Strip Club–First Time Edition

The MLS launched in 1996 and as a relatively new soccer fan I felt compelled to pick a team.  DC United was my choice and not for the color scheme, although red, black and white resembled a certain other United I was fond of.  Rather I chose United because of the ten teams in the inaugural year of the league, they were the only ones that had a proper name.  Remember this is the league of the Clash and the Metrostars and the Mutiny and the piece de resistance—the Kansas City Wiz.

But truth be told, after the opening game of the season, I didn’t really watch much of the league, only catching snippets from time to time.  I didn’t even watch probably one of the greatest MLS games ever—the 1996 MLS Cup Final, which saw DC United defeat LA Galaxy, coming down from 2-0 in the last 20 minutes on a rain soaked pitch in New England to win in extra time 3-2.

Another superficial strength of DC United was their kits.  Home (black) and away (white) were both safe colors with three stripes across the chest reflecting the manufacturer adidas.  Red shorts and white socks completed the strip and these, while unspectacular, were miles ahead of the Nike inspired disasters throughout the rest of the league.

dc united


For a time I had the black home shirt, which had two problems.  One, the material was heavy.  I have to believe that the authentics were lighter.  The shirt felt almost like a football jersey and I can’t imagine playing in that kit the summer heat or in the rain that fell that day in October 1996. Wicking away moisture was not a strength of this version.  Two, the jersey was huge.  I think my brother and I picked them out at an outlet mall or something, so maybe I had to take what I could get.  It was the mid 90’s so big was in but this shirt was huge on me.

Eventually this shirt was lost to the dustbin of history during one my kit purges.  I didn’t follow the MLS and the shirt was too big.  Into the giveaway pile it went and hopefully some appropriately sized soccer lover found it at Goodwill and enjoys it to this day.

  1. Nice. I’d be curious what you think of today’s MLS kits. Don’t think we’ve ever talked about that much. There’s some crap, for sure, but some of them are pretty good.

    (If you take a look around online you should be able to find some photos of Philadelphia Union’s original away kit, a monstrous mostly gold thing that looked like a child’s pajamas. They only wore it a few times during the inaugural season, and it was quickly phased out with good reason).

    • The kits of the MLS have come on in leaps and bounds. Most are relatively straighforward, with Seattle coming to mind as a team outside the norm. Teams are settling on their colors and most kits are nice enough. My guess is that the Crew will rebrand in some way due to new ownership. The yellow/black can be awful at times.

      I think my favorites right now are probably Portland, who uses a simple template in a couple of different colors. I kind of liked the Sporting KC kit of light blue highlighted by a navy blue band down one side. Will be interesting to see what NYCFC does with the light blue.

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