Most Popular World Cup Jersey in the Mission?

Inside Flag Mama and Futbol Papa on 24th St., by Keli Dailey

Inside Flag Mama and Futbol Papa on 24th St., by Keli Dailey

How will the USA’s World Cup loss affect Mission business?

It could alter the top-selling FIFA inventory at Flag Mama and Futbol Papa on 24th Street, say the owners.

The most popular soccer jerseys sold to date have been:

1. USA

2. Brazil

3. Argentina

Michelle de Barrionuevo—the “Flag Mama” behind this small, exploded closet of soccer apparel, flags and national jerseys ranging from $20 replicas to official $90 Adidas-wear—says she’s getting jersey-related interest for the teams still in the World Cup hunt.

“We’re getting calls for Costa Rica and Colombia jerseys.”

Her husband, Javier, is happy to discuss the chances for the eight remaining nations, their names still handwritten on his World Cup bracket poster. And the couple is reveling in their deep ties to Argentina—still a contender.

Michelle de Barrionuevo, co-owner of Flag Mama and Futbol Papa.

Michelle de Barrionuevo, co-owner of Flag Mama and Futbol Papa.

Flag Mama/Futbol Papa was originally called La Argentina (aka The Argentina Gift Shop), when it opened in 1972. It’s where Michelle’s mother, Marcela Di Pilla, sold imported leather and silver from her native country, Argentina.

In 1978 Argentina won the World Cup. And by 1986—the World Cup won by Argentina and player Diego Maradona and “The Hand of God“—this little Mission shop was decked out with the Argentine team’s mascot Pique, a jalapeño pepper.

By the 1994 World Cup, held in the USA, the 24th Street store turned wall-to-wall fútbol.

Maybe the recent USA loss to Belgium was well-timed, though. Flag Mama/Futbol Papa has only one replica U.S. men’s jersey in stock. They’re sold out of team USA for women.

Flag Mama/Futbol Papa, 3250 24th St., futbolpapa.com. 415-824-3488.

Argentina—La Albiceleste, “The White and Sky-Blue”—take on Belgium on Saturday morning. Here’s where to watch the rest of the matches in the Mission.

Read a history of Marcela Di Pilla and her husband’s jitney business in Mission Local. 

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