A true global icon is the inspiration for the Seattle Sounders’ second-ever “Community Kit.” While Wednesday’s unveiling of the Bruce Lee Kit was not exactly a surprise thanks to various leaks and teasers, seeing the new uniform in its full splendor was still impressive as all the details and inspirations were fleshed out.
Just like Bruce, Seattle is defined by duality.— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) February 15, 2023
Featuring Han Eckelberg (Mak Fai Kung Fu Dragon & Lion Dance Association) pic.twitter.com/2FgcHbIVRC
The kit’s unveiling coincides with the 50th anniversary of both Lee’s death and the release of “Enter the Dragon,” considered to be one of the greatest martial arts films ever made.
This is hardly the first soccer kit to make use of the Chinese dragon, but the presentation, which focuses more on its scales and body than the head, does appear to be unique in the soccer world. The scale pattern is apparently hand-drawn, and it includes other bespoke details like Bruce Lee’s signature as the jock tag and his “core symbol” on the back of the neck.
The kit was developed in collaboration with Lee’s daughter, Shannon, and the Bruce Lee Foundation. Similar to the Jimi Hendrix Kit that this one replaces, up to $50,000 of proceeds from the first 30 days of sales will be donated to the Bruce Lee Foundation and Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. The funds will be earmarked for youth programming and a curriculum that emphasizes Lee’s teachings as they relate to soccer, movement and art, as well as expanding opportunities for youth programs and experiences that share Lee’s teachings across Washington State.
In addition to its $50,000 investment, the Sounders are also committing to build a mini pitch in 2024 celebrating Lee’s teachings, in collaboration with the Bruce Lee Foundation and Wing Luke Museum.
“I am so honored that the Sounders wanted to create this kit around my father’s legacy and that it’s not just a kit but a whole collaboration that includes community impact and true legacy,” Shannon said in a release. “My father has a deep and dear history with Seattle as a place of learning, teaching, friendship, growth, inspiration, love and ultimately rest. And so, it feels fortuitous to come together with the Sounders to represent him not only as the Dragon he was, but also reflect him more deeply within the community that helped to shape him so fundamentally.”
Lee was born in San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong, but moved to Seattle to finish high school and then attended the University of Washington, where he met his wife Linda. He apparently considered Seattle home and opened his first martial arts studio here. He is now buried at Lake View Cemetery.
“This uniform is a completely unique look for the club and one that we are proud to put on the pitch, promoting the inspiring life and teachings of Bruce Lee,” Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer said in a team release. “It was an honor for the club to work hand-in-hand with Shannon Lee, the Bruce Lee Family Company and the Bruce Lee Foundation to develop such a beautiful and distinctive tribute to their beloved family member, and Sounders FC is looking forward to furthering deliberate work in the community to bring Bruce’s story and teachings to life.”
The red, black and yellow colors are a notable departure from previous Sounders kits in the MLS era, but is not entirely new to the organization. During the USL era, the Sounders used red jerseys in at least two seasons.
In addition to the kit, the Sounders also released an accompanying “lifestyle” line that includes a bomber jacket, two scarves and several sweatshirts.