Kit of the Week #105: Unbelievable JEF (United)!

Hummel have released another 90s influenced kit to make football shirt connoisseurs smile.

To fully appreciate the nostalgia overload this design stirs in our bellies, we must take a trip back in time to when players like Zico, Pierre Litbarski and Gary Lineker moved to Japan for the closing chapters of their careers.

JEF United were one of 10 founding members of the J.League when it officially kicked off in 1993.

JEF United Chiba, Hummel, Shirt, 2022
Then & Now: JEF United in Mizuno and Hummel

Their yellow, green and red shirts starred alongside those of Nagoya Grampus Eight, Verdy Kawasaki and Shimizu S-Pulse in a riot of colour that seemed to jump straight out of an anime film.

Japanese soccer was quickly embraced by video games developers, with the kits of those 10 clubs outshining the 16-BIT Sega Mega Drive gameplay of J-League Champion Soccer, an early forerunner to games like Pro Evolution Soccer and the FIFA series, that brought the names of those teams to a hungry international audience.

JEF United Chiba, Mizuno, Shirt, 1992
The classic shirt by Mizuno that spawned Hummel’s 2022 version

JEF United Ichihara Chiba to give them their full name, are located in the Chiba prefecture about 25 miles to the east of Tokyo and like many of Japan’s football clubs, The Dogs’ origins are drawn from the works teams of a local employer.

In this case, the club was originally founded 75 years ago as Furukawa Electric SC, with the later name, JEF, taken from the JR East and Furukawa Electric companies.

JEF United Chiba, Hummel, Shirt, 2022
Hummel replace Kappa for the 2022 season

Hummel’s first kit of this new relationship directly references the Mizuno design worn by JEF United between 1993-96.

We have the same green block of colour applied to a vivid yellow base, with flashes of red and blue set against a background pattern inspired by Copenhagen’s edgy Superkilen Park.

Green shorts and yellow socks complete the full kit for the side who now find themselves in Japanese football’s second tier.

As an example of how to announce yourself as a new supplier, you don’t get much better than what Hummel have done for JEF United.

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