch Trio" and the influence of "Total Football" that they brought to this team, and how this ties in with some of the inspiration behind MIDFLD. With Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, and Ruud Gullit, they had three of the best players in the world at that time, and it translated on the pitch. In particular Ruud Gullit, who for me was the first image that came in my head when thinking about this AC Milan team. He embodies "Total Football" and was able to play every major field position on the pitch. He played with such power, elegance, skill, and balance. Besides his talent, he was just cool. 

We were also talking about how there is a real nostalgia for the 90's right now, and in our world that is 90's kits. I can't think of a better team to honor than 90's AC Milan and it's iconic red and black vertical stripes.

Much of the messaging and even some MIDFLD designs revolve around the phrase "find the space." Can you talk a bit more about that?

Yes, it's a big part of the messaging of the brand. On the field it relates to the term we have all heard many times as players and fans. Creating space, finding pockets of space, "Total Football" where the use of space, interchanging positions, and freedom of movement is key. As a player I was always awed by great players, in the midfield in particular, who no matter how tight they were marked they would always find themselves free with space to play, it's such an art.

In terms of the mental aspect, it derives from finding that clarity of the mind and finding your center, the Buddhist teaching of The Middle Way.

I have always had certain spiritual philosophies in my life, I don't alway live by them, that's another story, but they have always been with me to try and remember. This is something that I wanted to try and translate into the brand.

Village Soccer Shop is more than just a soccer shop but embraces the culture at large. MIDFLD continues that as a soccer brand with broader cultural influences. Can you talk about what you are seeing right now in terms of the blending of soccer and culture?

I've said it before but it is pretty amazing to see the progression of the culture of the game on and off the pitch within the last eight years. As you are well aware of being one of the first soccer specific brands and blogs in the states, with Bumpy Pitch and The Original Winger. The fashion and style of the culture now has grown so much, and hopefully will continue to grow.  

The Terrace Club x MIDFLD jersey is available here and here