Trading card game creates anticipation for, brings back memories of World Cup

November 8, 2022

With less than a month until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, soccer fans are buzzing with excitement as they prepare to sit back and enjoy the world’s most prestigious soccer tournament. Over the years, the Panini World Cup trading card challenge has become a special tradition for fans to engage in the event every four years.

The objective of the challenge is to celebrate the culture of the World Cup. First, fans purchase a Panini World Cup sticker album, consisting of pages reserved for each national team with spots for every player on the team. To fill the album, fans collect player cards through randomized miniature packs. Ultimately, the aim is to complete the entire album by collecting all the players from every team.

Senior Cristian Ferreya, a longtime soccer fanatic, completed the challenge during the 2014 World Cup. At the time, Cristian was living in Chile, and many of his peers were involved in the challenge as well.

“During the luncheon, it looked like the New York Stock Exchange. Everyone brought their albums, and their cards,” Cristian said. “They were crossing off all the numbers in the back of the book, and everyone was trying to complete it faster than the other people.”

Cristian said completing the album was one of his greatest accomplishments as a soccer fan and he still treasures it to this day.

Since the packs are randomized, fans are unaware of which player cards they are receiving when they buy one. Therefore, the challenge encourages fans to collaborate by trading their cards in order to complete their albums. 

Cristian said his love for the sport and the community it creates inspire him to persist through the challenge.

“It really connects football fans from all over the world but also like all over the community,” Cristian said. “If you have like a few friends that are all trying to complete their albums, it makes it a lot faster to complete your album if you can trade with different people. So there’s certainly a social aspect to it.”

Senior Yaseen Qureshi also completed the challenge during the 2014 World Cup. Yaseen was introduced to the challenge by his father, who participated in it when he was a child. Yaseen said that the sticker albums carry a greater significance.

“Looking back at those sticker books, it’s a catalog of the World Cup,” Yaseen said. “One of my first memories watching the World Cup was Robin Van Persie’s ‘Flying Dutchman’ header goal against Spain, and I remember watching that and just kind of realizing this is why people call it ‘the beautiful game.’” 

Yaseen said that the sticker albums serve as souvenirs for each World Cup.

“Whenever I look back at that catalog, I’m reminded of those first memories [I had] as a kid watching football and essentially being inspired by what [I saw] on the TV screen.”

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