MLS-loving Subbuteo fans combine soccer, tabletop gaming –

April 20, 20172:04PM EDT

Jeff Drake lives in St. Louis, but he loves Sporting Kansas City — and boasts one of the more unusual tributes to the team inside his house. 

First, there’s a table that looks like a foosball table with the rods removed, with a green soccer pitch atop it that’s not quite felt, and not quite turf, either. The side railing on the table is branded “Sporting Park” (SKC’s stadium name before it was Children’s Mercy Park), and the whole thing comes complete with signage celebrating the team’s two MLS Cups. There’s even a miniature Cauldron scarf on the rail’s field-facing side, behind one of the corners. 

Then, there are the replicas of players, standing less than an inch high on round, flat platforms that look like curling stones. Drake’s setup features the starting 2012 MLS Cup lineup, including goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen in his distinctive pink ’keeper’s kit. 

Drake’s stadium replica and player pieces featuring SKC’s 2012 squad; Photos courtesy of Jeff Drake

Drake also owns a sharp-looking set featuring the team’s blue-on-blue hoops from 2014, with pieces so detailed that the miniature Graham Zusi has a man-bun and the miniature Dom Dwyer has a faux-hawk.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Drake

He even has a vintage Kansas City Wizards-themed set with a frozen-gloriously-in-time rainbow motif. 

Photo courtesy of Jeff Drake

Drake is not only a soccer fan, you see — he’s also a Subbuteo fan. 

Subbuteo (pronounced sub-BOO-tee-oh) is a soccer-derived tabletop game with a select, but dedicated, core of American fans. According to, the game (now trademarked by game-manufacturing giant Hasbro) was invented in 1947, with the name oddly coming from the creator’s love for falconry. (The scientific name for a

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