After shopping this rather fluffy piece around to football sites & being told ‘no thanks’ or just ignored, I’ve decided to post this piece on the new MLS kits going into the 2012 season.
Aside from pre-season training matches and drafts, trialists, and new signings, a new Major League Soccer season brings new jerseys for your favorite team. So here’s a quick look at the changes:
Chicago Fire Home Chicago Fire Away
After going through last year without a kit sponsor, Chicago returns this season with a new one: Quaker Oats. Fire supporters generally seemed pleased with their new jersey. It begins a trend this year in MLS, that of collared shirts. Chicago’s away jersey is the big change for this year, gone is the traditional white away in favor of a rather slick blue with the Chicago city flag stars with thin powder blue horizontal stripes. At first glance, many Chicago supporters thought this looked a bit too New England-y. Hopefully some industrious entrepreneur will come up with customizable jerseys that allow for your favorite player’s or one’s own face to be put in place of the smiling Quaker.
Chivas USA Away Chivas USA Home
Chivas has created a more subdued away jersey this year. The subtle, textured same-color vertical stripes make the traditionally garish Chivas a bit more elegant, especially given the Corona kit sponsor font. Chivas USA have announced that they will reveal their home jersey on February 15th. Hopefully, the home kit will take a hint from the away but don’t expect any major drift away from the vertical red and white stripes of their crest—it will most like channel TGI Friday’s employee uniforms.
Colorado Rapids Home Colorado Rapids Away
Colorado goes into 2012 with a couple of changes: gone is the collar and the away kit has switched from sky blue to white. It’s disappointing that Colorado hasn’t been able to land a kit sponsor, and these current jerseys make that absence obvious. While the maroon is a pleasant color, I’m sure many will miss the sky blue of the away jersey. Unfortunately, you could make the case that this kit looks more like training gear due its spartan design.
Columbus Crew Home Columbus Crew Away
The brightness of the Columbus home jersey can be quite striking on a sunny match day. Their yellow jerseys are iconic for American soccer fans. This year Columbus go sponsor-less, get rid of any other dark lines on their home jersey, and add a collar. Hopefully, the Crew will land another kit sponsor in the future. Their away jersey channels an inner bumble-bee without going too over the top and is a bit of a throwback jersey to the early days of the team.
DC United Home DC United Away DC United Third
Although several teams have lost sponsorship, DC United continues with arguably the best kit sponsor icon in Volkswagon. DC United takes a further step, continuing to offer a third kit—something more MLS teams should consider. The home black with red sleeves and the away white with red sleeves (collared unlike the others) are wonderfully complimented by the solid true red third kit.
Houston Dynamo Home Houston Dynamo Away
The Dynamo kit reveals an internal conflict. Gone are the clashing powder blue highlights atop the Houston orange. In its place, a collared shirt in a metallic orange with a textured spiraling sunburst pattern for the home jersey that can go from seemingly refreshing to a gaudy abomination in instant. Oddly enough, this sentiment embodies Houston itself—a city that is from one city block to another, tawdry and sophisticated. We see this same dualism by just pairing the home and away jerseys—home equals garish, away equals classy. Such contrast is rather pleasant.
LA Galaxy Home LA Galaxy Third
LA Galaxy Away-Not Available
The new kit that may drape Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan this coming season owes more than a little bit to the design of the USMNT. The deep blue sash with a diamond texture pattern against clean white gives this new Galaxy jersey an international look, contemporary yet classic. I’d like to see the away jersey the color negative of the home but we will have to see. LA’s third kit (all black with gold outlining) would seem to more suited for the later part of the season when running around in all black would help to keep one warm, I doubt we’ll ever see it in Southern California.
Montreal Impact Home Montreal Impact Away
As an expansion team, few expect Montreal to make much of an impact (sorry, it was just too easy). But I think quite a few supporters can be rightfully disappointed in their first MLS year kit. The subtle fleur de lis textured pattern against the proper blue of the home jersey is a nice touch but it is the only bit of spice in this kit. The away white with blue accents is quite bland, but Montreal is a young team and by setting the bar low they have nowhere to go but up.
New England Revolution Home/Away
New England finally has a kit sponsor and it looks quite good on their new jerseys. However, the Revolution’s new kit is blander than Montreal’s and not nearly as clean looking as Colorado’s. In fact, this kit has a bit of a mid-90’s flavor to it. It would be difficult for to distinguish this jersey from a complimentary t-shirt given for a charity walk/run. But don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t an ugly kit, it’s entirely adequate and that’s the problem—these New England jerseys look like the bare minimum amount of design work possible. Supporters may grumble about how this reflects their owner’s investment in the team.
New York Red Bull Home
New York Red Bull Away—Not Available
New York’s kit remains basically the same as it was last year. The few changes made manage to improve the kit but reveal how fundamentally unattractive the kit is once ‘fixed.’ What do I mean by ‘fixed’? Well, the awkward looking half-button front is gone, the seams that broke the 2011 jersey up into three sections are gone, and the Adidas stripes at the very ends of the sleeves have been pulled back to the appropriate length. All these traits made the old New York jersey look just painfully discomfited. But eliminating them allows us to see the Red Bull jersey for what it is—a cheesy billboard. The away kit will most likely be the same design as the home but in navy instead of white.
Philadelphia Union Home Philadelphia Union Away
The changes to Philadelphia’s kit are simple and maintain their attractive look. With the home jersey the collar has changed to a sort of guru collar and there are light blue vertical accent lines outlining the gold and navy horizontal colors. The changes are minor but do enhance the kit slightly. The big change will be in the away jersey which has given up the gold and navy vertical colors in favor of proper blue and white verticals. These colors are outlined with the Philadelphia gold, which is a nice touch. The change in the away jersey eliminates one of the things I always like about the Union’s jersey, continuity, yet I can’t bring myself to say the new away kit is poorly done. However, it does look a bit…plastic, fake.
Portland Timbers Home Portland Timbers Away Portland Timbers Third
No real changes in the Portland kit. The two tone forest green is certainly distinctive, but this year sees a third kit polo that seems a bit retro. In fact, not just retro but stealing a bit of thunder from the old New York Cosmos jerseys—like we need to be reminded yet again about the damn Cosmos.
Real Salt Lake Home Real Salt Lake Away
Another team that hasn’t made any drastic changes to their kit is Salt Lake. This year sees the navy compliment to the traditional deep red of the home and clean white of the away take over the right shoulder as well as a more pronounced yellow Adidas three-stripe on the home. Nothing wild, nothing mundane here just middling and inoffensive like many a LDS.
San Jose Home San Jose Away
Long-time kit sponsor Amway is gone & San Jose has opted for a simple if not plain design. In fact, these jerseys look more like casual t-shirts. Though reminiscent of the England national team’s jersey, San Jose has distilled their team’s essence down to their colors and their crest. I suppose purists will say that’s all that should be on a jersey. Certainly, there will be no distraction for supporters, that said, if San Jose don’t play well there will be nothing worth watching.
Seattle Sounders Home Seattle Sounders Away Seattle Sounders Third
Arguably, Seattle have the most distinctive and recognizable jersey in American football. That said, the bile green of their home jersey is nauseating. Watching Seattle play on that fake turf wearing such a hideous color makes for a disorienting experience (a fact that will be made even more evident with Seattle’s third kit). But all that is inconsequential since Seattle are one of the best teams in MLS. No real changes can be made to such an iconic jersey and the away jersey is certainly as attractive as the home jersey is seasickness inducing.
Sporting Kansas City Home Sporting Kansas City Away
It seems that Sporting have decided to take Colorado’s old away jersey as their home kit. The home clean and clear sky blue unsullied by sponsor or any kind of stripe is pleasing just as the dark blue away with the subtle textured pattern of Sporting’s logo along the left side is. And along with Colorado, Sporting is making a strong case for a jersey that you can wear as an everyday polo, whether that’s a good thing is something to be left up to the supporter.
Toronto FC Home Toronto FC Away
The humorous thing about Toronto’s home jersey this year is that it’s pretty much exactly the same as their training jersey for this year. I guess it doesn’t really matter. The changes this year in the kit are insignificant—the tiny collar from last season is gone and the sleeves are now steely blue. Spicing up the no frills approach is Toronto’s away kit which is like sprinkling cinnamon on rice. The red sleeves and collar are interesting touches, I won’t do so far as to say attractive but definitely inoffensive.
Vancouver WhiteCaps Home Vancouver WhiteCaps Away
Of all the recent expansion teams, I have to say that I like Vancouver’s kit the most. The bright white of the home jersey with the evenly spaced thin, horizontal stripes gives the kit a quiet character. This year the away jersey is the big winner, the deep blue is covered with a textured pattern that is the Vancouver logo but it’s not too busy like Chicago’s away kit.