Philadelphia Union: Jersey Week 2013

Can a team’s new jersey be so good it brings a tear to your eye? Yes, and for me that was the case with the Philadelphia Union’s new third kit.

Philadelphia Union 3rd Kit

Maybe I need to provide some background information. I grew up in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania in a town so small and slow its German name roughly translates to Snailtown. My dad grew up in Bethlehem and went to high school next to Steel Field, which had been home to the most successful team in the early decades of American soccer, Bethlehem Steel F.C.

Bethlehem Steel won the American Cup six times and the competition now called the U.S. Open Cup five times. Their home Steel Field was the first American soccer field to have stadium-style seating. They were so good they toured Europe on several occasions to show off their skills.

The new Philadelphia Union third jersey is a fitting, and moving, homage to Bethlehem Steel and the soccer history and heritage of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Just like Bethlehem Steel, the new kit is a dark (they call it a shade of navy, but it appears black) top with white shorts. In lieu of the large “B” emblem, that letter appears due south of the Union crest, along with the years Bethlehem was in existence as team. The full Bethlehem Steel logo (their corporate logo with the additional “F.C”) appears on the back collar. Even the Union’s jersey sponsor Bimbo goes retro, with a deep orange version of their logo from the 1940s.

Beyond the sentimental value of the jersey, it just looks slick. It’s a color combination not found elsewhere in Major League Soccer. Making the “Bimbo” monochromatic takes away my biggest beef with the way it looks on the current kits with the bright red and blue clashing with the navy and gold. And the historic touches are noticeable without being overpowering when compared to the team of today.

Well done, Philadelphia Union. You made a Lehigh Valley boy very happy.

Bethlehem Steel 1918

The inspiration,

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