The new “Bold Red” kit.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) January 2, 2018
New York just got redder.
The first kit unveiling of the new year comes from the New York Red Bulls. It appears the Red Bulls are abandoning their blue and yellow away threads, ending a decade of using their alternate logo colors on the road. This is a smart choice as the original New York City MLS franchise looks to differentiate itself from their cross-city blue rivals. Can’t really say NY is RED when you wear as much white and yellow as you do red.
The new “Bold Red” kit is in reality a safe variation of the classic home Red Bulls uniform. Basically anything that was white before is now colored in to make a solid red top while leaving some white trim on the sleeves.
This kit will likely be well-received by Red Bulls fans who asked for a red kit. They got a red kit. The new top does seem like an attempt to recreate a Man U-esque look to counteract NYCFC’s mimicking of Manchester City. They’ll never achieve that connection with that energy drink logo and name, but it will be nice to see a true red vs blue derby on the field, ideally three times a season.
Like all jerseys, a full impression can’t happen until it’s seen on a player, during a match. With this reveal, I especially need to see this kit in action before I can determine a final score. The detail in the top is indistinguishable in most of the initial images released by NYRB. According to their website, “The stripes and square mesh panels run throughout the fabric of the kit. As nods to the buildings and bridges of the city.”
The diagonal stripes give the front definition, but whether or not that detail pops in person or on the TV screen remains to be seen. The square panels are even tougher to pick out in the initial branding images. The pattern looks promising, and might be a unique look among MLS jerseys, but it seems like the designers shied away from committing to the look to avoid screwing up a plain red jersey.
These are the only two photos where the pattern/square patches are discernible. Check out the official website for higher-resolution images.
I’m hoping the diagonal stripes aren’t the only detail visible in-match; To me, combining diagonal vectors with horizontally oriented elements (logos & sponsors) is visually inconsistent, and I dock points nearly every time it’s attempted. I would be OK with a solid red look without any distractions in the first edition of the uniform, and then going all-in with more contrast in the stripes and patches in a year or two.
I also have a problem with the collar. The rounded or baby V-neck look has been a staple of Adidas MLS jerseys, and across other soccer jersey manufacturers. I also enjoy a full collar, with or without a button. I want to know who thought it was necessary to revolutionize the soccer jersey collar to something that reminds me of a pajama. It’s called an EQT V-neck, and I hope I don’t see it in anymore releases. Why doesn’t it come to a point? It would look so much better as an actual collar without a button. I could also use white trim on the inside of the collar, similar to the white on the sleeves.
The Red Bulls also made another mistake by not providing any information about the shorts and socks that will accompany this uniform. Those color choices will affect the entire dynamic. I hope they commit to an all-red bottom-half of the kit, and that the shorts include the iconic three stripes down the side. I’m still not a fan of stripes on the side of the shirt instead of on top of the shoulders, but this isn’t one of the worst attempts with that feature.
Shirt Design/Pattern- 2/4
Use of Color- 1.5/2
Total (assuming all red bottom)- 6.5/10