Classic Football Shirts on quest to find every MLS jersey in league history

When tasked with finding every jersey in MLS history, where would you start?

Way back to the league’s inaugural kits ahead of the 1996 season, with the colorful LA Galaxy kits of yore? How about through the 2000s — including the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion — or backtrack from today, as the league prepares to enter its 25th season? With another two expansion sides taking the league’s current total to 26 in 2020, it’s a bit of a challenge, to put it lightly.

But it’s something Classic Football Shirts took up without hesitation.

“You’re almost on a treasure quest of sorts,” Gary Bierton, general manager of Classic Football Shirts, told MLSsoccer.com. “As soon as the guys from MLS were pretty much like ‘can it be done?’ Yeah. You can’t really help but take that challenge up.”

The Manchester, England-based retailer of soccer kits — nostalgic and new — from across the globe are about 85% complete with their quest, Bierton says.

Classic Football Shirts came into existence to satiate the appetite among supporters for memorable kits from years past, ranging from decades ago to even knockdown prices on recent kits. Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League winning shirt? Sure. The Netherlands’ classic orange 1988 European Championship winning shirt? You bet. AS Monaco’s full kits from last year, too, plus everything imaginable in-between. (For more info, the BBC did a wonderful profile of the company last year.)

Recently, though, Classic Football Shirts began putting together exhibitions of some of their best and most unique classic kits, one of which was in conjunction with New York City FC.

“Essentially, we started doing exhibitions and building an archive of match-worn shirts a couple of years ago,” Bierton said. “We ended up in New York during the World Cup doing an exhibition with NYCFC. We’ve been working on expanding our collection.”

Now, they’re embarking on finding every single MLS jersey in league history. The hope is to display their nostalgic MLS shrine in the coming months, similar to their exhibit with NYCFC.

It’s not easy tracking down all the old threads, of course. While cautious not to reveal their trade secrets, Classic Football Shirts have gone about acquiring all of the kits across multiple fronts, including eBay as well as directly from brands and clubs.

A few shirts, in particular, have given the gang particular trouble.

“Certainly, a few of them have been quite the journey to find,” Bierton said. “The inaugural season away shirts for most teams have been really difficult. And there’s a MetroStars kit that sits in the office that I had never seen before. There’s a certain era – like 1999-2001 – where certain teams become quite difficult to find. You get to kind of beyond 2006 and that’s where it’s fairly straightforward. In a weird way, it mirrors the commercial impact of the league in the long run. I mean, David Beckham (who joined the LA Galaxy in 2007) is always going to sell you more jerseys.”

On a personal note, Bierton still holds up the inaugural LA Galaxy kit, the Metrostars 1997 jersey and any of the late 2000s Galaxy shirts as some of his personal favorites.

The Manchester United supporter hopes these classic MLS kits will soon be as readily available as those from his beloved United and others around Europe.

“American supporters have this idea of what the nostalgia is with football shirts, but have only really started to figure out the connection with their own teams,” Bierton said. “I’d love to be able to buy those Galaxy shirts from ’96, the MetroStars from ’97 the same way I can readily buy a Manchester United kit from that season. But that’s where our interest has piqued.”

Section III girls soccer all-star game set for Friday night

The best senior girls soccer players in the area will come come together on Friday night for the Section III All-Star game at Sports Center 481.

The match will consist of two 45-minute halves and kickoff is set for 9 p.m. There will be 11 players on each side.

Admission costs $3 for students and $5 for adults.

Here are the rosters:

White jerseys:

Coaches – Brent Ostrander (Fayetteville-Manlius)

Auburn: Abigail Marinelli

Bishop Grimes: Jaida Addley

Chittenango: Sarah Martin; Savannah Penoyer; Ally Shoemaker

DeRuyter: Kali Lidell; Taylor Way

Fabius Pompey: Ashley Osborn; Ana Videto

Fayetteville-Manlius: Laura Bonomo; Lauren Farrella; Anna Hartzheim; Haley Ingram; Hannah Knych; Abby Obrist

Dark jerseys:

Coaches – Jaime Vollmer (East Syracuse Minoa)

East Syracuse Minoa: Hailey Cwikla; Bella Pickard

Jamesville-DeWitt: Sydney Baker; Ava Brazie; Grace Bridge; Katie Cappelletti; Grace Dimkopoulos; Tonia Kousmanidis; Denise Yaeger

LaFayette: Tori Albro; Kenji Frazier

Marcellus: Lauren Keyes; Ellie Shaw

McGraw: Taylor Conklin

Phoenix: Madison Pelton

Adidas’s Basic MLS Kit Designs are Becoming a Problem

MLS teams mostly haven’t released their 2020 uniform designs yet. A certain section of fans have clamored for the league and Adidas to put the latest jerseys out in time for the holidays, but those concerns have apparently fallen on deaf ears. That is a bit of a wonder, considering how much MLS seems to value its merchandising sales.

We’ve seen many of the uniforms already via leaks, and as Twitter will for the most part tell you, they are bad. Very bad. Not bad in an interesting way, either. They’re basic, templated, and lazy, and they allow teams to take on precious little identity for themselves.

You’ll see those three shoulder stripes on a number of MLS uniforms this year. They are reportedly intended as a tribute to the league’s 25th anniversary. Leaked Philadelphia Union kits, from FIFA Mobile, also show the prominent stripes on the shoulder.

This comes after a year in which a number of uniforms featured similar sublimated stripes on the jerseys. Minnesota United, who count a beautiful light blue as one of their colors, really wore this kit last year:

I see barely any light blue there. The dark gray is ugly, and the lighter gray acts as an out-of-place centerpiece color. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a light blue base, but you can’t toss varying shades of gray on a palette as an excuse for not using your prettiest color.
Change not always for the better

There was a time a few years ago that Adidas produced more acceptable uniforms. But soccer teams unveil at least one new uniform every year, primarily in the interest of garnering fresh merchandising dollars. That construct, releasing a new kit every year, dilutes the quality of uniforms; if you produce a good-looking set one year, you’ll have to find a way to change it a year or two later. Downgrades are inevitable. It’s hard to cultivate a consistent visual identity, particularly for MLS teams, who don’t have the tradition or history of European clubs.

Atlanta United, for example, wore a beautiful Five Stripe kit in their first two years of existence, inspiring a club nickname. But it enjoyed only two years of existence, and they looked considerably worse in a weird, pseudo-AC Milan uniform in 2019. The only reason they departed from what worked was merchandising dollars. It’s an unfortunate reality.

Adidas and MLS could offset the need to constantly produce new kits by, you know, producing good kits. You don’t have to change things drastically. Just make solid, unique designs that highlight the club’s colors and set the team apart. Rarely has Adidas met those objectives. Templated formats eliminate originality and uniqueness, and shutter visual identities. The great color schemes that some teams have are reduced to a tiny element of their cumulative art. Plain white T-shirts and mono looks are recipes for boring standardization.

Games can be less fun and interesting to watch as a result of this design malpractice. Uniform matchups are boilerplate and familiar. All-white vs. all-dark is a constant look, and sometimes you can’t even tell which teams you’re watching immediately. It is really not that hard for Adidas to have teams wear, say, different color shorts from jerseys.

We can only hope that MLS will move away from the Adidas contract when it expires. Until then, teams should be allowed to take greater control in the design process, to prevent templates and plain kits.

People like good colors. Use them! We’ll give it to the powers that be in a language they’ll understand: Good-looking jerseys will sell more.

NHL reveals All-Star Game jerseys, pays homage to St. Louis

As the NHL All-Star Game nears, anticipation grows not only for the event but for what the league’s top stars will look like on the ice.

Fans around the league had that anticipation met with, well, mixed feelings Wednesday when the NHL revealed its jerseys for the 2020 All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Now, before we go any further, let’s dive into the details.

Under the format in which each division makes up its own team and plays a mini-tournament, they all need to be equipped with both dark and light uniform options. When this is the case, it’s hard to make all the teams’ color schemes work with a black or white primary on a jersey. To simplify this challenge, the designers went with a monochromatic logo for each of the 31 teams, limiting their individual schemes so that, hopefully, they look better on just a black or white background.

Some, like the Devils, Maple Leafs, Kings and Blues, look fine because they already have mostly monochromatic logos, while others, such as the Penguins, Canucks, Bruins and Blackhawks, miss the target. Also, keep in mind that some will look better on white rather than black and vice versa, so be sure to check them both out before making a purchase.

There are some hidden intricacies that the league capitalized on with the event heading for St. Louis. Lines across the front represent a musical staff and the trumpets reaching out on either side of the NHL shield on the logo pay homage to the host team — the Blues — because trumpets are common instruments in the blues genre. Also, at the bottom of the patch lies the Gateway Arch, the most prominent part of the St. Louis skyline.

And to maybe toot their own horn (pun intended), a star noticeably sits underneath that arch. And while hockey teams do not adhere to the tradition of adding a star to their logos after winning league championships, as soccer teams do, it’s quite likely that this star is intended to bring light to the fact that the Blues are reigning NHL champions.

Yes, stars have been in every NHL All-Star logo as of late because, after all, it is the All-Star game, but they are often fancied up to add some flair to the logo, whereas this one is very matter-of-fact. This one likely serves a double meaning, but maybe it’s just me.

All-Star weekend kicks off Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. ET with the skills competition. The All-Star Game competition starts at 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 26. Click here for a full schedule of events.

Adidas MLS jerseys are bad, plus decade reviews: Freedom Kicks for 2 January 2019

I hope that everyone had a good New Year’s Day yesterday, and we now round-up the last vestiges of 2019 before turning towards the next decade of soccer. To the links!

Last call for our retrospective on the past decade of D.C. United moments. With a lot of LEWIS NEAL!

Ben Olsen makes his appropriate return to the conversation of this list, after having been wrongly ignored for the past few years.

As may be appropriate for how D.C. United played in 2019, there is no mention of the team.

The D.C. United player is as obvious as it is well-deserved.

This is the new Inter Miami jersey, and it needs to be more vibrant and explosive. A very mild pink placed on the same template as everyone else doesn’t do much for me.

But all of this belies a larger point: all of Adidas jerseys this year, and indeed for the past couple of years, are based on the exact same template. The jersey that you’ve seen for the New York Red Bulls, mostly black with red highlight and three red stripes on the shoulder, is likely to be very similar to the jersey that D.C. United is going to get when it comes it in February or so.

The blandification of MLS jerseys over the past decade has coincided with MLS’ Adidas partnership, and I think it is time for the league to shake some things up. How often have we seen interviews with the D.C. United front office where we hear hints and rumors about the awesome kits that they wanted to design, only to be shot down by Adidas or the league?

We could have had a pink cherry blossom kit, which would have been amazing!

Nike, for all there other faults, at least tries things. Whenever the contract comes back up, I hope the league goes another way, because Adidas has gotten to complacent.

Are these the Inter Miami CF jerseys?

Have Inter Miami CF’s inaugural jerseys leaked?

Pictures of what appears to be the soccer club’s jerseys for its debut season in the MLS have surfaced online. Todo Sobre Camisetas tweeted pictures of the alleged leaked home and away kit.

According to Todo Sobre Camisetas, Inter Miami’s home jerseys will be white with three pink stripes on the shoulders and Adidas logo. A pattern with an “M” on the shield appears on the fabric, while the word “Miami” will be on the back of the neck.

The away shirt will be black with a pink Adidas logo on the right side of the chest and pink stripes on the right shoulder, according to the Tweet. There will be a tag that refers to the inaugural season on the away jersey.

Messages to Inter Miami management seeking confirmation of the report were not immediately returned.

Inter Miami CF announced on Monday that Diego Alonso will serve as the club’s first head coach ahead of its inaugural 2020 MLS season.

Inter Miami picked up two more players for its roster last weekend, including Panamanian national team captain Román Torres.

The expansion team begins play on the road on March 1 against Los Angeles FC. Inter Miami’s home opener is March 14 against the Los Angeles Galaxy and will be held in the team’s new stadium, at the former site of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdae.

GOING OUT A CHAMPION: QBFC co-owner Villa retires as Vissel Kobe captures Emperors Cup

David Villa went out a winner as his Vissel Kobe team captured the Emperors Cup Wednesday.

The World Cup champion and Queensboro FC co-owner played the final minutes of the match as Kissel Kobe recorded a 2-0 victory over the Kashima Antlers in the first soccer game at National Stadium in Tokyo.

Fellow World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski were the key figures for the the winning side, which secured its first piece of silverware ever.

The first goal scored in the new stadium, built for this year’s Olympics Games, was an own goal from Antlers defender Tomoya Inukai in the 18th minute. Kobe forward Noriaki Fujimoto added another goal in the 38th minute.

The 37-year-old Villa, who had been struggling to regain his playing fitness, was greeted by cheers from Kobe supporters. The former Spanish international tallied 13 goals in 28 league matches.

In the new year, Villa will start to build the Queensboro FC roster and name a coach. QBFC will compete in the USL Championship in 2021.

“I lived and played in New York for four years. I know what a special place Queens is,” Villa said when the team was unveiled Nov. 12. “I love the cultures, the food, the people and their passion for life and, of course, soccer. There is no other place like it in the world. It’s a dream to help build this football club in Queens and I couldn’t choose a better location.”

Villa played four years with New York City FC in Major League Soccer.

5 stabbed at Hanukkah celebration in rabbi’s New York home

As people gathered at a rabbi’s home north of New York City to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah, police said a man stabbed and wounded five before fleeing in a vehicle.
The Saturday night stabbings come on the heels of a string of attacks targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month. The rabbi’s home is in Monsey, a town not far from the New Jersey state line and one of several in the Hudson Valley that has seen an influx of Hasidic Jews in recent years. The Rockland County town is about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of New York City.
Police said the stabbings happened at around 10 p.m. Hours later, Brad Weidel, the police chief for the town of Ramapo, which covers Monsey, said that New York City police had located a vehicle and a possible suspect sought in connection with the attack. The NYPD hadn’t confirmed whether anyone was in custody as of early Sunday morning. Authorities did not immediately provide a motive for the attack.
Five people were hospitalized, Weidel said. The extent of their injuries weren’t immediately clear.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley region tweeted reports that the stabbings took place at the house of a Hasidic rabbi during a Hanukkah celebration.
The large home on Forshay Road remained cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape early Sunday. According to public records, the home belongs to Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, who leads the adjacent synagogue. Several state and local officials had described the location of the stabbings as a synagogue.
Aron Kohn told The New York Times he was inside the residence during the stabbings.
“I was praying for my life,” said Kohn, 65. “He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn’t have time to react at all.”
The attack drew condemnation from top state officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James, as well as from Israel’s president and prime minister.
“Israel unequivocally condemns the recent expressions of anti-Semitism and the vicious attack in the middle of Hanukkah on the rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We send our wishes of recovery to the wounded. We will cooperate in every way with the local authorities in order to defeat this phenomenon. We offer our help to each and every state.”
Cuomo, who called the stabbings a “cowardly act,” directed the New York State Police hate crimes task force to investigate.
“Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate,” he said in a statement. “In New York we will always stand up and say with one voice to anyone who wishes to divide and spread fear: you do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished.”
Jewish communities in the New York City metropolitan area have been left shaken following a deadly Dec. 10 shooting rampage at a Jersey City kosher market. Six people — three people who had been inside the store, a police officer and the two killers — died in the gunbattle and standoff that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has said was “fueled” by hatred of Jews and law enforcement.
Last month, a man was stabbed while walking to a synagogue in the same town that was the site of Saturday night’s attack; he required surgery. It’s unclear whether the assailant has been arrested.
And this past week in New York City itself, police have received at least six reports — eight since Dec. 13 — of attacks possibly motivated by anti-Jewish bias. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that police presence would increase in Brooklyn neighborhoods home to large Jewish populations.
“I am so sad for this openly #orthodox #Jewish community & the ones across the region,” tweeted Evan Bernstein, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey who went to the scene in Monsey. “When will a break from this hate come? When will the community be able to be relaxed again? #Hanukkah will never be the same for so many of the #Jews impacted.”
___
Madden reported from New York.

Bayern Munich’s replica jerseys are so authentic, Coutinho plays in a kid’s size one!

Some sharp-eyed reporters at The Sun spotted something a little funny about Phil Coutinho’s jersey when he thrashed Werder Bremen, scoring a hat-trick and making two assists: Coutinho’s authentic jersey was a little less authentic than those of his teammates. That is, he was wearing a replica jersey like those typically sold in Bayern Munich’s fanshop.

If you can access Getty Images’s high-definition photographs and look very closely at Coutinho’s jersey, you’ll notice that the fabric is slightly different from his teammates’ jerseys. Joshua Kimmich was also apparently wearing an authentic “replica” jersey rather than the “official-official” jersey — or something like that.

In a rare instance of trans-Channel sports tabloid collaboration, Bild to the bottom of the mystery spotted by The Sun: before the season begins, Adidas provides Bayern with jerseys for all the players in their sizes. But Coutinho joined the club after the team’s jerseys were delivered.

So Bayern had to make do with what was available. Unfortunately, though, the available sizes of their “authentic” home jerseys did not fit him very well, so he opted instead for the less expensive replica jersey — youth size 176!Coutinho at least has proper away jerseys. At home, though, he will have to play in his own replica jersey until the end of the year, after which Adidas presumably will deliver a crate of official-official player jerseys for him in the appropriate size. As Bild explains, every player receives two brand-new jerseys before every game, so they can change them at halftime if necessary.

Liverpool FC’s unsuccessful trade mark application – is there no home-field advantage?

Liverpool FC’s trade mark applications for the word “Liverpool” have been unsuccessful. The applications themselves were met with some criticism from their fan base. Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson (incidentally an Everton supporter) was also critical of the applications and tweeted: “I do not believe you can trade mark a city name”. In this article, we explore whether Mr Anderson is correct in this assessment.

The default position for UK trade marks is that a mark, which amongst other things, consists exclusively of signs/indications designating geographical origin shall not be registered. However, there is an exception to this absolute ground for refusal when the applicant can show that the mark has acquired a distinctive character as a result of its use before the date of the application. In making its assessment as to whether a mark has acquired distinctiveness, the UKIPO takes into account a number of factors (e.g. market share, intensity and duration of use) to determine the presumed expectation of average consumers when seeing the mark in relation to the categories of products applied for. Mere recognition or association on the part of consumers is not enough; consumers must rely on the mark as indicating the origin of the goods. So, for example, as one of Liverpool FC’s applications covered football boots, the UKIPO examiner will have considered whether average consumers seeing the word “Liverpool” on a pair of football boots would rely on the word as indicating that the boots have been manufactured by, or in association with, Liverpool FC.

Liverpool FC’s applications covered a variety of goods but were relatively narrow in scope in that the goods related to football or the club. Indeed, in line with the scope of the applications, Liverpool FC put out a statement that their applications were intended to protect the club and supporters “from those benefiting from inauthentic products”. The strength of a trade mark for a club’s name when used to combat the selling of unofficial goods is well established in English law. The famous case of Arsenal v Reed involved a street trader selling unofficial Arsenal FC merchandise. It was argued by the trader that the mark was not being used to indicate origin but to indicate support for Arsenal FC. While the merits of the argument were recognised, ultimately it was held by the Court of Appeal that the street trader was infringing the trade mark.

Despite the media coverage surrounding Liverpool FC’s applications, it is not unusual for a football club to attempt to trade mark a geographical location which has become synonymous with their club. For example, there is a UK trade mark currently on the register for the word mark “Tottenham”. This was granted in 2004 and covers a wide variety of goods including clothing, without any limitation that such clothing must relate to football. Conversely, Chelsea FC, in 2016 was granted a registered trade mark for “Chelsea” but only in relation to clothes “relating to and/or bearing indicia of Chelsea Football Club”. The Chelsea mark is only slightly narrower in scope than Liverpool FC’s applications but substantially narrower than the Tottenham mark. Notably, neither of the two big Manchester clubs have attempted to register “Manchester”; perhaps recognising the difficulty they may face in proving acquired distinctiveness. Manchester United FC own a registered trade mark for “Manchester United”; and Manchester City FC have registered trade marks for “Manchester City FC” and “Man City” but no application has been made for “Manchester City” which would arguably be akin to a trade mark application for a city name. As noted above, Arsenal, the only one of the big six English football clubs to not be named after a location, has had significant success in combatting unauthorised street traders with their registered trade mark for “Arsenal”.

The concerns of Liverpool’s Mayor are perhaps understandable because the variety of goods and services applied for by Liverpool FC was reasonably broad and included, for example, entertainment in the nature of football games. Further, lower league clubs such as AFC Liverpool, and City of Liverpool FC may have been concerned about infringement risk simply by going about their ordinary business. Of course, some of these concerns may have been addressed if Liverpool FC had amended their application to be in line with the Chelsea mark i.e. the goods and services must relate to the club rather than football in general. The Tottenham mark is perhaps the most worrying for third parties in that it is extremely broad and not limited to either Tottenham Hotspur FC or the sport of football. By way of example, the club owns the trade mark for the word “Tottenham” as applied to coffee – a coffee shop based in Tottenham called “Tottenham Coffee” could find themselves being accused of trade mark infringement even if they had no interest in football or the well-known club. Although in this situation, it may be possible for such a café to deploy a number of defences. For example, under the Trade Mark Act, a trade mark is not infringed by the use of, amongst other things, a sign which indicates the geographical origin of the goods or services provided the use is in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters.

Further concerns come from supporters’ groups, such as the Spirit of Shankly who believe that the name of the club belongs to the people of the city of Liverpool rather than a corporate entity. Indeed, the creation, buying and selling of clothing and merchandise bearing the name of their favourite team is seen by many to be part of the football experience and something many fans hold dear. In an age where the cost of football is criticised in some quarters, the prospect of seeking to prevent a street trader selling “Liverpool” branded clothing is unlikely to be palatable to some supporters. Of course, these concerns must be balanced against the need to protect the brand particularly from counterfeiters who free-ride on the success of the club.

In essence, contrary to Mr Anderson’s statement, a city or place name can in theory be the subject of registered trade mark protection; but much will depend on whether there is acquired distinctiveness. However, the scope of any granted mark in terms of goods/services covered might well be limited. Based on a review of the register as detailed above, the approach taken by the UKIPO to place names appears to have become stricter in recent years. Indeed, it has been reported that Liverpool FC’s application was unsuccessful due to the city’s “geographical significance”. Given this, clubs may decide to focus on promoting and protecting their nicknames (e.g. Spurs, Citizens etc.). The benefit being that such nicknames rarely include geographical locations and so a broader scope of trade mark protection may be possible. Moreover, a heavily promoted and used nickname is more likely to be used by counterfeiters and so registered protection to deter them is important.

In an interesting development, on 16 October 2019 L’Oréal applied for the word mark Liverpool in relation to hair care products. This application has been published but has not generated much public debate. It will be interesting to see whether the examiner takes a similar view as to the geographical significance of the city in this context.