AUSTIN, Texas — One Austin FC fan got his wish to get a different kind of jersey made to rock at the club's first home game on Saturday. But the journey to release the "keeper kit" was an interesting one.
On March 26, Brad Tillery set out on a mission.
"When I saw the picture posted, I was like, 'I want that. I just want it,'" Tillery said.
His mission: to get Austin FC to release its keeper kit.
"It's not unlike him to do stuff like this. It's not unlike him to decide he wants something and then try to do everything in his power to get it," said Kerry Tillery, Brad Tillery's wife.
It started with a tweet.
"I retweeted the picture of Brad Stuver in the kit from the practice game and said, 'How do I get this? Do you take cash?' and it was a gif from 'Wayne's World,'" Brad Tillery said.
From there, he released content on Twitter every day for 53 days.
"Day two, another GIF, still patiently waiting. Day three, just doing more and more GIFs. And then it escalated, I think, to haikus. One day, it escalated to an old Civil War letter that I ended up writing out," Brad Tillery said.
The ideas were escalating and the creativity was flowing. That's when Kerry Tillery decided to take it to a whole new level.
"My brain already worked in kind of a cartoonish way, so as soon as he started with the tweets every single day, I had an idea for a video," she said.
The videos got a lot of traction.
"We would get several thousand interactions on the video a day," Brad Tillery said.
And it started getting the recognition of the keeper himself.
"[It was] a bit overwhelming. I looked at my phone and there were 30 to 40 messages on Twitter. They were super creative in everything they did, so it was definitely cool to see they were pushing so hard to get a keeper kit," Brad Stuver said.
It became a hobby for the Tillerys. How could they one-up their last video and how many more would they have to make until the keeper kit would be released?
"Some of my favorite ones were the 'Love Actually,' the FC Wentworth video. Those were a lot of fun and just laughing. Knowing what we were going to release the next day was half the fun," Kerry Tillery said.
After 53 days, Austin FC released the keeper kit. The mission was complete – but the Tillerys decided they didn't want to stop there.
"And that's honestly the coolest thing that's come out of this is we've been able to take this one little stupid viral video campaign that we've come out at and, at the end, raise awareness for The Laundry Project," Brad Tillery said.
The Laundry Project is a nonprofit that brings laundry services to underserved communities. It's something Brad Stuver and his wife, Ashley, have been a part of in every town they've lived in.
"Finding out so much more about the Stuvers and what they do for their community and how they do really tangible acts of charity everywhere that they've been just kind of makes us really glad that we have them here in town," Brad Tillery said.
The Tillerys ended up helping raise almost $2,000 for The Laundry Project.
"I think ever since we moved here to Austin, we've seen how tight-knit the community is and how much each Austinite takes care of one another," Stuver said. "And I think this is just another example of a community coming together and rallying behind a cause."
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