D.C. United’s first new primary uniform since a deal was reached to build a soccer stadium in the nation’s capital deepens the club’s visual and civic connection with its hometown.
There’s a new crest that features the city flag in place of the old ball and star, as well as images of monuments and the District map. Then there’s the politics.
Last May, The Washington Post reported that United was consulting with DC Vote, an organization advocating full congressional representation for the District, on its 2016 jersey. Coach Ben Olsen won an award presented by the group and said, “I’m all for equality for D.C. … I’m also proud of D.C. United’s commitment to staying here, and to the District’s commitment to the team.”
Sure enough, on the tape running along the inside of the collar, you can see D.C.’s de facto city motto: “Taxation Without Representation”—or at least something approximating that. In photos provided by a retailer to SI.com, it looks like Adidas, the manufacturer, didn’t cut the tape exactly right, erring on the order of the words, which reads "Without Representation Taxation."
Despite the apparent error, the club’s sentiment is clear. It’s rare, if not unheard of, for a pro sports team to take a political position with its uniform. But United is taking the leap as it seeks to strengthen its ties to its current and future home. The club’s new stadium at Buzzard Point is supposed to open some time in 2018.
United’s new shirt also includes sublimated black hoops, which evoke the iconic white horizontal stripes worn during the team’s pre-jersey sponsor days.
D.C. is scheduled to unveil the new home kit, which also will include black shorts and socks, at a fan event on Saturday afternoon.