Normally, when it comes to new kits, I like to get my opinion up on the site as quickly as possible. However, as I told KC Gunner on Twitter last night, I needed to sleep on this one. Having now done so I think I can offer a few thoughts on it.
Here’s what I know for sure:
Maybe I’m oversimplifying things, but I think the big problem can be summed up in one phrase: Adidas, aided and abetted by Major League Soccer. As I’ve said many times before when it comes to the Adidas-MLS partnership, I get it. I get it on every level. It helps the league with branding and marketing, it provides a uniform (sorry) image “look” for the casual fan to recognize, it provides guaranteed money to the league (not the clubs, that’s important), and it provides some financial stability for the league. The problem is that it also stifles each club’s ability to differentiate itself from the others, from brokering it’s own kit deals, etc.. I know what MLS fears is that clubs like L.A. and the N.Y. clubs will become Nike or Adidas clubs and that the kit deals will filter down from there and end up with San Jose wearing Del Mar High School’s old junior varsity kits, but that’s big time football, and frankly, how is it any different from MLS making sure that marquee players end up at these same clubs? But back to the kit…
There is nothing “wrong” with an all-white kit, but as worn by New England in the past they have been generic Adidas templates and have added nothing of aesthetic worth to the club or the league. So, as I said in my first bullet point, moving away from white- in this case toward red- is an improvement. Which brings us to the execution of the new kit, which I don’t like. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it.
Again, I think the problem originates with Adidas. Clubs are offered a limited number of templates and color combinations by Adidas and then must do their best to shoehorn their identity into one of these kits. The result being that no matter how creative a club might be, their kits end up looking too close to those of other clubs. In this case, swap out the club crests and change the green trim to blue and you’ll find yourself looking at something that could easily be worn by Chicago, Dallas, New York, and maybe even Toronto or the late Chivas U.S.A..
You know what could have vastly improved this shirt? An alternate badge based on the New England flag- or even just the flag itself. Need some ideas? Do a Google Image Search for “New England Revolution Logo Change” and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m done now, but let me just plant a seed with you.
In the last six months New England has signed its first legitimate designated player, made it back to MLS Cup, resigned Juan Agudelo, continued to search for a soccer-specific stadium location, and now have tweaked their away kit…things are starting to add up.