We’ve all got takes about D.C. United jerseys past and present. Maybe you’re like me and are savoring the end of the color gray’s trespassing, or you’re ready to go hard in favor of the Cat in the Hat jersey. We don’t have soccer to talk about, but there’s been plenty of chatter about best kits, worst kits, and all that jazz.
At Black and Red United, we prioritize actions over words*. It’s one thing to talk about this jersey or that jersey, but which one do you actually wear to watch United play? Rather than focus on best or worst, let’s talk about what we’re pulling out of the closet and putting on before heading to Buzzard Point on gamedays.
*Please do not point out that this site is a blog, which means it categorically prioritizes words over action. Cut us some slack, fam.
Without further adieu, here’s what we wear on gameday:
The press box comes with certain rules of decorum, and while “no cheering” is the king of that particular hill, “no team gear” is also on the list. That means I haven’t seen United play with my own eyes while wearing a DCU shirt since that one-off game against the Houston Dynamo at the Maryland SoccerPlex back in 2018. However, I do still keep up the Black-and-Red ethos whenever I can, so it’s usually a black polo with either red shoes or my Predator Accelerator trainers.
On away days, though, I’m free to do what I want. Generally I’ve gone with the 2007 home or the 2012 home, both mainly because they fit comfortably. If I get serious about an exercise regime, I might be able to go back to my 2011-2012 third jersey (the red one, which I won via MLS’s short-lived 3 Goal Monte game), but it’s a Pro Athlete Cut, and I am a Too Much Sedentary Time human. Every now and again I mix in my 1998 home and away (for me, the latter is best jersey the team’s ever had), but again comfort comes up. The home has a scratchy collar, while the away is a 90s fit, which is to say it’s too big.
Until I get this year’s brand new home jersey, which I like quite a bit, I’ll toggle between these four depending on how the team has been doing, because obviously changing your shirt will impact your team’s fortunes. You know damn well I wore a different black polo to the Inter Miami win after DCU lost to the Rapids on opening day.
My gameday shirt of choice is the 2007 away. The number one reason for it is that I’ll always love the three stripes across the chest, and I hope that sometime in the near future we’ll get some sort of homage to those days. I don’t campaign for a permanent return to the stripes, as there should always be room for the shirt to be otherwise interesting, though let’s be honest - the shirts in recent history, especially the current away kit in its entirety, have tended to be between bad and terrible. I’ve worn this shirt on away days, and at home games. It’s been drenched in rain and beer, and in the old RFK days it frequently smelled of smoke from the grill. It’s been through a lot.
Another reason I like this shirt in particular is that D.C. summer lasts between May and October, and wearing a white shirt to be out in the sun for two hours is a good policy. And to that end, shirts from that era are still light and loose, as they’ve gotten a little bit thicker and a lot bit tighter over recent history. Comfort is key. Maybe someday soon I’ll find myself loving a new shirt that eclipses the 2007 away shirt as my favorite for gamedays, but it’s going to take a lot.
I wear the 2016-17 home jersey whenever I can — to the point that my STATEHOOD 51 customization is wearing out. And what a customization it is, too, with the D.C. Vote partnership and the fact that the special numbers in 2016 featured the American flag.
Why do I wear it? Easy: Taxation Without Representation.
Donald Wine II
I don’t have a go-to United jersey. Those of you who know me know that I probably have 50-eleven D.C. United jerseys, and I never wear the same one twice in a row. Do I have a process for choosing which jersey I’m going to wear? For the most part, yes. There are times where a theme night or holiday will have me focus in on a set of jerseys (Easter, Mardi Gras, Pride Night, 4th of July, 9/11, Armed Forces Day, playoff Blackout, etc.).
However, generally, I go through my closet a couple days before the match to start organizing. I’ll pick 2-3 jerseys that immediately hit my gut as an option for that particular match. I’ll check the weather to determine if it’s a rare opportunity to bust out a long sleeve jersey in comfort or if it’s too hot to wear sleeves, or if I want to sacrifice my comfort for a jersey I truly want to wear, like a Bill Hamid goalkeeper jersey.
Once I pick those, I pick the shorts and socks that would match up with those jerseys, as well as the headband (the magical, most important piece of the puzzle). This is normally easy, as I have a few DCU socks as well as some socks that would match up to a particular theme. If it’s a Bill Hamid jersey, that would also normally have some sock/short set that I could match up to it. Thanks to old equipment sales that the team used to have at RFK, I have some old team socks that match up with almost every home and away jersey, as well as some that will pair with a goalkeeper jersey.
At that point, I let it rest for a day and go about my business. At some point, my mind will wander back to the match and the dilemma I have hanging in my closet. At that point, I’ll start thinking about it, but in many instances, it’s not until an hour before I leave to go to pregame that I make a decision on what jersey I go with. Again, maybe it’s a theme night, and I’ll dress for the occasion. Maybe it’s a player who’s been hot lately or a favorite that needs some good luck. Maybe it’s a jersey I haven’t worn in a while, or I just look at it go, “yep, that’s the one.” I throw it on, put on the headband (which is my personal switch from fan to supporter), and then I’m off to the stadium. For away days, if I’m going to watch at a bar with friends, the process is similar, except when it’s inappropriate, I’ll forego the gym shorts for some jeans or golf shorts. At home, I’ll just grab the first jersey I feel has the mojo and throw it on. My jersey selection process can take several days, but I know whichever jersey I pick is a winner, no matter what the result of the match may be.
That’s our list. How about you? Let us know in the comments what your gameday go-to is, and your rationale (whether it’s a fun memory or wild superstition) for your choice.