I wasn't at the press conference where the Vancouver Whitecaps unveiled their third kit (that's why I'm just running their advertisement rather than a photo I took myself). There didn't seem to be much point in turning up given how badly-kept the secret was. Remember, this shirt was leaked back in April when a Victoria soccer store accidentally sold a youth kit. There were no surprises to be had.
Nothing is in the least traditional about this kit. No matter how hard the press release tries to pimp "Arbutus brown" (brown is the colour of trees! Vancouver has trees!!!), take off the logos and a stranger would never guess this was a Whitecaps jersey. The only thing that even suggests "Whitecaps" is the proto-hoop across the chest, which not coincidentally is my favourite feature on the whole shirt.
I really like it.
No, it isn't traditional, but if you go back through the 86ers days the Whitecaps have worn a million colours besides blue and white. And a third kit, in my opinion, should be either a throwback or a radical departure; I'd have preferred a throwback but I'm a dork. As departures go, this one is exceptional. The blue accents contrast better than I'd have guessed with the brown and the whole affair is both logical and attractive.
It isn't merely a departure from the Whitecaps' norm; it's a departure from Major League Soccer. In this league of patterns and teams who look so homogeneous only real fans can even tell them apart, it's nice to see a jersey which is simultaneously attractive and almost crystalline in its uniqueness. You know Vancouver's surprisingly large St. Pauli crowd will be on familiar ground, but if anyone anywhere in the world is doing dark-brown-and-blue like this I can't think of them.
The accents are mostly tasteful with one exception. You see that weird two-tone thing on the collar; blue at the back and white at the front? It's difficult to see in the advertisement so I recommend this photo of Carl Valentine from the Southsiders board; I think it looks rather ridiculous. If the width of the accent stayed the same around the entire collar that would be one thing, but instead it looks like Adidas forgot to finish that bit.
That's one bad detail on a pleasing package. Save your poop jokes, please; let Toronto FC fans have the sophomoric wit and we'll keep the satisfaction of looking sharp.
On an unrelated note, wasn't John Thorrington a lot of fun at the press conference? Having players emcee these lighter events is becoming a semi-tradition in soccer (Shannon Woeller is the undisputed champion), but Thorrington's presentation was better than most. Carl Valentine better watch his back.