Surprise Shirts - Shirt of the Week - San Pedro Pirates 2022 Home
You won’t Belize your eyes! That’s right, pack your suncream and snorkelling gear, this week we’re heading to the Caribbean paradise of Belize. This central American country might be known more for its coral reefs than its football, but this 2022 home shirt made for the San Pedro Pirates is certainly going to make some waves.
And with two shocking puns out of the way already, let’s get into it.
San Pedro Town sits on the southern edge of the Ambergris Caye, the largest island of Belize. And the town’s local team has definitely taken inspiration from their seafront surroundings with this kit.
Manufactured by Mexican sportswear company Vindex, the “tsunami blue” base is complimented by lighter tones on the sleeves and V-neck collar, this same shade is also used to create the brilliant pirate ship silhouette that runs across the lefthand side of the shirt.
The main shirt sponsor plays right into the nautical theme, too. Tourism is massively important for the local economy and scuba diving is at the forefront of that. So it's no surprise that the Belize Pro Diving Center is featured on the front of the shirt. The fact that their logo incorporates a map of Belize just makes it all the more perfect.
But for all the brilliant quirks of this shirt, the club badge is our favourite feature. Featuring twice here, once in the traditional location on the chest and again in a larger iteration on the righthand side of the shirt, it is truly unique. The modernised jolly roger esque mascot perched atop the blue, black, and grey shield gives this badge a distinctly Americanised look to it that we absolutely love.
The only professional club on the Ambergris Caye, the Pirates have represented their town on the national stage since the 2017-18 season after the disbandment of the San Pedro Sea Dogs.
And disbandment is not uncommon in Belize, over the years football here has been turbulent, to say the least. In fact, in June 2011 the Belizean government declared that both the country’s national team and its football federation would be no longer recognized by those in power, causing FIFA to temporarily suspend football in the country citing “severe government interference”.
The only team in this now rejuvenated league not to hail from the mainland, San Pedro are the outsiders in Belize’s top division, but that hasn’t stopped them from achieving success.
In the 2018-19 season, they won the closing stage of the league, sitting in first and advancing into the playoffs. The 4 team competition kicked off in late April and San Pedro wasted no time in sending a message to the other competitors. They hammered the quite ironically named Belize Defence Force 7-1 over two legs, with diminutive Argentine striker Facundo Garnier hitting four in the second leg.
In a two-legged final against Belmopan Bandits, they started poorly, a 1-0 defeat away from home meant it would be an uphill battle if they were to lift the trophy. But if they were going to do it anywhere, they could do it at the Ambergris Stadium with the local crowd behind them. 0-0 at the break, it looked like time might be running out, before that man again, Facundo Garnier pulled it level in the 67th minute. All square with momentum on their side, just 9 minutes later, Brazilian defender Mailson Moura fired home giving them that vital second goal and with it, the title.
They made their town proud in 2019, can they do it again this year?
A season in the Belize Premier League is separated into two, mini-seasons, the opening, and closing sections. It’s the opening section reaching its climax right now, with just a handful of games left, everything is left to play for at the top of the league.
A shaky start meant that it didn’t look like San Pedro would be troubling the title contenders this year as consistency was hard to come by. But a cagey 1-0 victory in match day 4 was the catalyst for a brilliant turnaround. Winning games but perhaps just as importantly turning losses into draws, San Pedro remained unbeaten for their next six matches.
And with a playoff place all but secured, attentions began to turn toward clinching top spot. Sitting in third meant they would have to outdo the teams around them though. So on the 16th of October, when Hankook Verdes came to town, only one result was good enough. Life on the island stood still as football took precedence, an electric atmosphere that extended onto the pitch gave cause for a lively encounter in which San Pedro secured the win in an exhilarating 3-2 victory.
That win, which extended their unbeaten run to seven, was enough to leapfrog Verdes. As the most in-form team in Belize right now, San Pedro has league leaders Altitude FC firmly in their sights and they’ll be ready to pounce if Altitude slips up. So keep an eye out as the drama unfolds in the Caribbean throughout October. Order a box now and you might have a San Pedro Pirates shirt in time for the last game of the season…
Written by @ZacWelshman1