2021 MLS Jerseys: Breaking Down Every New Kit

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 15, 2021

2021 MLS Jerseys: Breaking Down Every New Kit

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    Austin FC's inaugural kit
    Austin FC's inaugural kitCourtesy of Adidas

    Some of the most exciting moments in the buildup to a soccer season are the new kit reveals.

    In Major League Soccer, clubs alternate between releasing primary and secondary kits every year. The Chicago Fire was unique among the 26 returning clubs, as it unveiled two new shirts. 

    Expansion side Austin FC is kicking off its inaugural campaign with two new kits for the 2021 season. Austin brought a unique verde, black and white color scheme to MLS.

    Most of the other new jerseys for the 2021 season are in familiar color setups for the league's 26 returning franchises, but there were two that opted to go in a completely different route.

    Here is a look at all of the new kits you will see across MLS for the upcoming campaign, which begins Friday.


    This article was produced in partnership with Adidas. 

Atlanta United

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Atlanta United put a new spin on its "Five Stripes" primary jersey.

    The 2021 edition of the kit has five slim stripes going down the middle of its primary black and gold colors.

    The five stripes stand for the club's pillars: unity, excellence, community, determination and innovation.

    Atlanta fans will get to see Josef Martinez rock the new kit for a majority of the season after he missed most of 2020 with a torn ACL.

    Martinez is looking to lead the Five Stripes back to the top of the Eastern Conference under the guidance of new head coach Gabriel Heinze.

Austin FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    MLS' lone expansion outfit in 2021 brought a new color base to the league.

    Austin's green, black and white will be on display on national television on Saturday, when it takes on LAFC in its inaugural match.

    The primary uniform selection is a green and black striped shirt, while the secondary kit features a white backdrop with green lettering.

    Austin FC is managed by former MLS player Josh Wolff, and it boasts a handful of league veterans on its roster, including Matt Besler, Diego Fagundez, Kekuta Manneh and Alex Ring.

Chicago Fire FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Chicago's "Lakefront" strip is the latest take on the team's red, white and blue color pallet.

    The primary kit is all blue with red lettering, while the white jersey has a blue outline for sponsor Motorola and the club's crest.

    Some of the details champion the characteristics the city of Chicago has become known for. The jock tag includes the four stars from the city flag, and the "Bold. Brave. Big Hearted" neck tape on the inside honors the people of Chicago.

    Chicago moved back to the lakefront in 2020 to play at Soldier Field, where the club began its existence before moving to suburban Bridgeview, Illinois.

FC Cincinnati

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    FC Cincinnati has one of the most vibrant color combinations in MLS.

    That is on full display in the "Dynamic" kit that features the navy blue background that has become synonymous with the club. Orange and royal blue pinstripes accentuate the navy blue.

    As part of its ode to the city and its fans, the "Dynamic" kit has the Roman numerals MMXXI to mark the year in which its new stadium opens.

    The West End Stadium will host its first match on May 16, when FC Cincinnati takes on Inter Miami.

Colorado Rapids

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Colorado's "Class 5" jersey celebrates the mountains that surround the Denver area.

    The light green kit pays homage to the six peaks above 14,000 feet in Colorado, which is more than any state in the United States.

    At the bottom right of the shirt, there is a "C96" logo, which signifies Colorado's introduction to MLS in 1996.

    The Rapids enter 2021 with a mix of potential United States men's national team contributors, including Sam Vines, Cole Bassett and Jonathan Lewis, as well as respected veterans such as Drew Moor and Steven Beitashour.

Columbus Crew SC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    The Columbus Crew's latest outfit was inspired by the new stadium in downtown Columbus.

    The grey and white colors of the secondary kit represent the modern angles inside the new stadium, which is set to open in July.

    Before the new digs open, the Crew will play a handful of games inside Historic Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States.

    The new stadium is scheduled to open up July 3 in a contest with another MLS original in the New England Revolution.

D.C. United

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    D.C. United's brand-new secondary kit pays tribute to the marble monuments around the United States capital city.

    The white jersey has a red and blue outline around the shoulders and sleeves.

    The updated color scheme for the secondary kit is a welcome change from the typical black and red we are used to seeing United in.

    D.C. will try to return to the playoffs in 2021 under new manager Hernan Losada, who came to MLS from Belgian side Beerschot.

FC Dallas

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    FC Dallas' latest getup pays tribute to the roots of the game in north Texas.

    Powder blue, the kit's primary color, was used by the Dallas Tornado of the old North American Soccer League. Both franchises were owned by the Hunt family. Lamar Hunt was one of the original investors in MLS franchises. He initially owned the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards and then bought the Dallas Burn in 2003. Columbus and Kansas City were eventually sold to other ownership groups. 

    The new jersey will be partnered with blue shorts and blue socks as FC Dallas' primary kit and is set to debut against Portland on May 1.

Houston Dynamo FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    The orange of the Houston Dynamo FC is one of the most recognizable colors in MLS.

    While the color scheme is not new, one important feature of the jersey is. The club's new crest adorns the right part of the chest.

    The club motto "Hold It Down" is printed on the inside of the neck line for MLS' forever orange franchise.

    Houston opens the MLS campaign Friday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Sporting Kansas City

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Sporting Kansas City has brought back the horizontal hoops that it adorned on two occasions in franchise history.

    The 2021 primary kit is the first SKC jersey to feature the stripes since the 2016-17 secondary kits. The 2014-15 home jerseys saw the first appearance of the hoops.

    SKC's newest kit has the club slogan of "Two States. One City. One Club" adorning the neck line.

    Peter Vermes' side opens league play against the New York Red Bulls on April 17 and alternates home and away contests for the first 10 matches.

LA Galaxy

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    One of the most notable changes in the new kit releases is the L.A. Galaxy's homage to their secondary kit in the 1990s.

    The "Galaxy Community Kit" is a new take on an old favorite with black, teal green and team collegiate gold woven throughout it. The franchise went away from the color combinations represented in this kit at the start of the David Beckham era in 2007. 

    The switch back to the club's old color scheme replaces the blue kits the Galaxy typically wore away from Dignity Health Sports Park.

    L.A.'s first opportunity to wear the new secondary kit will come Sunday, when it visits Inter Miami CF in the season opener.

Los Angeles Football Club

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Los Angeles' Black and Gold franchise unveiled a secondary kit with a soft gold hue.

    The new secondary color is a representation of the Southern California community's resilience, conductivity, radiant warmth and its shine.

    The "Heart of Gold" kit is a nice complement to the black and gold primary strip that Bob Bradley's team has been known for through its short MLS existence.

    With many of its mainstays, like Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela, still in the fold, LAFC should be one of the top contenders for the MLS Cup and a return to the CONCACAF Champions League, which it almost won last fall. LAFC lost to Liga MX's Tigres UANL in the final. 

Inter Miami CF

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Like many of the clubs around MLS, Inter Miami's jersey captures the spirit and essence of the city it plays in.

    The "La Palma" strip was inspired by the palm, which is viewed as a symbol of unity, royalty, longevity, triumph and victory.

    The black kit will partner the white primary kit that Inter Miami wore in 2020.

    Inter Miami CF has one of the most difficult stretches to start the MLS season, as it faces L.A. Galaxy, Philadelphia Union, Nashville SC and Atlanta United out of the gates.

Minnesota United FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Minnesota United FC will wear the first all-blue kit in club history for the next two years.

    The "River Kit" is named after the bodies of water that surround the state of Minnesota.

    The collar of the new jersey carries two unique features: the "Forever United" slogan on the inside and the loon from the club's crest on the outside.

    The most notable newcomer in the "River Kit" will be Ramon Abila, a forward who was brought into the club from Boca Juniors.

CF Montreal

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    CF Montreal's first kit under its new moniker will be its primary strip for the next two seasons.

    The club formerly known as the Montreal Impact is predominantly black with blue trim across the top and on the shoulders.

    Throughout the kit are copies of the club's new crest, which is circular and carries symbols for parts of the city, including MS on the side for Montreal and the Fleur de Lys on each side to represent Quebec.

    CF Montreal's first match under its new name will take place in south Florida against Toronto FC on Saturday. The Canadian clubs will start the campaign in the United States due to border restrictions in Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nashville SC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Of course the club based in the Music City has a kit dominated by acoustic blue and complemented by electric gold.

    Nashville SC's "Vibe II" kit is blue with gold piping on the neck and shoulders. It also features the "N" part of the club's crest throughout the blue.

    Similar to some of the other recent expansion teams, Nashville has a distinct color profile that allows fans to identify it easily.

    Gary Smith's side will try to make its second playoff berth in two years of existence in 2021.

New England Revolution

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    New England's secondary kit is a tribute to the supporters from the Fort at Gillette Stadium, which is comprised of sections dedicated for the club's diehard fans.

    Throughout the kit are elements of forts from the American Revolution, as the split hues represent the water and skies that surrounded forts. The lines on the front of the shirt also make up the formation of a fort. 

    Bruce Arena's team is expected to bring plenty of excitement to the Fort and the rest of its fanbase in 2021 with Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou leading the attack once again.

New York Red Bulls

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    The New York Red Bulls added a checkerboard pattern to their updated primary kit.

    The new effect to the white kit was added to represent the flags waved by supporters in the South Ward of Red Bull Arena.

    Additionally, the Red Bulls have a New York monogram on the back of the neck said to be for their communities "from the Empire State to the Garden State, and all the different cultures that embody it."

    The primary kit will make its debut Saturday versus Sporting Kansas City.

New York City FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    New York City FC only made slight alterations to the primary blue kit we have seen the club in since it began MLS play in 2015.

    The Pigeons will have vertical stripes on the blue kit with a white outline. Those stripes represent the different uniforms worn by New York City's municipal workers.

    As the club has aimed to be from its inception, the kit is supposed to be the face of the Five Boroughs.

    Similar to the New England Revolution, New York City FC will go as far as its attacking duo will take it. Maxi Moralez is a former assist leader, and Heber Araujo dos Santos is a perennial Golden Boot contender.

Orlando City SC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Orlando City's latest offering goes from a dark shade of purple to a lighter one from head to waist.

    As the colors get lighter on the Lions' new primary kit, you can see lines go from thick to thin. The kit is branded as the "Thick N Thin" jersey, which is said to pay tribute to the city's resilience through thick and thin.

    The Lions are coming off their most successful season yet, and they will try to advance to the playoffs for the second straight season under manager Oscar Pareja.

    Perhaps the most intriguing story line surrounding the Lions is the significant interest from abroad for Daryl Dike, who is starring on loan in the EFL Championship with Barnsley.

Philadelphia Union

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    The Philadelphia Union went away from their traditional dark blue color scheme to give us one of the most stunning looks for the next two years.

    The Union called on a fan collective that was brought together over two years ago to come up with the unique light blue design.

    The colors are a nod to the scheme used by the "Sons of Ben" supporters group, and the lightning bolts on the front and kite-and-key logo on the back of the kit represent the innovation that has happened in the Philadelphia era dating back to Benjamin Franklin and the Colonial era.

    Jim Curtin's side already donned the light blue and yellow on the road in CONCACAF Champions League play, and it will be back on display Sunday in an Eastern Conference showdown with the Columbus Crew SC.

Portland Timbers

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Portland's latest spin on its primary kit features its familiar color set with a new twist.

    The green on the left and the darker green on the right were used in previous iterations of Timbers kits.

    At the bottom left, the "Soccer City USA" moniker is displayed, and it also contains a collar with buttons, which is a unique feature to MLS. The "Soccer City USA" term was initially used during the NASL era of the Timbers. 

    Portland moved past Marathon already in the CONCACAF Champions League, and it begins MLS action on Sunday versus Vancouver at Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium.

Real Salt Lake

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Real Salt Lake's new white kit is similar to some of the other new strips, and its finer details are what make it special.

    Woven into the white kit are the images of mascot Leo the Lion and a beehive to represent Utah's nickname of the Beehive State.

    RSL added a hint of red, which is its primary jersey color, around the sleeves as the secondary hue.

    The away kit will only be on display once in the first four weeks, as RSL plays three games in a row at home after an opening road trip to Minnesota.

San Jose Earthquakes

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    San Jose paid homage to the title-winning squad from the turn of the century with its "First Star Kit."

    The Earthquakes earned the first of their two stars above the crest on their jersey by winning the 2001 MLS Cup.

    San Jose did not go away from its typical blue primary kit color. The only true difference between the 2000-02 and 2021-22 kits is the extra white on the sleeves of the former kit.

    Chris Wondolowski, who has won two Supporters' Shields with the Quakes, will be back in the blue and white in 2021 after initially planning to retire following the 2020 campaign.

Seattle Sounders FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Seattle rivaled Philadelphia for the most creative new kit.

    "The Jimi Hendrix Kit" honors the late musician's impact on his hometown of Seattle. The kit also represents the principles of love, peace and giving that were shown by Hendrix.

    Purple is the primary hue on the kit, but it also features shades of yellow and orange.

    Unfortunately for new kit enthusiasts, Philadelphia and Seattle will not go head-to-head in their new outfits due to teams playing games predominantly in their own conferences.

Toronto FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Toronto FC was born and bred in red. Its altered primary look will have diagonal stripes over the chest with a darker shade of red highlighting the left side.

    The stripes are a new spin on one of the classic kits that the Reds have boasted throughout their existence.

    Like the other two Canadian clubs, Toronto will use the United States as its home base to begin 2021. The Reds will start their home schedule at Orlando's Exploria Stadium.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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    Courtesy of Adidas

    Vancouver will have a single hoop across its chest for the next two seasons.

    The design on the club's white jerseys has been a staple for the club in recent years that pays tribute to its roots in the NASL.

    Vancouver's unique neck tag on the outside reads "The Village of Vancouver." That is a tweak to the kit that has been worn in MLS before.

    Vancouver will kick off the season with three "home" games in its first four matches, beginning with a Cascadia Cup clash with the Timbers in the club's temporary home of Utah because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions between the United States and Canada.


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