Despite scoring approximately three billion goals by smashing his skull into a inflated cow's hide, Tim Cahill's frontal lobe is in primo condition. He's been using it a lot lately to plan out the next phase of his blessed existence. Make no mistake, Timmy is still enjoying kicking his way into the nightmares of soccer players from obscure Asian nation states that the Socceroos have taught us do actually exist, but he's also been grinding hard on an exciting side hustle. Cahill+ is his new casual sportswear label, and he's launching it in his Strayan flesh this weekend in Melbourne and Sydney. It was a rare privilege to talk to this humble man who has done far more good for his country than my grandfather, who lost his thumb in 'Nam, about his new brand and the stuff that really matters in life.
It was a little while ago, but congratulations on beating Drake at FIFA.
[Laughs] That’s not even a competition, mate.
Has he called for a rematch online?
Nah, nah I won’t give him one. He’s not good enough.
You definitely left him crying in the shower. You've been dipping your golden boots in fashion for a while, how did you first become seriously interested in it?
I think I’ve always been a lover of fashion. I was with Armani [as an ambassador] for eight years. I had a great relationship with Mr Giorgio Armani and went to fashion shows and was a big fan of his label. My interest became bigger when I had the opportunity to work with some partners to create Cahill+, which is something that has evolved out of the last year-and-a-half. It really stirred up my passion for this industry.
What’s your actual day to day involvement with dis new ting?
I'm involved in pretty much everything. From working on the styles, to deciding what shops we’re stocking in and who we’re partnering with, and every detail in how we take it global. It’s been a big business project, but also something I’m passionate about. I want to be involved as anyone in the company. We've taken a lot of time with it to make sure we get it right.
So, this is your brand, not just a bunch of suits sucking off your sweet, sweet name?
Definitely, it's mine. It’s not just me in a photo shoot, it’s a project for the long run. I’m really invested in this.
Sports players' lives change radically the second they retire. Many don't handle the transition well. Some turn to the tinnies or the sizzurp, get a white line fever of a different kind, or lose all their friends because those friends were fake ass ones who were just down for the lobster dinners. Is Cahill+ a way to exchange the everyday ecstasy and despair of playing football with the homologous emotions of running a creative business?
Yeah. I think I’ve always been very creative. Living in Sydney, London, Manchester, Liverpool, New York and now Shanghai, I've rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest fashion designers in the world. For me, it’s a natural fit to do this, not only am I very serious about it but I'm very involved. Whether I'm playing, not playing, retired, whatever – I still take it very seriously. It actually gives me an outlet from sport when I’m not playing, to focus on something else. I’m very happy to do it. There’s a lot that goes into it, and I’ve got an amazing team around me with massive attention to detail, so it's going well.
Do you look at Kanye West, and learn from the steps and missteps he has taken in trying to navigate the transition from the medium he made his name in to another type of art where he wants respect?
For me right now, Kanye is on a whole different level. He’s someone who is really established as an artist and a designer – he’s done a ton of collaborations that are pretty special. I’m still at the early stages, and I’m really trying to find my place in the market first in Australia, before taking it overseas. Taking it to China later in the year is really exciting. It’s about getting the right contacts to get out there. My label is smart casual, sports fashion, everyday wear and is placed in the middle market. The price point is really good but the quality is still great.
Have you set particular objectives for Cahill+ or are you feeling your way around first?
For me it’s not about smashing the market as soon as possible. It’s about taking our time. We’re all still young as a group. The main focus for us is the product, to create good stuff that people want to buy. We’re here for a long time, not a short time.
Squaaaad. That's the opposite to Drizzy. Taking it back to the pro sports side of your life. When you were a kid, were you confident that you could one day stack mad paper from smacking a ball with your dome?
Oh yeah, definitely, 100 per cent. At a very young age, football was my life. I knew I was going to be a professional footballer.
What was your craziest ambition for it?
My goal was to play as high as I could in Australia. I just wanted to reach English football. Whether I played in the lower leagues, it didn’t matter. That was my goal, to play in England.
So when you signed that first contract with Millwall, did you sit back on your futon and think, 'Oh man, we really out here, huh. I've made it.'? Or did your mind go straight to the first game or trying to get a bigger contract? One can break their neck if they look back while running on the hedonic treadmill, and it's even tougher to jump off it completely in this life of conspicuous consumption, if you feel me.
I’m quite easy going, man. You’ve got to be playing well to get those big contracts. I’ve always been someone who strives to do well on and off the park, and I’ve trusted that if you do well, you get the rewards.
Preach! You seem like a pretty chill dude. Do all those platitudes about the need for sportsmen to harness personal vendettas as inspiration to become combative beasts who feast only on victory not apply to you?
For me it’s not a competition. I don’t compete against anyone. I don’t compete against myself. I just basically play the game that I love and do well for the group of players that I play with, and nine times out of ten it works. In sport, there’s too much onus to do well as an individual, which can sometimes become a negative. If you do well as a group, you’ll get your rewards and everything that comes with it. Yeah, I’m very chilled. I enjoy what I do. At the end of it, I’ve had a successful career and am still having a successful career because of my professionalism and consistency.
Shaka shaka, bro. Sport has become so important in society, what was once considered a frivolous distraction has been assigned an almost divine purpose in many countries. Ultimately, though, you're very talented at kicking and heading a ball around a patch of grass. How do you personally get meaning out of your work?
Ah, that’s simple – it's in sharing it with my family. I’ve played in three World Cups, three Asian Cups, played in the Premier League, played in four continents of the world. Everywhere I’ve gone, every competition I’ve played in, I’ve shared it with my family. It’s very simple, when it comes to things like that. If you’ve got no one to share it with then it’s a waste of time.
What's the toughest part of being a professional footballer?
Being away from the family. With internationals and club competitions, you can spend one to two weeks away from your loved ones at a time. Having said that, you sacrifice these things so you can do the best you can at the sport. It comes with it. I can’t complain about it too much, it’s part of what we do.
A few Socceroos have finished their careers in the A-League, it hasn't always gone to plan. I can't think of a sports player more universally admired in this country than you, so much so that it would probably be more of a personal brand risk for you to return. Expectations might be unreasonable and it would also turn you into the enemy by default of the fans of other clubs. Is this something you've considered when weighing up whether to come back here?
To be honest, it’s not something that has ever been realistic, to come back and play in the A-League. There’s nothing on the radar. It’s a great league but I’m happy playing in China. I’m not sure if I’ll come back, we’ll see what happens.
You're welcome any time, my G. Did the second greatest socceroo of all time, Archie Thompson, give you the boxing kangaroo celebration? Did you request it as a lease arrangement or was it Archie's suggestion that you take it worldwide?
I think I told him I was going to take it to the world. I think I’ve just choreographed the celebration better, taken it to a different level. He’s got his kung-fu karate kicks, he’s got his guitar celebration – Archie’s a great laugh. I think I’m just better at the celebration than him, though. Archie is a fantastic friend, someone that is very close, I love him to bits. He’s done so well for the A-League, he’s definitely one of the best players in the A-League by far.
It's true, there are only two gods whose existence has been proven, the Based God and Archie Thompson. Oh shit, we're a magazine about sneakers. What's your favourite sneaker?
Ooh, I've got it just here, let me go get it. [Goes and gets sneaker] My favourite sneaker is a New Balance limited edition Made In USA 997. It's orange with a white sole. I take them with me when I’m on tour.
Very nice! Sounds like the Concepts 'Luxury Goods' colab. I've had some Jollof rice sitting in the microwave for ages and the microwave keeps beeping, it's really annoying me. I gotta bounce and munch that lunch, brud. Thanks for the chats. Good luck with Cahill+, you're gonna kill it!
Take care, mate.
Tim Cahill will meet with fans at Super Glue store in Melbourne (Emporium) this Saturday, October 10 and at Glue Store Chippendale (Central Park) on Sunday between 3pm and 4pm. Head along and see the champ! Cahill+ is currently stocked exclusively at Glue Store nationally.
Interview by Bones Lawley