There was no case of the Mondays this week for Jordan Schweitzer.
The central midfielder was one of six Switchbacks loaned to Colorado Rapids for Monday’s friendly match against storied English Premier League side Arsenal. On top of that, he launched a company with teammate Shane Malcolm, who attended the gamebut was not part of the group due to age rules.
Boot Bags, launched Monday, is what it sounds like, a bag for one’s boots (or cleats). Though the idea was Malcolm’s, Schweitzer’s musty, old bag from his playing days at University of Denver provided some of the inspiration, as did a trip to Japan.
Traveling with Guam’s national team, Malcolm noticed Japanese children using a variety of bags for their shoes, some of which were homemade.
“It was a bit different than the ones we had here,” Malcolm said after training Thursday as the team prepares for Saturday’s home match against Oklahoma City.
“The material was different. It wasn’t nylon, and it wasn’t the drawstring backpacks.”
The lightweight drawstring packs have long come with a new pair of cleats, but Malcolm grew to hate them.
“It’s something that wasn’t improved on, like ever,” he said.
Malcolm started to draw up prototypes during the offseason, and when one passed muster with his grandmother, a retired seamstress, he sought a manufacturer.
Schweitzer joined around January.
“It was something that right away I was pretty excited about and I thought there was a lot of potential with it,” Schweitzer said. “Lucky for me, he was excited to have me on board, and we’ve kind of just created as we went.”
The roles are pretty easily defined. Malcolm uses his creativity, appreciation for fashion and social-media savvy to do a lot of the design and marketing.
Schweitzer, who doesn’t use social media, is happy to handle the logistics and foster relationships with potential partners.
“I can make a mean Google Doc,” Schweitzer said. “I think between the two of us, it’s a good fit.”
The bags, which are washable to prevent that lasting odor, sell for $20 and come in seven different colorways. But the Switchbacks duo isn’t in it solely as a way to supplement income.
For every five bags sold, the company plans to donate a pair of new or lightly used boots to a child in need.
“That’s a big piece of it,” Schweitzer said. “For anything that we wanted to be a part of, we wanted to make sure there was something a little bit more meaningful. For us, the game has given us so much. We wanted to make sure we gave back as well.”
While Switchbacks interim coach Wolde Harris admitted Monday’s friendly hindered his training schedule a bit, he’s all for two key players giving back to the game.
“It’s always good to give back because there’s always that kid or that player that’s not as privileged as you are,” Harris said.
“Any way you can help somebody else experience the beautiful game is great to give back.”
Malcolm has plans to do even more. An offseason trip to Jamaica where he helped put on a free daycamp inspired him to aim at a more lasting gift to his homeland, possibly a renovated field down the line. Shoes, he figures, is a good start.
“We left feeling so spiritually fulfilled, but still we knew that a lot of the problems in that area were still going to exist after we left,” Malcolm said.
“Next year, we want to give back boots in our Boot Bags.”
When Schweitzer walked into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Monday, his Boot Bags were in hand, bringing together the two pieces of a day he won’t soon forget.
“That’s why you play the game, right? You want to try and be the best you can and play at the highest level you can for as long as you can,” Schweitzer said. “To get that opportunity is something I’ll remember.”