Written By Justin on Thursday, December 25, 2008 | 9:38:00 PM
Every goalkeeper has one: that first glove you fell in love with, usually around the time you realized you were serious about goalkeeping. For me, that glove was the Uhlsport 031, a beautiful black and white model with no wrist strap, but a luxurious, thick palm. A simple design with no lettering, just an enormous white Uhlsport logo on the backhand, it served me well through high school. I wore it in my first college game, a 3-2 win over the University of Richmond, a game in which I saved a last-minute penalty. But I never wore it again; that pair, my last, was rapidly wearing out, and my college team provided me with a newer model. Uhlsport had already stopped production of the 031 the previous year.
Call it misty eyed nostalgia, but I want that glove. I've looked all over the web. Sometimes, old Uhlsport models pop up on the German eBay. I've seen the 023, another early classic that I owned, but not the 031. Latex, unfortunately, does not age well, and we're talking about a glove that dates from 1980.
Which led me to this brilliant plan: why not have a tailor simply make me a replica pair? I could use the palm latex from a modern glove. The problem is the backhand: black grooved latex. I can't find anything like it on another glove, and I'm not likely to. Foiled again! But I'm still looking.
In the meantime, I'm turning my attention to the 025 (below), a similar glove from the same era that, fortunately for my purposes, had a more conventional construction, and will be much easier to replicate. I never owned it myself, but it serves the same nostalgic, slightly delusional purpose: it reminds me of the time when goalkeeping was magical, its possibilities endless, and it stretched ahead of me for a lifetime.