Wallet of the Month – Rodney Wallace
Wallet of the Month
This month we had the privilege of working with an elite professional soccer player, Rodney Wallace. He was a 2015 MLS Cup champion with the Portland Timbers and starting midfielder for Costa Rica's national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Aside from being an accomplished athlete and a fierce competitor, Rodney is a humble, good-hearted person with an inspiring attitude on life. We learned that and more when he visited our studio with his wife Haley and daughter Ivy.
In our interview (below), we dig a little deeper to hear about Rodney's roots, what drives him to keep pursuing his dreams and how we might design a wallet together that would give him another way to carry those things with him.
We sat down with Rodney for an interview. Here are some highlights:
How does it feel to be a pro athlete with so many people looking up to you?
It’s a great feeling knowing people look up to you. The best part about it is that I have the opportunity to have an impact on people’s lives. I try to set a good example and show people that talent alone isn’t enough to get you where you want to go. You need to be disciplined but you also need to enjoy the sport.
I like working with the youth especially. Any opportunity to go to schools or clinics – I'm in. I like to go out there and motivate the kids, kick it with them and listen to see what they have to say. I try to connect with them on a personal level.
Are you training much in the off-season?
I'm constantly training, sometimes multiple sessions a day. I'm always preparing for the season, working on my diet, getting therapy and treatments and trying to get the right amount of sleep. It's nonstop. It becomes routine but it's also a sacrifice. It takes a good work ethic to get results, and results bring championships.
Speaking of championships, you got one in Portland. That was obviously a highlight, but what else comes to mind when you think of the city you used to call home?
When I moved to Portland I was young. I was in my early 20s and I didn’t know what to expect. People would say, 'It’s a fantastic place to play and you’re going to really love the fan base'. But I didn’t really understand it until I got there. The city really embraced me with open arms and it’s given me so much.
The team, the community, Timbers Army – there's a special connection there. I only spent 5 years in Portland, but after winning a championship, it feels like my bond with the city is forever sealed in history. Being a pro athlete, that's something no one can ever take from you.
Tell us about your connection to Costa Rica.
I was born in Costa Rica and moved to Maryland when I was 10 years old. I grew up in the states, and I’m very thankful for all of the relationships and opportunities that have come from that, but I still have a strong connection with my home country. When I put on that jersey and step out onto the field at a stadium, when I hear the national anthem and see people cheering, I get the same butterflies I used to get when I was a little kid. My Costa Rican roots are still with me.
Last year, you were at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Take us through the feeling of getting to compete in one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world?
I've been dreaming about it my whole life and then I was actually living it. The anticipation was unbelievable and that feeling just got more intense every step of the way.
First we had to qualify. But even then I wasn't guaranteed a spot in the lineup. And so I continued to work until I saw my name on that list and then I was like "Wow, I’m actually about to go to the World Cup". And then I stepped foot on the plane and there's so much anticipation for what's ahead. We finally land in St. Petersburg, get off the plane and everything in Russia is amplified. Everything felt next level. You look at all your boys, we're all rocking our suits, and you think 'this is the dream, this is what we worked for'. I finally made it to the Mecca of the sport – the ultimate place you want to be is the World Cup.
It was an amazing experience to be a part of that and to be able to share it with my parents, my wife and my daughter. I don’t know how many opportunities like that I’ll have. Hopefully I get to live it again but, if not, I’m completely satisfied with that experience. It's something I always get to carry with me.
What has been the key to your success as an athlete?
For me, it’s all about having the right mentality, the right energy. Of course you need some talent and a certain level of fitness. And there are some things you can’t control like playing time, injuries or some other outside factors that try to steer you away from the big picture. But so much of it is about attitude, how you respond to things that happen and how you relate to other people.
That's why I always say "energy is everything". You have to be positive, ready to put in the work, willing to learn and put your team first. If you have that energy, it’s contagious. I like to pay it forward when I can because energy is something you can share. It’s the same with life in general. If you see the good in things and bring positive energy, that attracts more positive energy and more good things happen. To me, that’s winning.
After the interview, we looked at different wallet styles and leather colors to find the right fit. Rodney was drawn to the burgundy leather and our new arrival, Navy Blue.
We kicked around ideas for a symbol for Rodney that would incorporate a lightning bolt for his motto "energy is everything".
We created images of actual stamps pulled from his passport and engraved them right into the wallet itself.
The final product is a representation of Rodney's accomplishments, his roots and his attitude on soccer and life. It's a wallet that helps him carry each of these things with him wherever he goes.
Design Your Own Wallet
You can design your own handcrafted wallet using our built-from-scratch online wallet customizer, WoollyLab . Mix and match leather colors, stitching, patterns and inscriptions until it's perfectly yours. Or you can give the experience to someone else with a mailed or digital gift card.