Many have dubbed soccer ‘The Beautiful Game’ because of masterful crosses, awe-inspiring bicycle kicks, and incredible saves. But Domenico Vitale has sought to redefine this term with his refined fashion sense in order to keep himself and his teammates in style before and after they leave the pitch.

Vitale’s passion for clothing was generations in the making. His grandfather and John Scuderi, both tailors, immigrated from Italy to open their own tailoring business. In keeping with their jobs, they always strived to make a good first impression through their wardrobes.

“They would always be dressed up whether it was the workday or the weekend in a nice sport coat or dress slacks. They were always looking sharp and every time you looked at them, you kind of admired them and said, ‘That looks like a professional guy.’”

Sadly, Vitale’s grandfather passed away when he was a young boy, leaving the task of running the shop and training a young Domenico to Scuderi.

“John Scuderi was the main person who taught me the craft. He acted as my grandfather would have and taught me the sewing process, the technique, and the ins and outs of tailoring as well as the business side of things and that allowed me to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps.”

Now running a tailoring business and playing soccer professionally, Vitale has seen a great deal of crossover between his two passions and has had a first-hand view of how important it is for an athlete to remain stylish.

“A lot of athletes make statements through fashion and a lot of kids see this and want to grow up and make similar statements. This leads to a culture where you wear nice clothes when you’re successful. It goes hand in hand with people finding success in sports. You don’t just want to be a basic person. You want to look the part as well.”

Domenico finds an increased importance for fashion within the sport of soccer, noting its role amongst European clubs.

“There are a lot of Italian teams who have to dress in suits with the team crest on the jacket breast when they’re travelling for Champions League games or an away game. So, I would say that fashion plays a big role in the game of soccer.”

In Utica City FC’s inaugural season, Vitale has played the important role of keeping the team dressed as well as their European counterparts to ensure success both on and off the field. While naming players like Slavisa Ubiparipovic, Bo Jelovac, Liam Callahan, and Andrew Coughlin as people who can dress sharply, Vitale is always there for those who need a style upgrade or a quick fix to a garment.

“A lot of the guys have bought suits from me or have come in for repairs. Mohamed Kenawy just came in with a bunch of jeans, so I tailored them for him. I just try to keep the team looking modern and keep them happy too.”

As Utica City’s playoff push continues, Vitale is sure to be busy behind the scenes making sure that players look as good as they play, maintaining the reputation that soccer players have “the best style in sports, hands down.”

Domenico and the rest of UCFC will be back in action on Sunday, March 17th at 2:00pm in fresh St. Patrick’s Day uniforms that require no tailoring as they take on the Mississauga MetroStars. Tickets are still available at www.empirestatetix.com