By Phil Hecken
A few months back, I had the pleasure of bringing you some of the wonderful uniform “tweaks” of Lance Hall, who had taken on the monumental task of redesigning the SEC. At the time, Lance said he had a few more ideas in the works, and now he’s back with tweaks of an entirely different nature — the MLS. Yes, that’s “Major League Soccer” for those of use who don’t know the nomenclature. I did know that, but I did not know that the 2011 MLS season actually kicks off this Tuesday, with the Seattle Sounders playing the LA Galaxy, in a game we can see on ESPN. Um…sweet?
I will be the first to tell you I really don’t follow soccer (unless it’s the World Cup), and if I did, it probably wouldn’t be the American game. However, I know that both world-wide and states-side there is quite a contingent of soccer (football) fans, and Lance is certainly among them. So, to follow-up his tremendous SEC-tweaking effort, Lance has decided to take on the entire MLS. But he didn’t just grab a cheesy template and MS Paint in some colors — Lance actually created an entirely new template, based off of the Nike Pro Combat template that everyone and their sister has been using to create football concepts. And, if that’s not enough, he’s sharing that template with us.
So, allow me to reintroduce to you Lance Hall, as he takes us through the first nine teams he’s concepted. Because there are so many teams, and Lance takes us through the design process of each one, this is going to be Part I — the second Part will follow next weekend. Here’s Lance:
Tweakin’ the Other Major League
By Lance Hall
It’s time to launch another Major League season… no not the pajama pants league. Major League Soccer kicks off Tuesday with the LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC. That means we have a whole summer to sit in sports bars watching third priority standard def TVs perched in corners over Golden Tee machines, wondering to ourselves, “Is that Real Salt Lake or DC United playing against Houston?”
In an attempt to get excited about this year’s MLS season, I’ve redesigned the kits for all 18 teams. I borrowed (stole) some ideas from Brian Strauss’ excellent article, which is a great place to find photos of all the official MLS jerseys. I’ve also thrown in two bonus teams just so we can have a full 20 team table.
I did my best to follow a few necessary rules for designing soccer uniforms. First, I put a sponsor on every shirt, even if the team doesn’t currently have one. Any soccer kit has to support a potential sponsor since you never know when the corporate suits are going to cut a deal with an international bread company. Second, since all the uniforms are made by a single company, I tried to follow the Adidas design styles and use the three stripes on the shoulders, shorts and socks as much as possible. Finally, there’s a long tradition in soccer of “victory stars” over the team crest/badge. Currently, MLS only recognizes the winner of the MLS Cup tournament with a victory star. I added stars for winners of the Supporters Shield as well. The Shield is awarded to the team with the most table points at the end of the season. Frankly, I think that’s a much bigger accomplishment.
I created the custom Photoshop template along the lines of the infamous Nike Pro-Combat football template that’s become so prevalent in the last year, and I’m happy to share it with the Uniwatch faithful (that’s the jpg) and if you go here, you should be able to download the photoshop PSD file. Yes, that’s England superstar John Terry as the template image. That photo was the best image I could find for building the template. It could’ve been worse. It could’ve been Beckham or Rooney. If nothing else, we get to see John Terry wearing MLS kits of all colors and styles. I think he looks smashing in the KC alternate shirt. So here goes…
1. Chicago Fire: The Fire have carved out an iconic look with the single white chest stripe and a monochrome red kit. Best Buy is no longer a sponsor, so this year they’re back to just “FIRE” on the stripe. I opted for a fake sponsor, and added two victory stars over the badge for their MLS Cup win in 1998 and the Supporters Shield win in 2003. The victory stars are of the six-sided variety, instead of the standard five, to reflect the six-sided stars on the Chicago City flag. The sky blue away shirt is for the same reason, and overall I’ve tried to decrease the number of all white kits so we can tell who the hell that is on the corner TV at the wing joint.
2. Chivas USA: The first thing that had to be done with Chivas USA was redo their badge. I’ve replaced the seal of the City of Guadalajara with the seal of the City of Los Angeles. You know, the city where they play! Their current home kit consists of red vertical stripes, navy pants and navy socks. It’s a classic look borrowed from their namesake and so I just lost some of the more modern and evil Adidas piping that keeps creeping into decent good-hearted jersey designs.
3. Colorado Rapids: A new victory star is added to the badge for their MLS Cup win last year. The main colors are the same as the current kit, burgundy shirt and white shorts. I say stick with a look once you win a championship. I added banded socks to try and give it some soccerish gusto. More work went into the away shirt, drawing off the two toned highlights in the team badge. Finally, the alternate jersey is a fauxback to the original green/black look the team sported in their early years. Oddly, I love the look of the fake Coors sponsor.
4. Columbus Crew: The Crew badge looks like an intern went down to the corner construction site and took a picture of a few random dudes, then half-assed Photoshop filtered them, threw his hands in the air and said, “What the hell, let’s call it a logo!” This new and improved badge is the product of some great work on the part of Crew fans found here. I added the 96 to mark them as a founding MLS member and the victory stars for their MLS Cup win in 2008 and the Supporters Shield wins in 2003, 2008, 2009. Their main look can’t really be tweaked too much because they own yellow monochrome and it makes them instantly recognizable no matter how many Yuenglings I’ve had. The away jersey is an older one that originally had the “Glidden” sponsor, which was dropped this year, and so the single yellow “paint stripe” doesn’t make as much sense. I still like it better than this year’s invisible pinstripes. I used full collars because how can those three blue collar guys be on the badge and then NOT go full collar on the shirt? The alternate shirt is an experiment with using the three Adidas stripes in a different way, which isn’t unheard of in MLS.
5. DC United: DC is the Real Madrid of MLS and has earned the right to the all white look. (Sorry Real Salt Lake.) I’ve added a gold star at the top of the badge for the “double” win of the MLS Cup and Supporters Shield in the same season (1997) and then three white stars on each side for the three other MLS Cups and Shields they’ve won. A team with that much silverware needs something more than a generic Adidas uniform. I used a classic sash reminiscent of the most recent US Men’s Team kit. It seemed appropriate for the team in the nation’s capital to draw from the national team. The circular VW logo works better with this than a wordy sponsor would.
6. FC Dallas: I didn’t mess with this badge. It is a perfect reflection of the team with all the right elements in place. I especially like the flame on the bull’s head, a nice nod to the team’s past as the Dallas Burn. They use classic hoops which are like the soccer version of UCLA stripes. The large fonted “FC DALLAS” messes with the hoops, but getting the right sponsor would solve that problem in an instant. The only major change I made was adding the hooped socks as well. The alternate kit incorporates the flag of the City of Dallas in the shirt and socks. Although, considering where they actually play, it’s probably more apropos to use the flag of Frisco, TX. Does Frisco even have a flag?
7. Houston Dynamo: They are orange/white. It’s another iconic MLS look that can’t be messed with because it’s completely recognizable even after multiple Jager shots. I added victory stars for MLS Cup wins (2006, 2007) and Supporters Shield in 2008. The full collar is also back for all three shirts because we need more full collars in soccer. Finally, I used black for the third shirt since it’s actually one of their colors and therefore would be no BFBS transgression.
8. Sporting Kansas City: With the wave of a magic wand the Wizards have been transmogrified into Sporting Kansas City or Sporting KC or Sporting Club Kansas City. Who really knows for sure? I’ll just refer to them as SCKCSC to make sure the bases are covered. I gave the new Sporting Club a more modern look with some semi-hoops. I mean, come on, you can’t give us a new badge like that without putting hoops on your damn shirt! The designers of the current shirt are proud of the subtle “state line” stitching along the left side of the shirt, which symbolizes the border between the two states that comprise the Kansas City area. I stuck with them on that choice and, just like an underage bride from Topeka, I didn’t take the hoops past the state line. Of course, the big fun in this set is the old Wizards throwback. Notice that the three red stripes in the rainbow are Adidas stripes, as was the case in the old design.
9. LA Galaxy: I didn’t know what to do with the Galaxy. Honestly, does anyone? They’re a dynamic team with no uniform tradition or anything from which to build a tradition. They should just rename themselves “The Beckham” since that’s been the main identity for the franchise since 2007. In true soccer fashion I gave up on the win, settled for a draw, and went with a sash. The constellation of victory stars commemorates all the MLS Cup and Supporters Shield wins. Like the KC tweak, the best part of this set is the LA Aztecs throwback alternate.
OK, boys and girls, that’s going to do it for Part I. Huge thanks to Lance for creating these and sharing them with us. We’ll have Part II next week, but let Lance know what you think of his work so far. Pretty amazing stuff.
by Rick Pearson
Oh, joy, the neighborhood Foreign Policy Experts are still out expressing their views.
And as always, here is the full size.
The tweaks have slowed a bit, but we still have a full batch today..a very special batch.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
In the words of Apollo Creed, “Here we go!”:
First up today is a very special set of tweaks, since they come from someone who actually wore the uniforms he’s tweaking. That’s right, today I have the following set of tweaks from Jerry Reuss. Here’s Jerry:
When I see the Cardinals and Dodgers uniform logos, I think DCAT! (Don’t Change A Thing!) However, when put into context of the uniform top as we see it on TV or at the ballpark, there appears to be a vast expanse of white. It’s too much white, especially with baggy pants covering the shoes. So, here’s a different look that frames and finishes a few of my favorite uniforms.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS HOME
To the Cardinals current home uniform, I added a thin band of red piping around each sleeve and down the outer seam of each pant leg. Instead of solid red socks, I incorporated the striped stirrups worn over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ALTERNATE HOME
To the Cardinals current Sunday alternate home uniform, I added a thin band of navy piping sandwiched with red piping around each sleeve and down the outer seam of each pant leg. Instead of solid red socks, I incorporated the striped stirrups worn over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”
LOS ANGELES DODGERS HOME
Since the Dodgers road gray uniform has a thin band of royal blue piping around each sleeve and on the outer seam of each pant leg, this is what the home uniform would look like with the same piping. For the “stirrup-enlighted” brethren at UniWatch, I added stirrups over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”
Next up is Andrew DeFrank, who has a couple football concepts for us:
So after sending in my Redskins and Chargers last week, here are my latest ones…
I revised my previous Bills and Seahawks uniforms and put them on the new Illustrator template.
Hope you like these as well! Expect my Steelers and Vikings updates, then after that the Eagles as my seventh team.
And finally, we have Terry Duroncelet, who not only has a bunch of tweaks for us, but he is also celebrating his 20th Birthday today. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRY. And, here are Terry’s tweaks:
‘Sup? I’ve been busy with school and everything, but I have some new tweaks and revisions for you guys. Explanations for some, but not for others.
Bills: Basically a throwback to the Bills of the early 60s, but with a red helmet. I did this before their uni-overhall announcement in early February, so I might scrap this one depending on what I see with the new duds.
Lions: I went with a grey facemask for two reasons:
1) They had more success in the grey facemask
2) I wasn’t able to create a feesable Honolulu Blue facemask. MS Paint only allows you to do so much =(
But nonetheless, I’m happy with the end result.
Hope you guys enjoy! =)
Thanks to all today’s tweakers — great stuff one and all. Check back tomorrow for more.
Everyone have a great Saturday. Hope you enjoyed today’s post — got another good one in the works for tomorrow. See ya then.
Twenty years ago, would people have imagined in their worst nighmares that in 2011, the Lakers would have a white home jersey, that they would wear it on the road with Los Lakers written on it? — Vincent Delestree