The Philadelphia Union have chose to honor Bethlehem Steel F.C., one of the most successful of the clubs in the early days (1911-1930 in this case) of American soccer on their third jersey this season. While the club only played in Philadelphia (as Philadelphia Field Club) for one season in it’s history it was the dominant club in Eastern Pennsylvania and one of the dominant clubs nationally during its existence.
I neither love nor hate this shirt, I just wish the club had done more with it. Yes, there’s the “B” on the hem of the shirt, the Bethlehem Steel logo at the back of the neck, and the shirt is black, but that’s it. Would shirt sponsor “Bimbo” really have been terribly put out if the “B” had been made larger and place on the chest as it was on the original B.S.F.C. shirt? If that wasn’t possible, why not keep the Bimbo word mark and use the Bethlehem Steel logo in place of the Union crest- it is, in a word, fantastic.
So, for my money, neither a hit, nor a miss, just a lost opportunity to do something pretty special. This “swing” and miss hits particularly hard here at the Tanner Ba’ as I spent two years living in Bethlehem, PA (only 2-3 blocks from “The Steel”) and because the majority of the players at B.S.F.C. during its heyday were Scottish, some of whom worked at the plant, but most of whom were essentially recruited just to play football. But I digress… Had the Union done something special with this shirt it would have gone a little way towards making up for this:
If there has been a worse shirt since the the days of MLS’ deal with Nike that produced the abominations worn by the MetroStars, Clash, Burn, etc.,* I haven’t seen it.
*The awful Revolution kits of that same period were made by Reebok.