Pablo Mastroeni Featured in Maxim Magazine Photo Spread

DENVER (From Colorado Rapids and MLSNet.com's Jason Halpin) - Rapids Team Captain Pablo Mastroeni along with other superstars from across Major League Soccer is featured in the March issue of Maxim men's magazine which hits newsstands nationwide tomorrow.

Mastroeni is part of a 7-page 7-player MLS fashion spread that comes out February 15 in Maxim Magazine's March 2006 issue.

(To view exclusive behind-the-scenes video from the photo shoot CLICK HERE).

The shoot took place the day after MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco TX. The vision of the spread - MLS players wearing all-white high-end fashion (couture) with their respective colorful soccer cleats - came from the fashion editor at Maxim. Four of the seven players had played in MLS Cup the day before.

The title of the fashion spread is 'White Lines: The Stars of Major League Soccer Fear Nothing. Not Even Grass Stains.' There are individual shots of Mastroeni as well as Dempsey Albright and Donovan and a group shot of all seven guys.

Decked out almost entirely in white - a big trend for the spring 2006 season - the players posed in groups and alone and juggled and passed the ball while photographer Mark Mann who includes among his many subjects musicians Usher and Iggy Pop and comedian Dave Chappelle clicked away. The players will occupy a seven-page spread in the magazine.

"When you think of Maxim you think of a progressive brand that has an edge. We are excited about the MLS feature in the latest issue of Maxim magazine said Douglas Quinn President of Soccer United Marketing Enterprises.

"It is a reflection of how soccer has become an important part of popular culture in America. Especially in this World Cup year you will continue to see our guys cross over into the mainstream."

The players' appearance in the magazine is part of a growing trend of MLS and U.S. national team players popping up in non-soccer media. It's a concerted effort by the league to occupy a place in pop culture and it's no coincidence that it's happening in a World Cup year. A similar upswing of attention occurred in 2002 building off the U.S. national team's success in that year's World Cup.

The benefits of the shoot aren't only in favor of MLS. According to Maxim Fashion Director Maria Ruocco the soccer market is an important one for Maxim to tap in to as the World Cup approaches.

"We figured that we wanted to do a soccer story to begin with and what better way than to feature real soccer players Ruocco said. "It's definitely the biggest sport in the world. For us it was great with the World Cup coming up this year and soccer becoming a little bit more mainstream. It helps us because this is what our guys like. Our guy is the everyday guy."

Albright said in terms of marketability soccer players may have a leg up on other athletes because they're more like the average person and fans can identify with them.

"Soccer players are kind of 'normal' in a marketing sense he said. "They're not big football players or big brawny baseball players and I think they're just kind of mainstream type of guys that I think should be getting in more magazines and on more television."

Fans are encouraged to check out Pablo's spread in Maxim hitting stores nationwide this week!