Ladies and gentlemen, the moment appears to finally be here. After years of fans pleading for D.C. United to produce a kit that celebrates one of DC’s iconic symbols, the 2023 season will see the Black-and-Red finally embrace the pink and white of the cherry blossom. On Wednesday, jersey blog Footy Headlines leaked the 2023 secondary jersey for D.C. United, and it confirms something that has been reported on for a couple years by The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer: the secondary jersey will be themed after DC’s famous cherry blossom trees.
First reported on this concept two years ago... then again last year... then again last month, in detail. Was only a matter of time before the final product leaked!— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) February 8, 2023
I like it, but I have a couple quibbles - branches could've been more clearly defined, pink could pop a bit more.. pic.twitter.com/zuVtmGjeue
As you can see, the 2023 secondary jersey is inspired by the cherry blossoms that adorn the Tidal Basin and can be found all around The District. A white jersey, the jersey features light pink cherry blossom petals on branches protruding from the left side halfway across the jersey all the way down the torso. The jersey features a black Adidas logo on the right chest with a monochrome black D.C. United crest on the left chest. The authentic version will also have the 4 stars above the crest that signify the team’s 4 MLS Cups.
The sleeves and the collar feature pink and black stripes on the trim, with the pink going all the way around the collar with the black stripe going around to the back. The shoulders feature black Adidas stripes, and a black stripe runs down each side of the torso. The torso stripe will feature various club slogans on the authentic version of the jersey.
What is unknown at this time is how the back of the jersey will look, but it is expected that it will be fully white with some image on the back neck to tie everything together. We don’t yet know what shorts or socks will be worn with the jersey, but they could be white, black, or pink.
Presented to the United States by Japan as a symbol of friendship back in 1912, the cherry blossom trees have become one of the prominent rallying symbols for D.C., both internationally as well as locally. Every year, D.C. has a 2-week Cherry Blossom festival, where over a million people travel to The District to view the many cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The timing of the festival, from late March to early April, helps people realize the full beauty of early spring in our nation’s capital. As Pablo Maurer one opined when he published reports of a cherry blossom kit being in the design phase:
IMO this is why a cherry blossom kit, at some point, would be such a slam dunk. You're talking about something that connects locally and nationally; something people across the world associate with DC, and also something locals adore about the place. It still has to happen.— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) February 12, 2021
When the leaked secondary jersey hit social media, the streets were buzzing. Soccer fans around America, not just D.C., marveled at the team finally listening and giving local fans what they desired. For years, D.C. United fans have begged for the team to do something that represented The District using a symbol that united them as well as those who come to visit. And, as other sports teams and organizations came out with their own versions of cherry blossom jerseys, D.C. United took a while to come around.
In 2022, the Washington Nationals became the first professional sports team to debut a jersey with a cherry blossom theme when they introduced their City Connect jerseys, and they were a monstrous hit.
Even local soccer organizations have gotten into the act in an effort to give soccer fans a jersey that best symbolizes the beauty of The District. Last year, Federal Triangles Soccer Club introduced three cherry blossom jerseys for jersey fanatics to purchase that were incredibly well done.
DC Scores + FTSC = Cherry Blossom Kit!@DCSCORES is partnering with the @ftsc_dc, Washington, D.C.’s LGBT+ Soccer Club on this limited-edition cherry-blossom kit that will be worn during the IGLFA in June 2022. Designed by @TobsTheCreator— Olive & York (@olive_york) May 4, 2022
Get yours: https://t.co/5mQqtBjFh0 pic.twitter.com/ZILfkAJ7dl
The American Outlaws D.C. Chapter came out with the first known cherry blossom soccer jerseys back in February 2020, which served as an inspiration to so many fans who had begged anyone to come out with a design that brought the heat. And bring it AODC did.
I’m telling you guys, I’ve seen some jerseys in my day. But, these new jerseys from @AO_DC just might be the best jerseys ever produced.— Donald Wine II (@blazindw) February 14, 2020
Only available for pre-order for 2 weeks. Get yours at https://t.co/1WcgXyyLeF before it’s too late! pic.twitter.com/RQU1BZnLyd
Time's running out! You have until 11:59 tonight to pre-order your AODC Cherry Blossom jerseys! Don't miss out - once they leave the AODC Online Store, they're gone for good! https://t.co/H4j3ide4Om pic.twitter.com/Mo9R5D5Ktu— American Outlaws D.C. (@AO_DC) February 28, 2020
AODC followed that up with another version of the cherry blossom jersey in late 2021, along with a scarf based on the iconic symbol.
We promised more heat and today we are excited to share the second of our 2 jerseys. This one features cherry blossoms which we felt were an integral part of DC. Please note the final version will have numbers on the front. Thanks to @info_stimulus @AmericanOutlaws #Ao pic.twitter.com/FSjGH26i1m— American Outlaws D.C. (@AO_DC) December 21, 2021
AODC members at the watch party at Astro saw it first. Here it is: Presenting the AODC Cherry Blossom Summer Scarf! Pre-orders available now for shipment in January*: https://t.co/xB2Qt1BHF0— American Outlaws D.C. (@AO_DC) November 16, 2021
* subject to change due to worldwide supply chain issues pic.twitter.com/fXHNNJDbGa
The streets continually asked for it, and fan groups filled the void until the professional teams finally listened. Now, D.C. United becomes the 3rd professional team to release a cherry blossom jersey. There was talk last year of the Washington Spirit also considering a cherry blossom jersey, and the hope is they also introduce one this season. The Washington Capitals should get into the act as well. The more cherry blossom jerseys, the better! The cherry blossom unites this place better than just about any symbol, as it fully encapsulates the beauty of this place so many of us call home. And, there’s room for all of them in everyone’s closet, and the D.C. United version is no exception.
The jerseys may be subtle, and some may desire the petals to have a bolder pink, but the jerseys actually do a great job at capturing the subtle yet stunning beauty of the Yoshino cherry blossom trees. Those blossoms are normally more of a lighter pink, with the flower blooming in white. There are some cherry blossom trees that have a darker pink, but not that dark. This jersey will bring in the diehards that have asked for this for years, and it should also attract the casuals who want something that represents The District in a subtle way. The jersey could have accentuated the pink by making the Adidas stripes pink, but the black ties in incredibly well and the team is going to look excellent on the field with these. And the fans will look just as wonderful in the stands and around town as they wear this jersey to support our team.
The 2023 D.C. United secondary jerseys are expected to be officially revealed on February 16th at a reveal party for season ticket holders. Until then, hit the comments and discuss what you think of the team finally giving the streets what they desire.