At this point, most people who aren't newborns are familiar with this line from Field of Dreams: "If you build it, he will come." In case you need a recap: Kevin Costner interpreted this message as instructions to build a baseball field. When he did, Shoeless Joe Jackson and other famous players who had passed away emerged from the cornfields to play some baseball.
Well, what if Kevin Costner built a field that was always flooded? Would Shoeless Joe Jackson still have shown up? My guess is no.
Why am I raising this strange question? For years, Adidas and the Seattle Sounders have been selling women's jerseys with a low neckline. Now, there are many women who prefer a lower neckline or a v-neck style for their clothing -- including their jerseys -- and I have seen a ton of people wearing this style who look fantastic. However, there is also a large percentage of women who prefer to have their jersey match the style the team wears when they step onto the pitch, or who want a neckline that doesn't reveal too much cleavage.
Still, despite significant pushback from fans and the Alliance Council, Adidas hasn't budged. In fact, an Adidas rep told the Alliance Council a few years ago that women's attire sold poorly, which was why Adidas lacked any significant interest in making changes to women's jerseys.
"If you build it, he will come."
Adidas built and promoted an option that many women didn't want. It's no wonder sales were below what they might expect or want. But if a product doesn't meet consumer needs, you don't blame the consumer. You change it.
However, nothing had changed when the new jerseys were unveiled this year. That is, until fans saw that NYCFC had women's jerseys with a regular neckline. This discovery prompted Alliance Council President Stephanie Steiner to write this blog post detailing why this was so frustrating to women Sounders fans.
Four months later, Steiner returned to the topic on a much more positive note. Here's what she had to say:
Today, I am proud and honored. I have learned that adidasTM and Sounders FC were able to make changes even this far into the production schedule. The 2017 offering will include a women's jersey with a more authentic neckline and cut. Making such a change happen after the jerseys were this far into the production cycle is no small feat, and speaks greatly to the respect that Sounders FC has for us and the concern we brought forward.
This is positive news for a large number of Sounders fans. On a more personal note, I've been waiting for months to purchase one of those gorgeous Pacific Blue jerseys, but continue to put the decision on hold. I could opt for a men's version, sure, but it wouldn't fit correctly and I certainly wouldn't be happy spending so much money on something I didn't love. So I continue to sob on the inside when I see a Pacific Blue flash walk by me on matchday (okay, not really that dramatic, but that kit is seriously amazing).
My story is not unique. That's why I'm grateful to the Alliance Council and all the fans who contacted the Sounders for making this change possible. And I'm grateful to the Sounders for listening and building a better metaphorical field. I can't wait to don a kit that fits next year. Now comes the hard decision: whose jersey do I purchase?