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[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through Aug. 25, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken, with Kyle Evans
Weekend readers will likely recognize the name of my guest author — Kyle Evans — who is frequently featured with his sidekick CJ Fleck bringing us uni reviews of various soccer leagues (in fact, they will be back later this month with a pre/review of the upcoming EPL kits). But today Kyle is flying solo and, with MLS’ All Star Game this evening (a cool concept where this year MLS stars compete against Real Madrid in Chicago), he’ll be bringing us a nice lookback at MLS All Star Game uniforms from years’ past. And with that, Kyle, take it away (click images to enlarge):
Thanks Phil! Rather than “rate” new uniform releases, I’m here today to give a history of the uniforms worn in the MLS All-Star Game, which has certainly had its share of interesting looks over the years. While the designs are the feature here, it’s also always worth observing the evolution of the cut and fit of the soccer uniform which has tightened up significantly in the last 20 years.
The Format/The Game
Many of us have likely grown accustomed to the “Conference vs. Conference” format of All-Star Games in American sports, and although MLS also adopted this format upon the league’s inception in 1996, it took less than a decade for the league to transition into the format used today in which the league fields a team to play a prominent European team. With the game being held in late July or early August and MLS employing a different “league calendar” than most leagues around the world, the MLS players are in midseason form while the European teams are in the midst of preseason with their seasons generally kicking off in later August. While the game is of course a “friendly” or pre-/in-season exhibition game, it is often quite competitive and much more closely resembles the MLB All-Star Game rather than the “games” that take place involving NBA or NFL All-Stars.
This year’s game will be held on Wednesday, August 2nd at Soldier Field in Chicago where the MLS All-Stars will take on world power Real Madrid for the first time. The starting lineup for the MLS team was voted on by fans and the reserves were selected by the acting head coach (Veljko PaunoviÄ‡ of the hosting Chicago Fire) and the commissioner of the league.
Since the game began with an “East vs. West” format and then transitioned into a “MLS All-Stars vs. European team” format, some of the games had two sets of “MLS team” uniforms while the more recent games only have one, but the pictures will show the uniforms worn by the European opponents as well. And now…here are the uniforms! Enjoy!
1996 (Location: East Rutherford, NJ; Score: East def. West 3-2)
The inaugural game featured the East wearing all-blue with large white shoulder stripes and their conference logo – a shield containing the name “East” along with the league logo, and the West with a white jersey/black shorts with thin black horizontal stripes on the jersey and their conference logo – the name “West” above the league logo in an oval.
1997 (East Rutherford, NJ; East def. West 5-4)
In year #2, the conference logos were retained on the front, but the East was now wearing an all-white kit including a half dark green/half blue vertical stripe on opposite sides of the jersey and shorts while the West wore blue/black with a white sleeve/shoulder stripe.
1998 (Orlando, FL; MLS USA def. MLS World 6-1)
This is the one and only year in which the league experimented with a “American players vs. international players” format and the uniforms reflect this format as well. The “MLS USA” uniform almost resembles a USA national team uniform and has a makeshift logo similar to the Eastern Conference logo over a simple red, white, and blue design. On the other side, the “MLS World” team had an all-blue look with the “3 stripes” across the chest and a logo resembling the logo of the Western Conference. Numbers were dropped from the front of the jerseys, advertisers appear on the sleeves and shorts, and the uniforms were supplied by two different makers (USA – Reebok, World – Adidas).
1999 (San Diego, CA; West def. East 6-4)
Returning to an “East vs. West” format, the shields were dropped in favor of a larger league logo on the front of both jerseys. The East is the team in yellow/black (personally all I see when I look at these uniforms is a referee’s uniform) and the West is the team in all-white with blue on the sides of the jersey. This game also featured dueling kit makers (East – Nike, West – Adidas).
2000 (Columbus, OH; East def. West 9-4)
Adidas and Nike squared off again but swapped teams with Adidas giving the East an all–navy kit and Nike providing the West with a mustard over white template and black front numbers. The league logo remained front and center for both teams.
2001 (San Jose, CA; East tied West 6-6)
This marks the first year in which players wore the logo of the team they were representing on their chest and the return of the names “East” and “West” on the front of the jerseys, this time in a logo matching that of the game. Adidas stayed with the East with a simple white/black look and Nike stayed with the West with a blue over white with black side panels uniform which resembled the uniform of the host San Jose Earthquakes (a Western Conference team).
2002 (Washington, D.C.; MLS def. USA National Team 3-2)
In another one-off format, a team of MLS All-Stars faced the US national team less than two months after returning from a trip to the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup. Adidas provided the all-blue MLS uniforms which once again included a large league logo on the front, team logos on the chest, and front jersey numbers. The US simply used the uniforms they wore in the World Cup.
2003 (Carson, CA; MLS def. Chivas 3-1)
Now playing against Mexican club Chivas (Guadalajara), the MLS team wore a very similar all-blue uniform compared to the previous year with the main differences being the league name written horizontally with the logo to appear more prominent and the removal of front jersey numbers.
2004 (Washington, D.C.; East def. West 3-2)
In the final iteration of “East vs. West”, Adidas (now the provider of all the uniforms in the league) gave the teams matching templates – the East in all-blue and the West in all-yellow. Representative team logos were removed in favor of the newer conference logos on the chest.
2005 (Columbus, OH; MLS def. Fulham 4-1)
In the first year of the current format of an MLS All-Star team playing a European opponent, the MLS team wore an all-blue look very similar to the East uniform of the previous year, retaining the same advertiser and now containing a small MLS logo. And take a look at Fulham’s contrasting sleeve stripes!
2006 (Bridgeview, IL; MLS def. Chelsea 1-0)
Possibly due to playing against the classic all-blue look of Chelsea, MLS wore red/white for the first time and also brought back the logos of the teams being represented by the players.
2007 (Commerce City, CO; MLS def. Celtic 2-0)
Two consecutive years with the same Adidas template, this time in all-navy for the MLS with the game and team logos switching positions on the chest, and the fourth consecutive and final year of using the same advertiser on the front of the jersey, while Celtic countered with their classic green and white hoops.
2008 (Toronto, ON; MLS def. West Ham 3-2)
With David Beckham now in the league and the league expanding financially and in number of franchises, the All-Star Game uniform saw changes as well. This time MLS wore solid black over solid blue with dot side panels on the jersey and a new advertiser on the front. All-sky blue with a claret/white horizontal stripe for West Ham.
2009 (Sandy, UT; Everton def. MLS 1-1 (4-3 PK))
The colors are somewhat reversed from the previous year with MLS sporting blue over black, with the jersey including a horizontal black panel and a small black vertical strip connecting the panel to the neckline. The team logos are moved to the sleeve and the new advertiser starts an 8-year run of being featured on the jerseys. Oh, and that’s Everton in all-white.
2010 (Houston, TX; Manchester United def. MLS 5-2)
Modeled after the colors of the hosting Houston Dynamo, MLS wore light blue over black with orange accents and removed the team logos, and Manchester United wore red over white.
2011 (Harrison, NJ; Manchester United def. MLS 4-0)
As the concept of jersey “technology” continued to evolve, so did the design, this one being all-black with red side patterns and a silver pattern which wrapped around the shoulder/armpit to form an “X” on the back, likely related to the tailoring and fit of the jersey. Team logos also made a return and appeared on the chest and for the second consecutive year, Manchester United were the opponents and wore red/white.
2012 (Chester, PA; MLS def. Chelsea 3-2)
This time MLS wore all-navy (possibly to correspond with the hosting Philadelphia Union) with sublimated vertical stripes, reflective silver stripes, a lime green collar, and team logos moved back to the sleeve. Rather than than their primary all-blue, opponents Chelsea wore their secondary kit at the time, all-white with a light blue sash.
2013 (Kansas City, KS; Roma def. MLS 3-1)
I think it’s hard to argue that this is the year in which the MLS All-Stars most closely resembled the host team as the light blue to navy gradient matches the colors of host Sporting Kansas City. Meanwhile, Roma provided great contrast with their lovely burgundy over white kit.
2014 (Portland, OR; MLS def. Bayern Munich 2-1)
With the Portland Timbers serving as the host, the all-black MLS kit was accented by nods to the Timbers, including the use of neon yellow and green as accent colors, sublimated chevrons on the front of the jersey, a special “jock tag”, and things on the inside of the jersey. The visitors from Germany, Bayern Munich, wore red and blue vertical stripes over red shorts.
2015 (Commerce City, CO; MLS def. Tottenham 2-1)
Going into the 2015 season, the league underwent a rebrand and the new logo and its red, white, and blue colors were showcased in the MLS uniform. The white jersey included a sash made up of lines coming out of a star on the top and a maple leaf on the bottom for the two countries in the league and both the jersey and the blue shorts included red stripes. Team logos remained on the sleeve and Tottenham countered with light blue/navy with navy horizontal panels/stripes.
2016 (San Jose, CA; Arsenal def. MLS 2-1)
For the second straight year, MLS utilized the colors of their new logo, this time wearing blue over white with red sleeve piping and a sublimated jersey pattern similar to that of the host San Jose Earthquakes. On the other side, Arsenal wore their traditional red/white primary kit.
2017 (Chicago, IL; MLS vs. Real Madrid)
This year’s jersey pays tribute to the jerseys worn by the US men’s national team in the 1994 World Cup played in the US featuring stars running down half of the jersey. The navy All-Star jersey also includes a few maple leafs mixed in among the stars to represent the 3 MLS teams that play in Canada. This is also the first year since 2009 that the All-Star jersey has featured a new advertiser on the front of the jersey. Looking at Real Madrid’s new set of kits, I would expect them to provide the best contrast and wear their primary all-white with teal accents.
Looking back through all the uniforms, I’d say last year’s are my favorite and 2008 is probably my least favorite with the 1999 East “referee look” not far behind and I’ll be curious to see the shorts and socks that go with this year’s jersey and how it looks on the field. I’m also interested in which ones all of you like or dislike, and thanks again PH!
Thank YOU Kyle! Great rundown of a couple decades’ worth of ASG unis there. Nicely done. We look forward to having your EPL pre/review with CJ later on this month.
Well, that was
just what they said it would be a waste of time…
Yesterday we were all geared up for what we presumed would be the next team to unveil a new uniform — the Denver Nuggets, highlighted by this teaser tweet from the day before:
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 31, 2017
Turns out, they weren’t lying in that tweet. The new lexicon (right up there with “alternative facts” and “undercover voters”) for “ad patch” is now “Corporate Alliance.” They even held a presser just to announce that the team would indeed be…adding an ad patch (more on that in a second) … but NO new uniform reveal. That will take place (I’m told) next week.
So, after all the buildup, what’s the ad patch gonna be?
— Nick Griffith (@NickGriffithTV) August 1, 2017
Yep. Western Union.
That kinda makes sense, being that Western Union is Denver-based, so this seems in keeping with the trend of soliciting a “local” corporation to advertise on your uni. If you’re keeping score at home, and I know you are, the Nuggets are now the 11th team to announce a Corporate Alliance.
And because I know you’re just dying for a higher res version, here’s a close up of that ad patch:
— Hikmet Ersek (@WesternUnionCEO) August 1, 2017
According to Western Union, this is a three-year ad deal.
So did they “reveal” anything? Yes — when the actual uniform is released it does appear there will be significant changes. I’ll have coverage of that (if it’s a weekday reveal) once we actually see it:
A fresh, new look…
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 1, 2017
In the ticker below, I’ve included links to all the new (revealed) unis as well as all the announced jersey advertisers.
Uniform Tracking – April-July 2017
Got another update from reader Edward D. Kendrick who has been tracking four teams this season: the Diamondbacks (and there is a LOT to track there), as well as the Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles:
To see the tracking Ed has done for each of the teams, click on the links below:
Great stuff Ed. Thanks!
Griffins Jersey Contest Reminder
In case you missed it, I’m again hosting a jersey design contest in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Griffins (an AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings). All the details are contained in this post.
The deadline for getting your submission in to me is August 15 (at 6:00 pm Eastern Time), and we’ll have reader voting on the concept jerseys beginning on August 17th! Last year we had 85 entries and I’d expect we’ll equal or surpass that this year. Prizes include a custom jersey based on your design and tickets to the game that the Griffins will be playing in the jerseys you designed!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: On August 31st, the Orioles will give away University of Maryland themed hats (from Andrew Cosentino). … Yesterday would have been Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday. Bruce Menard sends this Garcia Tribute Night poster from 2014. If you scroll down this thread, you’ll see a bunch of Jerry tribute posters (from their creator, Chris Shaw). … Also from Bruce, check out this early use of a shinguard on Teddy Ballgame. … ICYMI, here’s a look at the Star Wars/Chewie jersey worn last weekend by the Everett Aqua Sox (from OT Sports). … If you have an X1 Voice Remote, you can get it wrapped in black and yellow Pirates colors (from Armchair GM). … If you follow this Twitter thread, you’ll see a pretty cool 3-D Red Sox logo from days of yore (Bruce Menard and Todd Radom debate its merits as well). … Here’s a wonderful program for the 1914 World Series at Fenway Park. The Braves were led by the fastidious George Stallings (from Alex Cheremeteff”). … NO! (from Jorge Pa). … L’il help possibly? Jake Perry asks, “I was given this Blue Jays base ball cap back in 1989 (28 years ago) by a die hard Canadian Blue Jays Fan, he told me it was a players cap. I’m wondering if someone could shed some light as to its origin and worth please.” … Conway says, “Photoshop gone wrong. Look at (Yu) Darvish’s right sleeve & belt.” From that same photoshop, Alexander Cosentino notes “They put Sonny Gray’s face on David Robertsons body.” … The Columbia Fireflies will wear specialty glow-in-the-dark jerseys when they celebrate “Total Eclipse of the Park” at 1:05 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017. More info on that here. … Over in Japan, there was an awkward Dark red camo (Orix Buffaloes) vs Black (Softbank Hawks) matchup (from Graveyard Baseball). … Here’s another team (the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes) who will be wearing special “eclipse” jerseys. … “New” Yankees pitcher David Robertson is still using his custom White Sox glove (from EJ3). … Check out this classic West Michigan Whitecaps logo (according to twitter, used in the late 90s/early 2000s). From Chris Zadorozny. … Last night Delino DeShields (who wears number 3) pinch ran for Shin Soo Choo and wore one of his batting gloves (from Jonathan Shaw).
NFL/CFL/College/High School Football News: Cleveland dot com asks, “Should these Browns Pro Football Hall of Famers have their jersey numbers retired?” (from Jason Hillyer). … Also from Jason, beginning yesterday, an exhibit titled “Scrimmage: Football in American Art” will be on display at the Canton Museum of Art. Looks really nice! … One team we know for sure will be altering its uniforms in 2018 is the Titans: “Titans uniform alterations for 2018 are complete; Amy Adams Strunk: ‘It’s not minor’.” Although that’s about all we know so far, Strunk added “It’s going to be totally updated.” (scroll down). … When college recruits are making their school choices, sometimes they mock themselves up in the (potential) uni of their choice. “Narrowing his choices down to three schools gives us this Frankenstein’s monster of a uni,” says Mike Klug. … M&T Bank Stadium is getting updated signage in Baltimore (from Asa Domolky). … This prolly wouldn’t fly for THE OSU: Check out the Georgia State football unis (with Nike swoosh) in front of a UA banner (from Bo Childers). … For a mere $50K, Temple football fans can sponsor jersey numbers. … Troll away the dew: This is what happens if you wear a Cowboys jersey to Eagles training camp (from Jeff Lyons). … The Florida Gators are the latest team to switch to the new jersey template. Also of note, the biggest change is the Gatorhead no longer breaks the pant stripe and is now located on the front (from Brock Brames). The swoosh has been moved to the other side of the pants, too (good spot by Evan). But the biggest change is the orange pants striping now matches the orange jersey striping. … Not that there’s much changes, but here’s an article tracking the Cincinnati Bengals 2017 uniform changes. … OK this is pretty cool: ECU Pirates’ football scholarship offers are presented in a Pirate theme (from Lee Wilds). … New helmet for the Stony Brook Seawolves (from Mike Barnett). … Lost in this horrendous Tom Brady wax statue photo is the change in the Patriots collar (from Zachary Adam Gray”). … Presented without comment: someone has created a Cleveland Browns deck (sent in by Robert Hayes). … Start ’em young! A pee-wee football team in Santa Fe, TX has a helmet featuring a native ‘headdress’ (from Tim Mckay). … “Here’s one from the ‘better late than never’ category: This New York Times article explains the legal arguments behind Boise State’s claim that all sports teams seeking to install artificial turf fields in any color besides green (not just blue) must ask its permission first,” says Kary Klismet. “It’s from last September, but I couldn’t find any evidence that it’s appeared in Uni Watch before. To anyone interested in sports trademarks, it’s a fascinating read.”
Hockey News: Here are a couple of Capitals items of note (from William F. Yurasko): Capital One might be taking over the naming rights for the arena the Capitals, Wizards, etc. play in. The twitter consensus is that we’ll call it the Cap Center; Alex Ovechkin’s equipment kept getting ripped off, so he changed the number on his bag. Also, #69 is apparently no longer permitted in the NHL. … Whoa. Check out this Bruin made of Bruins Warrior gear (From Patrick Thomas). That’s located at their practice facility.
NBA/G-League/College/High School Basketball News: If you’ve somehow lost track of all the *new* uniforms that have been revealed so far, you can use this handy uniform tracker to, well, track the new releases. You probably don’t want to keep track of all the jersey advertiser patches, but if you did, you could. … Here’s a bunch of OKC Thunder concepts (from Justin Mitchell). … Virginia Tech is in the process of installing a new floor in Cassell Coliseum (from Andrew Cosentino). Here’s another look (c/o Clark Ruhland). … Someone has made a video of the best places in Cleveland to burn a Kyrie Irving jersey. … Though they haven’t officially ‘unveiled’ yet, we can get a glimpse of the Lakers white (“Icon”?) unis from this 2K18 screen shot (thanks, Paul). Thing is, the past several seasons the Lakers have worn the white unis as their “Sunday” home — would this be the new “Icon” or a third/fourth uni???
Soccer News: Liga MX jerseys are often criticized for featuring too many sponsor logos, destroying otherwise beautiful jerseys. Following on the recent releases of some new Liga MX 2017-18 kits with awfully many differently colored sponsor logos, Liga MX jerseys are often criticized for featuring too many sponsor logos, destroying otherwise beautiful jerseys. Following on the recent releases of some new Liga MX 2017-18 kits with awfully many differently colored sponsor logos, @losfondosmx have removed the sponsor logos of four Liga MX kits. (from Josh Hinton). … Speaking of ads, Ed Å»elaski” says “sleeve advertisers are getting ridiculous. £12mil a year from Tinder!” … Napoli unveiled their new away shirt yesterday for their Audi Cup match (also from Ed Å»elaski”). … STILL more from Ed: new shirts for newly promoted Serie B club Venezia. … These MLS All Star kits “hark back to the early- to mid-90s. The white is very sharp & clean! Good work,” says Shane Murray (via Smiley). … Manchester United might be ‘hooking up’ with Tinder as a jersey advertiser.
Grab Bag: Pretty cool “proportional” map (pie chart) here showing all the world’s languages (from Mike McBride). … Speaking of maps, this one is pretty awesome: the Roman Roads of Britain as an underground map (from James Gilbert). … From yesterday’s comments, “UNC is builing a new field hockey stadium so I thought I’d see what a Carolina Blue turf might look like,” another contribution from James Gilbert. … The Verizon Center in Washington DC is likely to be renamed the Capital One Center (from John Muir). … Here are two new logos for the Sunshine State Conference, a NCAA Division II conference, with 11 members, all located in Florida (from Wayne Koehler). Here’s a bit more on that. … Not uni related, but AMC wanted to replace the neon UPTOWN sign at the legendary one-screen movie theater in Cleveland Park, NW, but backed down. Several major movies, including 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered there (from William F. Yurasko). … The High Point University Panthers have unveiled a new secondary logo (from Bryan Rothamel”). … But will they still be around when that MLB deal kicks in? UA will cut nearly 300 jobs in a “restructring” plan. Interesting takeaway from that article, “Shares of Under Armour have plummeted about 49 percent over the past 12 months, with a big plunge coming after Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank issued comments praising President Trump as ‘a pro-business president’ and ‘a real asset for this country’.” I’m not saying there’s correlation and causation there, but it’s still interesting.