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Match Fitness: Kit Competition, pt. 4

Fun with patterns for the Sounders and the Reign

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Best of 2013: Sounders FC by JaneG.Photography

Most of the way through this journey, we’ve looked at some crazy colors, an assortment of Rave Greens, and more. Kits aren’t always defined by their colors, though. This time around we’ll be looking at a collection of jerseys whose most prominent features are the patterns that they bare. This group includes some of the best jerseys the Seattle Sounders and OL Reign have worn, as well as some, uh, less-loved ones.

2013-14 Sounders Away

Best of 2013: Sounders FC by JaneG.Photography

The second Sounders jersey done in their shale color was an absolute banger. The shale was accented by rave green stripes and a vertical sash composed of interwoven lines of rave green and Pacific blue. The sash featured a color gradient, and was bisected by the Sounders crest and the jersey sponsor logo, with the weave of the sash growing denser as it moves from shoulder to waist. While the version the team wore on the field - and authentic versions worn by fans - were incredible, this jersey and it’s home companion that featured the wireframe Space Needle both truly suffered for how drastically different the replica versions were.

2016-17 Sounders Third “Pacific Blue”

2016 kit screen shot by Nate Saathoff

Alongside the Rave Green jersey with blue sleeves that the Sounders wore for 2016-17, the team also released a new third jersey. The Pacific Blue jersey featured a speckled, almost space dyed-looking front panel, with a light, robin’s egg blue accent color featured on the crest. The shorts inverted the colors, with that lighter blue color being the main color and the crest and Adidas logo being rendered in the darker blue. The striped socks gave the whole thing kind of a TRON vibe. The downside to this jersey was that the pattern on the front didn’t continue to the back (that’s sort of an ongoing issue). The thing that elevated the jersey in part wasn’t even the jersey itself, but rather the color-match gear that the team sold alongside the jersey, which made great use of the speckled pattern.

2018-19 Sounders Home

The 2018-19 home jersey that the Sounders wore was, in a word, divisive. Personally, I’m a fan, but complaints ranged from the fact that the jersey was an Adidas template (that was only prominently being worn by Ajax, which is pretty good company) to the people feeling that the sort of camo/paint sponge pattern was ugly, or just didn’t read well on TV. The reception seemed to improve once people saw it on the players, but there still are probably as many people who hate it as love it or simply think that it’s fine. I personally like the jersey, I appreciate that the choice of this template combined with the Sounders colors really felt like they were trying something, I think that the collar on the jersey is really good, and the move towards a scooped hemline for jerseys from Adidas is a really good look. This was the first jersey in a little while from the Sounders that worked as a fashion piece away from the field, in my opinion.

2018-19 Reign Home

Seattle Reign FC

Full-stop, this is a great jersey. There’s no arguing with that. I own one of these with Rapinoe on it, and I love it. Ahead of 2018 Nike put out a bunch of really great stuff for the 2018 World Cup and the seasons that followed, and NWSL and the Reign benefited from their relationship with the brand. The Reign’s primary blue-and-black color scheme works great in this zig-zag pattern, and the white accents make it pop. The only downside is that the pattern was a Nike template, and the brand used it a ton. In 2018 four other NWSL clubs also used the template, and in 2019 two more used it as well, meaning that only two of the nine NWSL clubs didn’t wear a kit with this pattern on it over the two seasons that the Reign wore the jersey. It’s still great, though.

2020-21 Sounders Home

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

If the Sounders 2018-19 jersey was divisive, this one cranked things up a notch. There’s a lot happening with the newest Sounders kit, and frankly none of it is working together especially well. The green gradient stripes are fine, even if folks may try to dunk on them by comparing the top to a watermelon, but if the pattern not continuing to the back of the Pacific Blue jersey above was an issue, the fact that the pattern doesn’t even continue up to the yoke of this one feels especially weird. To make that yoke even weirder, MLS decided to have teams feature a half-assed attempt at a throwback look on their jersey by using a watered-down version of the shoulder stripes that was featured on many Adidas kits from the ‘90s. Where the original version of the shoulder stripes replicated the three stripes of the Adidas logo by using thick marks that almost looked like pauldrons, the slimmer version on the 2020 MLS jerseys felt like a cop-out as the league attempted to honor its 25th season. Still, I don’t mind the jersey, but it does seem like small tweaks could have made it good or even great, rather than just fine.


Which kit is best?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    2013-14 Sounders Away
    (180 votes)
  • 43%
    2016-17 Sounders "Pacific Blue"
    (169 votes)
  • 1%
    2018-19 Sounders Home
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    2018-19 Reign Home
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    2020-21 Sounders Home
    (6 votes)
388 votes total Vote Now

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