When the Quakes arrived at StubHub Center this weekend for the second California Clasico of the year on Sunday, pregame preparation was business as usual. Andy Dunbar (Equipment Manager) and Eric Weber (Assistant Equipment Manager) had a surprise for the Quakes captain, however. Though he knew things were in the works and had been involved in the design process, Wondo had yet to see the personalized captain's armband designed by Weber and facilitated by Dunbar.
Well-documented in MLSSoccer.com's Bau Daigh Warrior series, Wondo's connection to his Native American Kiowa Tribe roots remain important to the Quakes' all-time leading goal-scorer. We sat down with Weber, who designed the armband to get his take on his inspiration, research & execution of such a special piece of Wondo's matchday uniform.
SJEarthquakes.com: How did the idea come about?
Eric Weber: We had been throwing around the idea of doing something with the armbands for a while. We talked to Wondo about doing something with his tribe. One day before training we called him in here to see what he thought about it and he thought it sounded like a good idea. The next couple days I did some research and looked into his tribe. I found a whole bunch of resources with old art. It was really cool.”
SJEQ: What was the design process like for you?
EW: “I came up with a total of 8 main sketches and then we asked them what he thought. He picked the logo from one of them that had the feathers hanging off the bottom, then there was one with seismic-looking circles and he liked that too. We asked him if he wanted to add a name to it and he asked to add ‘Bou Daigh’. I usually just do a bunch of little thumbnail sketches on paper first and I’ll narrow it down. There are some that don’t make the cut. After that, I’ll put some into the computer which is pretty simple & decide on a final design.”
SJEQ: This seems like a project that requires quite a bit of research. What did you find?
EW: “I was mostly just looking to see if there were any specific symbols or motifs or design elements that were from his tribe specifically. There were a couple good ones, but we just wanted to keep it simple. It was just a gym day here [when I did the sketches] so I had 5 or 6 hours in the morning. I used that time to read all morning. It was really interesting.”
SJEQ: What were some designs that didn’t quite make the cut?
EW: They were all based around the logo. There was one that I liked that had feathers coming out of the back of it almost like sunrays. There was another that had eleven horseback warriors but it was too complicated. The armband only has 2” x 5” of space and you have to be able to see it.”
SJEQ: What do you think of the final product?
EW: “It was weird because I had done stuff for the team before, but seeing him walk out with it on TV I thought ‘Wow, I remember drawing that.’ It was a weird feeling even though it was just a little flash when he ran up on screen. A lot of guys have their shin guards customized, but I don’t make those and you can’t see them. I didn’t think it would turn out as nice as it did. I was pumped when I saw him run out with it. I knew Andy was going to give it to him while they were there.”