2011 MLS Kit Countdown: Sporting Kansas City

Posted In Features - By Jake Shapiro On Saturday, March 5th, 2011 With 8 Comments

It brings me no pleasure to reveal that #16 on this Kit Countdown is the newly-rechristened Sporting Kansas City. I had such high hopes for the club’s rebranding when they announced they would no longer be known as the Kansas City Wizards. And while it’s true, the European-style “Sporting” is a step up from the childish “Wizards,” it’s not nearly as much of a step up as it could’ve been.

North American soccer fans are split on whether MLS clubs should copy European names, or be “proud” of our own sporting heritage and go with the “[City Name] [Plural Nouns, usually a ferocious animal]” format. As you may have deduced from my sly criticism of North American team names, I’m a fan of the more elegant European names. But not when it’s Sporting Kansas City. You see, while “Sporting” is a word in English, this team prefix doesn’t come from English-speaking countries. No British club has Sporting in the name. It comes from countries like Portugal, whose Sporting CP are a fantastic team, but who nevertheless misuse the word “sporting.” And that’s okay. Because Portugal isn’t an English-speaking country. They’re allowed to use broken English. Kansas City isn’t.

I’m not saying British teams are better than Portuguese teams; I’m saying MLS names like D.C. United and Toronto FC work because they’re borrowed from names that are at least in the same language that D.C. and Toronto speak (don’t even get me started on the abysmal “Real” Salt Lake, but that battle was lost when they won the MLS Cup). Kansas City even had a great British-style name staring them right in the face: they could’ve followed in the footsteps of the Premier League’s Manchester City and simply call themselves “Kansas City.”

Anyway, what were we talking about? Uniforms? I guess SKC realized how controversial their new name was, so they decided to go with the blandest, least-offensive shirts they could find. They’re not ugly, per se, just… boring. They seem to have taken Colorado’s recently-discontinued sky blue away jerseys and made them the new KC home shirt. There’s a reason Colorado only used it as an away shirt. Sky blue evokes zero emotion. Yes, Man City wears light blue as well, but theirs is dark enough to make it one of my favorite shirts in the Premier League.

If SKC wants to make sky blue work, they need to somehow incorporate darker colors to create contrast and make the kit more noticeable (much like what I said about Columbus’ yellow shirt). But like I said about New England’s subpar home shirt, “the collar is nice though.

The away shirt is a little better. I admire Kansas City for switching it up and making the lighter shirt the home shirt, but the darker away strip is simply a better color. It definitely pulls off navy blue better than New England does. Plus it’s got this nifty stitching, I guess. But it still has most of the same faults as the home shirt.

Then we come to the logo. Ignore the fact that it looks eerily similar to the MLS Eastern Conference logo. Like the rest of the shirt, the crest is a missed opportunity to create something awesome. The club created a cool little “explore the new look” website explaining the meaning behind some of the design choices, but it’s still suspect. I appreciate that the stripes represent the Kansas/Missouri boundary line, but the “SC” as a tribute to SKC’s parent corporation Sporting Club is pretty weak.

All in all, Kansas City has a better crest than when they were the Wizards, and I’ll give them extra points for not putting a giant KANSAS CITY logo on the chest. I also appreciate that they got rid of the white away jersey. But for every step forward, there’s a step back-the Wizards wore a more striking shade of blue, and their yellow accents made it stand out much more. So it all evens out.

About Jake Shapiro - D.C. United fan, jersey enthusiast. And by "jersey" I mean "uniform," not New Jersey.

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  1. baumer says:

    Last week I saw the Olypique de Marseille 3rd kit for the first time in Champion league action. My very first reaction was “that is what the SKC kits should look like.” Perhaps when rebranding you have to kill the old brand to move forward. But I think there are still a lot of fans holding onto the Wizards moniker and that doing an abstract rainbow stripe could have been a really cool nod to the teams past but allowing them to move forward with a new crest and color scheme (and have something completely unique to MLS).

  2. baumer says:

    Coding didn’t work so here is the link for an image of those kits: http://s3.media.squarespace.com/production/615554/7154548/2010/05/picture-21.png

  3. David says:

    Uh, there’s nothing wrong with the “Sporting” rebrand. You should probably fact check before going off and sounding like a completely uninformed moron.

    SKC has every intention of being a true “Sporting” Club. They are looking into fielding Lacrosse and Rugby Clubs as well.

    It’s one thing to not like something. That’s fine. It’s another thing completely to berate the club on a stupid premise (Sporting isn’t English ? So what ?), and go off without informing yourself of why the name was chosen.

    • Jake Shapiro says:

      As I mentioned in the article, I did read SKC’s official “explore the look” page. I’m fully aware the club intends to start other sports teams. But if Real Salt Lake told you they had a meaningful reason for using their moniker, would you think it was a good name?

  4. David says:

    There’s a difference there.

    SKC is actually doing what the name implies, and represents. They are seeking to be a true “sporting” club.

    RSL is a phony jab and is horrid. They simply tried to leach. They can tell me anything they want but the team hasn’t been given a blessing by the King (any King for that matter) so until that happens it’s nothing but nonsense.

    I’m curious though. You say you read and fully understand that they are trying to be a true sporting club. Yet, you trash them and ultimately imply the point that they aren’t even using the name right:
    ” … whose Sporting CP are a fantastic team, but who nevertheless misuse the word “sporting.” And that’s okay. Because Portugal isn’t an English-speaking country. They’re allowed to use broken English. Kansas City isn’t.”

    They aren’t using broken English. They are using the term correctly (based on their intentions). So, given what you’ve written here the premise for why this is a poor choice is because the root prefix isn’t “English” ? Seriously ?

    You do realize that “English” was derived from something else entirely, right ? You’re entire train of thinking is just terrible.

    • Jake Shapiro says:

      I’m simply pointing out that no native English speaker would use the word “sporting” as an adjective to describe something.

      “Steve plays soccer AND hockey! He’s so sporting!”
      “Are you talking about sporting Steve Stevenson? Yeah, man, I don’t know how he does it.”

  5. David says:

    Sporting events ? No ?

    Oh wait, the English language has bastardized it to Sports Events. Right. Yeah they should have done that: Sports Club Kansas City. Or Kansas City Sports Club.

    …. *cough* Yeah the typical American will think it *sounds* better but we’re not dealing with a typical front running American sport (nor is Rugby for that matter).

    The game and clubs shouldn’t try to “Americanize” and that was proven in the early stages of the league when they tried to do just that.

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