Encuentra la historia en Español aquí.
On a nondescript but busy corner of Avenida Olímpica and Alameda Manuel Enrique Araújo in San Salvador, El Salvador, sits a small white and blue building that displays soccer jerseys in its arched windows and the stoic face of arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport on its sidewall, Diego Armando Maradona.
Slightly higher and to the left of Maradona and wearing something more akin to a scowl is the man El Diego once referred to as being even better than him and Pele, Salvadoran great Mágico González.
High praise aside, El Mágico is widely recognized as being El Salvador’s best soccer player of all time; what in that country is called “el referente.”
Inside that building in late 2018, two brothers, Jorge and Roberto Salinas were hard at work on another jersey, this one with the name of El Salvador’s other referente, Mauricio Cienfuegos.
The brothers thought that the 1998 Galaxy home shirt to honor Cienfuegos’ time with Los Angeles being made by their brand Retros Y Rarezas as a favor for a friend was a one-off.
“We weren’t trying to make money [on the jersey], our main focus at the time was making wholesale uniforms or sporting apparel for teams and academies,” Jorge said of the business that he started with his brother in 2012. “We had gotten the request from a few friends for a while and because we liked the idea of paying homage to Cienfuegos and how well-known he became while with the Galaxy, we finally made one for someone.”
That jersey and the buzz it created couldn’t have proved the brothers more wrong about it being a one-time thing.
The more Galaxy fans saw the vintage jerseys, the more they wanted them. Requests for other vintage Galaxy kits for different years and different players started rolling into the small shop and every time a new Retros would drop, Galaxy socials would light up.
It became normal to see a ‘98 Cienfuegos away at Dignity Health Sports Park, along with a 1996 Jones home and ‘96 away kits in various player options.
Neither was it uncommon to see a ‘97 Campos white alternate or a 2002 Pescadito Ruiz until the jerseys seen in the stands were a good mix of official kits by Nike and Adidas and offerings by Retros y Rarezas.
100%! The amount of @retros_rarezas I saw in the stands and across socials!
— Crindy (@El_Crindy) February 24, 2021
When Kobe Bryant died last year, the G’s community trusted Retros Y Rarezas to handle making the custom tribute Purple and Gold Galaxy kits with Bryant on the back.
Retros also became the unofficial shirt maker of many of the teams in Liga G 96, the ten-team Pro Clubs league that many Galaxy fans are a part of.
Beer Belly Boys FC, BORRACHXS, Cosmo SC, Walnut Park SC, C.D. ANGELINOS, and Pineapple Brats SC all wear shirts made by Retros y Rarezas for matches.
“We are so thankful to the Galaxy fans that embraced us, took us into their family, and loved our shirts,” Jorge said of the support. “We always wanted to serve the needs that were not being fulfilled by the bigger brands, because perhaps the demand is not big enough for them.”
It would seem that Galaxy fans embraced the Retros shirts so much that the club and Adidas were compelled to serve the Salinas with a cease and desist order to stop making or selling Galaxy products under their brand.
“We knew that the shirts weren’t strictly speaking legal,” Jorge laughed sheepishly.
Jorge Salinas said he isn’t bothered that the club asked them to stop, stating that the Galaxy was more than agreeable in their dealings with his family.
In fact, Salinas tried to coordinate with the club to produce an officially licensed range of vintage Galaxy kits under the Retros Y Rarezas brand.
Although ultimately unsuccessful in their pursuit to partner with the club, the attention the Retros shirts garnered makes it difficult to not at least give acknowledgment to the fact that had the Salinas brothers not made that first Cienfuegos kit.
The team probably would not have realized there was such a demand for the vintage or throwback Galaxy colors.
— Mike Gray (@MikeGrayAFC) February 24, 2021
You'll hear otherwise but I refuse to believe we EVER see this jersey if it weren't for the work of @retros_rarezas.
They paved the way.
?? Independent?? content ?? creators ?? https://t.co/7kLMjdToEN
— Chris Tucker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (@ZeroCool138) February 25, 2021
As such, it is hard to envision a world in which the Galaxy would have unveiled the beautiful tech green and black #communitykit that became the second most successful kit launch in league history and the envy of every other MLS club without seeing Galaxy fans wearing the Retros Y Rarezas versions proudly in the stands first.
“I am so happy that we have been accepted into this community, even now that we don’t make the shirts, people remember us fondly and it is a pleasure seeing the fans and even some Galaxy II players wearing our shirts,” Salinas said. “The Galaxy made a beautiful jersey this year, the fans have every reason to be happy with it, I can’t wait to get one myself.”
You guys are part of the community now! @retros_rarezas
— Nate Gonzalez (@Nateology101) February 25, 2021
A part of Galaxy history now that the brothers and Galaxy fans alike can have no regrets about, Jorge Salinas described the Retros Galaxy era perfectly.
“It was fun while it lasted.”
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