D.C. United looked to the past for inspiration for its brand new 2020 home jersey, which was unveiled last night at simultaneous events at Audi Field and in New York City. In honor of the league’s 25th season, its first-ever champions will once again be in black, red, and white, with this year’s kit showing clear connections to the club’s 1996 look.
Beyond seeing the jersey in person, season ticket members in attendance at Audi Field got a look at some of the new touches around the stadium, including a new home for the Hall of Tradition, newly-installed safe standing rails in the supporters’ end, a visual history of the club’s jerseys, “Unite the District” artwork in front of Gate A, and the still-under-construction sports book that will take up the first floor of the Heineken Lounge.
Some of the unique touches on the “authentic” (i.e. the same jersey worn by players in games) include what league sponsor Adidas is referring to as a “Founding Club mark” intended to honor the nine remaining MLS original teams:
The Traditional D.C. United black and red kit features a homage to the use of the three white stripes that D.C. United had across the chest of their jerseys in the early years of the league. “Unite the District” transfer at the Jock Tag and white raised “D.C. United” transfer at the back neck are key details of this unique kit. D.C. United is a founding club of MLS - to honor this they have the Founding Club mark of 9 stars in Silver. This is only found on the Authentic jerseys of these nine clubs.
While the aforementioned sports book may not open for some time, United has also added Caesars Sports as a jersey sponsor, with their logo appearing on the jersey’s right sleeve.
The kit was only part of the draw, as United were also giving fans their first look at a wide range of changes at Audi Field itself. “We wanted to be make sure that before the XFL kicks off, we wanted our fans to be the first to see the changes we’ve made,” explained Harry Hardy, United’s Senior Vice President of Events and Marketing in an interview with B&RU. Per Hardy, United’s planning for the additions at Audi Field started roughly a year ago, and mentioned that beyond the aesthetic changes, United has focused on reducing wait times throughout the venue, a fairly frequent complaint from fans in 2018 and 2019.
“Decisions that are made in terms of our stadium, or really anything, need to represent the values of our club. Celebrating and honoring our history and tradition has to be at the forefront of that,” said Hardy. “So as we celebrate 25 years and look ahead towards the next 25 years, we’re always looking to the future and how we grow the club and have more success, but we also pay homage to the people and the players, the history of the club that was here before us.”
While entry for the jersey reveal was at Gate A, which is now decked out with sidewalk art and banners of United greats, Hardy said that all entry points will go for a similar vibe. “I think when you walk in, you really get that feeling from the first second you walk through the gates. Whichever gate it is, we want to do something at all three of our gates to make sure people, when they walk in, are aware that this is the home of the most decorated team in MLS.”
Moments before unveiling the jersey, United played a video featuring D.C. landmarks, as well as Black-and-Red players past and present wearing a range of shirts from throughout the team’s history:
The full kits have not yet been revealed, but fans were handed a tantalizing rumor of red shorts, which would more fully match United’s typical home look from 1996: black jerseys, red shorts, and white socks. On Twitter, Pablo Maurer of The Athletic posted photographic evidence of what would likely be a very popular look:
As of now, though, all signs currently point to the look that United has generally gone with throughout its history: black on black on black, with red and white elements. “We’re thrilled with how the kit turned out,” said Hardy. “It’s the perfect vehicle to pay homage” to United’s illustrious history.
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