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Kellyn Acosta: Building His Brand Off the Pitch Through Fashion

Last Updated: December 17, 2022
The fashion-forward USMNT and Los Angeles FC star sat down with Boardroom to reflect on a huge year that brought him his first MLS Cup and a trip to the World Cup stage.

“This is my childhood dream, and I’m living it.”

Just days off of the plane from his first-ever World Cup appearance, Kellyn Acosta realizes what a monumental year he has had. The 27-year-old midfielder debuted on men’s soccer’s biggest stage just weeks after securing his first MLS Cup to finish off his first season with LAFC.

Looking back on his first trip to Qatar, he said, “It was truly a special moment … And to also have my family there with me was truly special as well. Seeing them in the stands, making my debut in a World Cup, and representing my country on the biggest stage was just a proud moment for me.”

As he sat in the Boardroom offices, decked in one of his signature drips, his excitement for everything he’s accomplished — and everything else he sees in his future — was palpable.

“You go through a lot of challenges, but you can never count yourself out,” Acosta said. “I mean, I had an absence from the national team for two years, which was difficult in itself. … I felt like I would never get back into the team and I made my way back onto the team and then was able to play in a World Cup. For me … anything that you put your mind to, you can achieve whatever you want.”

For now, he’s looking forward as he seeks to cap an epic 2022. Acosta spoke with Boardroom about his come-up through Major League Soccer, his advice for the next generation of players, and how he hopes to expand his love for fashion into a new business venture.

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Acosta’s Journey to MLS

Acosta entered the league at the age of 16 with the FC Dallas Academy. As a homegrown player himself, he sees the potential in the domestic talent as being a critical driver to the future of the MLS.

Ten years into the game, he’s witnessed the evolution of the league and an increase in opportunity for kids who remind him of his younger self.

“We’ve seen other teams really grow and [invest] into their academy systems and we’ve seen the product on the field,” said Acosta. “Look at the Philadelphia Union, they have several homegrown players that are actually contributing to the first team. Dallas really prides itself on the homegrown system. … I think it’s really great to invest in the youth. When you do that, obviously you’re gonna help grow the league and it’s going to be an avenue that more and more players are wanting to get into.”

When he thinks of his younger self, he has no regrets. However, he has advice for the next generation of talent.

“One is to enjoy the moment, be present,” Acosta said. “I think when I was younger I was so focused on what was next rather than what was the now. … Two is the work ethic; just put your head down, and keep working. Three is when you start getting that press and that kind of stuff, don’t let it get to your head. Don’t be content with where you’re at and just continually just [strive] to get better each and every day.”

But, more importantly, he advises the younger players to be mindful of the business that surrounds the game.

“Your brand and your likeness is huge, and [you can’t] take that lightly,” he said. “You wanna buy all the nice things, like a watch and a car, but it’s about making better investments for yourself and to ensure that your money makes money.”

While there are some things that he may have changed about his own path, especially as it relates to his investments, Acosta doesn’t have many regrets. Looking back, he embraces “the highs and the lows” of his career.

“I loved every second of it and it’s kind of just formed me into the person I am today,” he said.

Acosta’s Journey to Fashion

Now, he’s a starting midfielder on an MLS championship team. After spending his career to date in smaller markets, LA not only brought him his first MLS trophy, but it also introduced a new suite of opportunities.

“LA has been great. The community has welcomed me with open arms and it kind of just fits my whole aesthetic,” Acosta said. “It’s my style. I love fashion. I love everything it has to offer.”

Through fashion, he’s allowed himself to play with a wide range of styles, from sportswear to formalwear.

“Fashion is kind of just a form of art and I like to display that on myself,” Acosta said. “It’s one of those things where you can kind of see my personality based on the clothes I wear.”

As he’s gotten older and developed his game on the field, he’s also allowed his taste and style to evolve. He cites a diverse set of inspirational fashion figures, spanning Dan Levy, Stefon Diggs, Jordan Clarkson, and Dwyane Wade.

“I appreciate guys going out there and just being confident what they’re wearing and people really take notice of it. … Instagram is an avenue where I can kind of just be playful and see how other people are putting fits together,” he said.

His elite outfits have become part of his off-field DNA. And you know his shoe game doesn’t miss. While he cites his Red Octobers as the prize pair of his collection, you won’t find him taking Ls on the SNKRS app.

“I stay away from SNKRS cuz I already know what’s gonna happen. I’m just not gonna go through the emotional trauma of SNKRS app,” Acosta said.

Acosta’s Future Vision

In the future, he sees more opportunities in fashion beyond curating the perfect ‘fit. Throughout his career, he has leaned into the opportunities for business, and fashion is one industry where he’d like to dive deeper.

Acosta has hopes of collaborating with a designer, specifically naming Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Acne Studios as potential fashion houses that intrigue him. Or maybe he’ll partner with a watch company such as Rolex, which Acosta said would be “amazing.”

But one thing is clear for Kellyn Acosta: a title and the World Cup were only the beginning. As he looks forward to 2023, he sees an abundance of personal and professional opportunities that keep him motivated.

“[Next year], I want to just expand my outreach,” he said. “I know I just experienced something that was truly remarkable. So [I want to] share my experiences with other kids and help inspire them.

“I want to expand my brand and help formulate relationships that will help build that. And then final thing is that I always wanted to play in Europe one day. So hopefully I can achieve that.”

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About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.