Tim Cahill talks football, fashion and family

Image credits: Shoreditch London

As Australia’s most famous football export who just competed in his third World Cup Tim Cahill needs no introduction. But we’ll give him one anyway. After an amazing career in the English Premier League Tim is now living in New York playing for the New York Red Bulls and was just named best Major League Soccer player by ESPN. If that wasn’t impressive enough Tim has now also turned his hand to fashion design, creating a sleek menswear range Shoreditch by Tim Cahill which will be hitting stores next year.  Yet, despite all his success and the trappings of fame Tim, who grew up in Sydney’s Campbelltown, remains down-to-earth and a devoted family man. This is the first half of our two-part interview with the stylish soccer star.

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What led you to design your upcoming menswear range, Shoreditch by Tim Cahill?

Being a footballer some of the biggest perks are fashion, cars and nice things. After the 2006 World Cup I formed a relationship with Mr Giorgio Armani and for the last eight years I have worn Armani and been lucky enough to go to a lot of fashion shows around the world. It gave me an amazing taste of fashion but also an appreciation for the simplicity of fabric and styles. Now that I am living in New York and not as busy with the Premier League I formed this relationship with Shoreditch where I could really express my style and my enthusiasm for fashion.

There are some amazing suits in your collection but there are also great casual sportswear style pieces too. How important is it for men to get the basics right?

I think going into leisure makes sense for me. I love how fashion can mix casual and formal elements at the same time. If you’re wearing jeans with a white t-shirt and a nice pair of shoes you can mix it up with a suit jacket which changes the outfit to being a bit more formal. I like to keep things simple when it comes to style. Casual can sometimes be more comfortable. The simplicity of fabric and the cut make a massive difference to how leisure wear looks and feels.

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You’ve obviously had a fashion education through football. But does your wife have any input into what you wear?

I always ask my wife if she likes my outfit. I choose my own outfits but the one thing you always look for is recognition about the way it looks. Do the colours work or do the shoes go with the belt? My wardrobe is pretty massive. It’s as big as my wife’s wardrobe. It’s almost like a small department store! I take pride in my appearance and I like to take care of my clothes. If you look good and feel good you perform better, on the pitch or off the pitch, in sport or business.

So how big are we talking?

My wardrobe is not a wardrobe it is actually a bedroom. I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you but I maybe have over a hundred suits. Maybe a hundred pairs of jeans and trainers. I’ve got a collection of watches and shoes by Louboutin, Balenciaga and Jimmy Choo…

You’re going to make all the women reading this very jealous of your shoe collection!

No, I think for me having lived in New York, London, Manchester and Sydney, fashion comes with it.  At one stage, I only used to wear Christian Dior jeans because I loved the fabric and the cut so much but no-one would have ever known. All the clothes that I wear are understated and don’t have obvious labels on them. My wardrobe is also very organised. I’m a neat freak. A lot of things cost a lot of money. Things are organised in colours and my sportswear, like my Warrior Sports by New Balance gear, is all hung well and is in a whole different side of the wardrobe.

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So is this neatness a reflection of the discipline you apply to all areas of your life? You don’t achieve everything you have without hard work and discipline…

Definitely. I left Australia when I was 16 and I learnt to cook at a young age. If you don’t work hard and you’re not disciplined with everyday stuff you can’t really succeed at trying to be a fashion designer and a footballer and a father and all the other things I have going on. When it comes to properties and cars I treat them like my babies as they are an investment in the future. It’s a discipline thing and a pride thing.

So are you a good cook?

Yes, I can make anything!

What’s your signature dish?

I don’t think I’ve got a signature. I think growing up in a Samoan household you just pick cooking up naturally. In my free time or when I am on aeroplanes I tend to watch a lot of the cooking shows.  I pick up ideas here and there and then come home and impress the kids sometimes. I like Heston, he’s more a scientific chef and I do like Jamie Oliver too. But I really like watching the fine dining chefs who take extra pride in the details of how a dish looks. I love going to restaurants like Nobu. I love Japanese food and am a massive sushi fan.

What would you make to impress your wife?

Wow, that’s hard! It would have to be something with seafood. It would probably just be something as simple as a nice piece of fish with lemon and oil, a little bit or garlic and seasoning with some steamed vegetables. I think simple is always good in the kitchen and fish is very light on the palate.

What about grooming? If I were to take a peek into your bathroom cabinet what would we find?

I’m quite simple when it comes to stuff like that. I just like to be clean shaven and my hair is always cut properly. If anything it would be Vitaman products which is an organic Australian company.

How do you stay grounded after everything you’ve achieved and so many years playing at an elite level?

It’s simple I just come home to Australia and see my family and friends. I go to the same places I grew up as a kid. Coming from a Samoan background it’s all about family. I like to keep things very simple and chilled out. I go to the local RSL and see local bands or go to the beach for a BBQ. I think it’s pretty easy for me to stay grounded.

Is that humility something you want to pass onto your kids? To give them a sense of grounding even though they have a famous dad?

Definitely. I take them to Samoa every other year and show them the way that kids are brought up there and how simple life can be. Their lives are different to the way I grew up and how hard it was but they are good kids. And I am lucky because a lot of the charity work I do, like visiting shelters or going to schools in Samoa, gives them some worldly experience.

That’s such a great thing to be giving your kids that sense of perspective. Showing them that real happiness isn’t about how much you have…

One hundred percent. I grew up with nothing and I was very happy. It taught me to take care of everything I buy regardless of how much money I’ve got and my kids can see that in me. I hate wasting things and I hate when people don’t appreciate things. It’s just the way I was brought up and that’s never going to change. I always want to work harder and achieve more but at the same time it’s so important to appreciate everything you have.

Make sure you log on to Sporteluxe.com tomorrow to read the second part of Sarah’s interview with Tim in which he talks about training, Pilates and how meditation changed his life.

Visit Tim’s website www.TimCahill.com or follow him on Instagram @Tim_Cahill