Please do not adjust your devices!
Your eyes really do not deceive you.
Once again, when it comes to brave, bold and brash football shirts, lower-league American soccer clubs are leading the charge.
Glitched, 3-D style goalkeeper shirts really are a thing and we have Maryland Bobcats from the 3rd tier of US professional soccer to thank for them.
Unburdened by dyed in the wool traditions, Stateside soccer clubs aren’t afraid to take a chance on something a little radical and the trends they set often influence the global super-brands’ shock-and-awe shirts for elite clubs.
So we’ll start by making a very bold prediction.
Do not be surprised if in 18 months’ time you see Kylian Mbappé, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi stepping out in something that looks more than a little bit like this.
This week saw the release of an early candidate for football shirt of the year, as Maryland Bobcats unveiled their brand new goalkeeper shirt for the 2021 season.
The fact that this eye-boggling, 3-D style shirt was released on April 1st led some misguided social media scholars of the beautiful game to check the rule book to see if this mind-bending shirt was actually legal!
The idea and design are the work of by Mark “Bing” Crosby, a freelance graphic designer focused on sports branding who has previously worked with his hometown club, Forward Madison, amid an impressive portfolio of clients.
Crosby had been playing around with faulty looking design elements whilst at the same time working on concepts for the Bobcats, when inspiration for the “Glitch” hit him during an episode of Marvel’s WandaVision.
That influence quickly evolved, twisting the state flag of Maryland into a goalkeeper shirt sure to dazzle, disorientate and yes, even discombobulate oncoming strikers.
We’re told that any psychological benefit achieved comes purely as a bonus, as the original intention was for this striking design to be an outfield jersey.
The Bobcats took Crosby’s blueprint to Hummel who produced the shirts through their custom, bespoke service, and being the absolute heroes they are; agreed to the continuation of the glitch theme all the way through to their famous bumblebee logo and chevrons to really make the finished article pop.
The plan was for the imperfect theme to continue round to the back, with the development of a bespoke, slightly less glitchy font that sadly didn’t pass the scrutiny of kit police at the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) who deemed the name-sets to be illegible – oh what might have been!
Our followers on Twitter will know we have strong opinions on how goalkeeper tops should be worn in public, so we give bonus points to Hummel, Maryland Bobcats and Mr Crosby for the fact that the Glitch is a short-sleeved shirt.
Hummel scored big hits in 2020 with the release of the Forward Madison “Drip” kit and Bristol City’s Schmeichel-esque goalkeeper shirt and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Glitch is right up there when the “Best of 2021” compilations are written.
Some have likened the shirt’s colours to a TikTok video and we certainly believe the eye-catching Glitch will put Maryland Bobcats and the National Independent Soccer Association firmly on the map for kit connoisseurs and collectors alike.
A goalkeeper shirt that continues the fine tradition of wild 80s and 90s designs without trying to imitate or ape them, this is a worthy recipient of our Kit of the Week title.