SE Dons Are Levelling up Again

SE Dons Are Levelling up Again

The self-styled biggest Sunday League club in world football is continuing to break glass ceilings for amateur players everywhere with their latest PUMA collab.

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December 13th 2022

SE Dons are a team that embodies a warrior mentality. Whether you’re talking about their all-or-nothing attitude on-pitch or their relentless approach to excellence off it, the self-styled world’s biggest Sunday League club take no prisoners in their pursuit of greatness.

This unequivocal commitment to pushing forward has underpinned the club’s latest developments in their partnership with PUMA. With the ink still drying on a new two-year deal between the non-league club and the global sports brand, the Dons have been blessed with a new home kit they’ve christened ‘Valhalla’. Styled in the club’s now-signature green colourway, the kit represents founder Don Strapzy’s vision that you don’t just play for the SE Dons badge, you put your body on the line for it.

“Vikings believed that you have to be a warrior to get to Valhalla,” Strapzy explained. “So for the Dons, you have to be a warrior to wear our badge. Not everyone is fit to wear it, you have to put the work in. That’s why we've called it the Valhalla jersey.”

This team-wide will to be the best is paying personal dividends, too. In addition to partnering with SE Dons as technical partner, PUMA have signed stay players and personalities Don Strapzy, Big G and Zak Ansah to individual boot deals. Featuring all the same perks as the brand’s pro players, the agreements make the trio some of the only Sunday League players in the world to have an official brand plug.

VERSUS linked up with Don Strapzy and Big G to talk about the club’s new home kit, the significance of signing individual athlete deals with PUMA, and why showing the world that anything is possible underpins everything they do.

VERSUS: A new home kit is always a huge moment for a club! Talk us through the new drop. What’s the story behind the kit and the design choices?

SE Dons: For our home kit we wanted something bespoke that no other club can replicate. The Dons home shirt has evolved over the years with green becoming its primary colour, and we’ve stuck with that. For us, that colour represents grassroots football. We’ve also got some white trim as we feel it symbolises purity, and our hard work is the most pure thing about us. We think the design is so sick, man. It differentiates us from other Sunday League clubs.

We’ve called it the Valhalla jersey, I don’t know how much you know about Vikings…

Enlighten me…

Vikings believe that every warrior goes to Valhalla, but you can’t get unless you’ve been a warrior in life. For SE Dons, I believe you’ve got to be a warrior to wear our badge. Not everyone can wear it! You know what I mean?

How much do you think a kit can impact a player or team’s persona on the field?

It’s important. SE Dons is more than just a football team, it’s the culture. If you’re asking about UK or London culture, that’s what we are. That’s where we’re from. That’s why we’re authentic. We never act or be something we’re not. It’s so important for us to have a great kit because we don’t want people to buy it just because they support the team, we want them to buy it because they like the design and they think it represents what they believe in.

When the team are playing in this kit, I know they feel the part and they appreciate all the hard work it’s taken us to get a bespoke kit like this. We’ve come a long way from a bang average shirt that’s just a template you pick up on wholesale. When you’re wearing this Valhalla kit, and you see the design details, it shows everyone how serious we are about our work. It’s a Valhalla jersey, man – you put it on and you know what time it is. It’s time to go to war.

“SE Dons is bigger than football, it’s about being a beacon of hope for a lot of people.”

What I love about the Dons is that everything you’ve built is from the ground up. You’re a community club at your core, and you always will be, but there’s no denying what you’ve done has gone global in so many ways – a link up like this with PUMA being one of them. How important has this partnership with PUMA been to the Dons?

They’ve always understood that SE Dons is bigger than football, it’s about being a beacon of hope for a lot of people. They’ve understood our vision better than anyone else, and given us lots of creative control. They’ve shown us support and in return we’ve delivered. It’s a really good bond.

That word relationship is powerful because it implies a level of mutual respect. You’ve just signed a two-year extension with PUMA. How does that level of security help a Sunday League club like yours on an operational level?

It’s fantastic because it allows us to plan for the future. We think long term and that’s what’s important. Short term goals are key but a long-term partnership like this means we can not only plan for the next four weeks, but we can have a very specific conversation about the next 18 months to two years. It gives us the security to think about and execute a long-term vision. We know what we’re doing, we just need stability and this gives us that.

Speaking of looking at things for the long term, this kit is going to be in use for two seasons rather than one. Why was it important for you guys to give this home kit a longer life cycle?

Because we call our supporters the Dons family and we want to treat them in that spirit. They’ve really bought into our message and our journey, and they put their hands in their pockets for our badge. For us, it’s such an amazing kit, we just want to be fair and let people enjoy it for longer. Without being cringey, this badge means something! We want people to feel appreciated when they wear it.

We’re almost looking at ‘new kits’ like trophies – we have to earn them! We’ll do our job for the rest of the season, set our targets for next season, bang them out, and maybe earn a new home kit in 24/25 or whatever the season will be.

“We’re not professional athletes, but we train five to six days a week.”

I like that concept a lot. Would you like to see a world where clubs took that kind of approach to shirt drops?

As a kid who grew up supporting Manchester United, I always looked forward to a new kit. I still feel that way every season, so I think even if clubs stick with home shirts for longer it’d be nice to release an away kit in those moments. I do think you need to think about your supporters who are spending money on your shirt.

The Dons family has definitely grown as a unit, but your individuals are shining as well. What does it mean for you guys – Don Strapzy, Big G and Zak Ansah – to get the same individual boot deals that pro players get?

It sticks to the message of going bigger in everything we believe in! Hard work has got us here. We’re still the same grounded people – you can see us walking around Greenwich like normal – but we’re trying to elevate the scene for lots of people and we’re not shy in doing that. The standard has been set by us and the rest have now got an opportunity to try and follow. That’s why so many other clubs are now recording their game on a Sunday. I think it’s a privilege PUMA believe in us as individuals. It’s a reward for our hard work and we’re proud, man.

The fact we can all call ourselves PUMA athletes and put that in our bios and whatever, it’s deeper than us. You see ‘PUMA athlete’ usually and It’s Neymar or Antony, people like that. Whereas people that come from where we come from, they might see us doing and feel like their own ambitions are possible. “Hold on for a second, look at Strapzy and Big G – it is possible, I refuse to be indolent.” That’s a word that means you’re lazy or lack work ethic, but not us.

We’re not professional athletes, but we train five to six days a week. I start every week with three days of boxing. I’m in gym five days a week. Big G is playing football three times a week in addition to training. We won’t promote alcohol, we don’t promote gambling, we don’t take drugs. Yeah, we’re just some kids from South East London but we take this seriously and appreciate what PUMA are doing for us. We’re going to live by that. We’re showing kids that you still have to work! We didn’t get this opportunity just by making content and editing, we’re physically fit and we work for that.

I know you guys are always scheming, always looking forward, always setting levels. God will continue to bless the graft! Have you got any further goals for this PUMA partnership? How else can you innovate?

We’re currently going around with some EFL clubs filming and we’d like to keep on doing that, because as a Sunday League club it bridges the gap between the pro and amateur games. But we always think massive, and we know Borussia Dortmund are with PUMA and we want to go there! We want to keep taking SE Dons global. We think we’ve now got a platform to film with the best. We want to shoot with Neymar in Brazil. We want go and work with Antony and Harry Maguire in Manchester.

We want to keep on pushing our community work forward, too. We’ve all worked in schools delivering PE sessions and after-school clubs, summer camps…we want to speak with PUMA about doing something like that. Giving back to the community is what we really want to do.

The new SE Dons ‘Valhalla’ home kit is available now at