Schwartz: The Red Bulls Enter A Dark “Metro” Mode With New Black Uniforms

This past September, Sean Davis and some of his New York Red Bulls teammates were at the adidas headquarters in Oregon when they were in town to play the Portland Timbers.  The visit was to get a sneak peek at their new “Dark Mode” kit, the soccer term for a uniform.  When Davis took at look at the all black kit with red accents, his first thought was…

“Finally,” said the veteran midfielder during a phone interview with New York Sports Day.  “I think we’ve had a lot of great kits over the years.  I personally love the red kit but to finally add a black jersey…to finally have that and thinking about walking into Red Bull Arena with that was really exciting.”

As Major League Soccer heads into its 25th season, the Red Bulls are paying homage to the “MetroStars” era by unveiling the new kit with the original colors and tying them in with their current Red Bulls logo.  In announcing the new kit, the Red Bulls described their new look that connects the two eras in franchise history.

“An all-red raised silicone club crest serves as a reminder that red runs deep, while a red and black jock tag highlights the connection to the original colors and kit design,” said the team in their announcement.

(Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis)

The grey “glitch” kits will be the Red Bulls’ primary outfit although the plan is to wear the alternate black kits most of the time while the red kits will not be worn this year.  The Red Bulls are one of nine remaining franchises from the original ten during Major League Soccer’s first season in 1996 and each of the nine charter franchises will have nine stars in silver across the inside of the drop hem of their authentic jerseys during this 25th anniversary campaign.

The Red Bulls couldn’t be happier with their new look.

“We are thrilled with how the new kit came out,” said Liz Martin, the Red Bulls’ Director of Marketing Partnerships.  “We feel it shows the strength of our club and is incredibly versatile.  We wanted to give our fans something that looks great on the field and can be worn away from the pitch.”

The players share in the excitement of the organization about the new kit.  Davis, a homegrown midfielder born in Long Branch, New Jersey and currently residing in Holmdel, remembers the MetroStars days in the Meadowlands.   He’s looking forward to stepping onto the pitch this season sporting the Red Bulls’ bold new, yet old look.   

“I think it’s fitting that the jersey is black and pays homage to the MetroStars and the earlier history of the club,” said Davis who is entering his 6th MLS season, all with the Red Bulls.  “That’s when a lot of our fans fell in love with the team.  To have that it really connects the two eras and reminds me of the days watching the team at Giants Stadium.”

The Red Bulls worked closely with adidas to come up with the new kit.  The final result was a collaboration of the team’s art director and the global designers of adidas.  Both sides worked off of a template that featured the EQT striping and exclusive three-stripe placement.  The kit is a tribute to the early 90’s when several national teams wore adidas jerseys with similar stripes.

But at the end of the day, the design and colorway were specific to the Red Bulls club and their vision while featuring a throwback look. 

“We saw the 25th season celebration as an opportunity to pay homage to the roots of the club while staying true to who we are today,” said Martin. “This kit is a marriage of those two phases of our history.”

There is a growing trend in sports for teams to have black in their uniforms whether it’s a primary color or simply an accent to a team’s traditional color.  Sometimes, like in the case of the New York Jets’ new uniforms that were unveiled this past season, there can be an all-black alternate uniform. 

What the Red Bulls have done with their new black kit is to establish an alternate look that they will sport on a regular basis, something that the players are pumped up about and will certainly resonate with the club’s younger demographic. 

Like my kids who had the same reaction to the new Red Bulls kit as they had to the Jets’ black uniforms…

“We love them…can we get them?”

“I think black is definitely in right now,” said Davis who turns 27 on Saturday (happy birthday Sean!).  “My teammates love it and I’m sure the younger fans will love it as well.  It’s just so versatile.  It’s great for games but also off the field it’s something that you can wear with almost anything.” 

(Red Bulls forward Danny Royer)

Ever since the MetroStars became the Red Bulls before the 2006 season, the franchise has not gone back to their original look in a game.  But on April 24th, 2016, the Red Bulls celebrated their 20th anniversary by wearing MetroStars jerseys during warmups before their match that night against Orlando City at Red Bull Arena. 

Five years later, they are going to be honoring their past with the new black kit that has a touch of red.  Many fans have been clamoring for the team to don their “Metro” look in a game, perhaps as part of a throwback night.  This new look could potentially be a bridge toward that becoming a reality somewhere down the road.

“I think it’s a great first step and I hope we can continue to remember that era,” said Davis.   

For now, the new black kit will serve as the “throwback” to the Metro era.

“We see this jersey as a nod to that jersey,” said Martin.  “We’ll find other unique ways to create great merchandise that has a retro feel. For example, the new custom square tag we’ve created across the hem of the jersey can be used as a standalone logo for upcoming merch.”

The MetroStars/Red Bulls franchise has had a number of different looks over the years, whether it was at Giants Stadium or Red Bull Arena.  Their new all-black kit with red accent figures to be one of the more popular looks that the team has ever had.   What the fans and supporters are really hoping for is that the new kit is the one that they are wearing if and when they finally do win that elusive MLS Cup.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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