Matthew loves football. Can you tell?
Yes, that’s him being held aloft by the rest of the team to celebrate the launch of VFC. Matthew is our captain, our very own Bobby Moore, and so, when we had the chance to put the beautiful VFC logo all over a football club’s shirts, we jumped at it. His little face when we told him. Is it Huddersfield Town? he asked hopefully. Err, no, we said, starting to worry that we had made a terrible error. It’s Kale Madrid, the fully vegan Bristolian five-a-side team. We’re still not sure what his expression meant, but we think he was just happy that it wasn’t Leeds United.
Meet the team
Kale Madrid was founded by Matt Mead who wanted to join a vegan football team and when he couldn’t find one, started his own. He posted his plans on the Bristol Vegans Facebook page and was inundated with responses from local vegans. The team came together soon after. We know what you’re thinking, though. Can any of them actually play?
It turns out, that’s just the kind of question that can cause offence. “We won the first league we were put into,” Matt assures us, “and have since gone up through the leagues. We seem to have found our level now and are challenging good teams every week who have often been playing a lot longer than we have as a team.”
They may not be Huddersfield Town, but it looks like we’ve backed a winner after all.
Who Are These Vegan Heroes?
The team is reasonably fluid but some of the Kale Madrid stalwarts are:
Tom, best known for losing his glasses most games. Despite that, he’s still invited back. Position: forward
Jedd, who gets hurt a lot. It’s unclear whether he is spectacularly brave or just prefers sitting on the bench, snacking. Position: forward
Leon, best known for bringing nuts to each game. Like a squirrel. Endures many jokes about nut bags. Position: defence/midfield
Will, always wears the brightest socks and shorts on the pitch every game. Least likely to get run over on the way home. Position: goalkeeper/defence
Ryan, a safe pair of hands, the ‘Modric of Kale Madrid’. Position: midfield
Mike, who promised to keep fit over Christmas by eating all the Tesco’s vegan snack range. Legend. Position: midfield
David, the team’s midfield organiser, he keeps the team ticking over. Like a human metronome. Position: midfield
Dan, the Bristol Beckenbauer. A stylish player by all accounts. Position: defence
Zak, the big money signing, brought into score goal after goal. Worth his weight in VFC. Position: forward
Callum, the rock at the back, has been known to sport a moustache. Thought to be an homage to David Seaman but could be a Tom Selleck fan. Position: goalkeeper, of course
And then there is Matt, best known for two things: picking a pass, and getting sweaty. Possibly code for: dirty player. Position: midfield/forward
As well as their Thursday night five-a-side team, Kale Madrid fields a Monday night 6-a-side squad, and plan to push up through the divisions until they achieve league domination. Their ultimate goal, however, is to have an 11-a-side team. We wish them well but have to wonder how far they’ll get when slowed down by a truckload of VFC. Club perks.
Follow the team on Instagram >>> @kale.madrid.c.f