Now here’s a shirt from MLS that made a lot of people happy in 2021.
If there’s been a criticism of adidas’ league wide monopoly over MLS kits in recent years it’s been around the cookie-cutter similarity of designs and in particular, the number of away jerseys that on first inspection, resembled nothing more than a collection of “plain white tees.”
Added to this is the sentiment that in the race towards global credibility and generally trying to fit in, Major League Soccer has lost a lot of its brave, young identity that set it apart from the rest of the world, as kits, crests and even club names have all become much more sensible than they were back in 1996.
Those early days saw teams like the NY/NJ Metro-Stars, Tampa Bay Mutiny and Dallas Burn line up in baggy kits apparently inspired by skateboarding and other so-called extreme sports.
As clubs move away from fire-breathing stallions and scorpions, the expanded league has become more homogenised, with a proliferation of “FCs,” “SCs” and rounded badges making everything seem more serious and well, European.
So it was refreshing to see LA Galaxy take us back to the 1990s and the colours of their early strips with the launch of their 2021 away shirt by adidas.
Long before David Beckham rocked-up in Los Angeles and a rebranding exercise changed their on-field outfit to a crisp all-white kit; players like Cobi Jones turned out in a quite individual colour-scheme.
Their first shirts in 1996 were a mainly halved affair with jagged edges and the name “Galaxy” daubed across the front, but it is the teal green and black stripes with gold accents worn between 1997 and 1999 that we most fondly associate with the founding members of MLS.
In fact, Galaxy also played in gold shirts with a green and black sash for a spell in the 2000s, but for many fans, those original colours were the ones they yearned to see adidas bring back to Los Angeles.
Ok, the fit is closer than those roomy jerseys from days gone by and Herbalife now occupies advertising space across the midriff, but these things can’t be helped and may signal some progress on the source material.
Galaxy fans are right to be pleased with this.
Put simply, this is about as faithful a reproduction of a club classic kit as you’re likely to see.
All that’s left to say is that if you fancy snatching one of these shirts, where possible, we’d highly recommend picking-up one of the more expensive and better-produced player issue shirts than the “stadium” version.
You’ll notice differences in the cut, quality of material and even aspects like the design of collars and cuffs, which effectively means there is a more noticeable tiering of product than you may find with releases from other leagues.
In our opinion, when buying MLS shirts, it’s well worth waiting for the authentic adidas shirts to be reduced in price than rushing for a lower-spec jersey, but as they say, your mileage may well vary!