Changes are inevitable in any organization, and there is no exception with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Over the years, hundreds of players have come and gone, the team’s kits have changed, and they’ve competed in several different leagues.
Last season, Whitecaps FC kicked off a new chapter in their stried history, becoming just the second Canadian club to join Major League Soccer (MLS). As is the case with any expansion club, changes have been aplenty.
Amidst all these changes, one thing has remained constant. That’s where the club has come from, and where it is situated – the Pacific Northwest. With the new third kit, the ‘Caps have embraced their roots as the lone Canadian MLS club in the region.
As such, the kit’s primary colour is a unique arbutus brown, drawing from British Columbia’s various forests. This is meant to complement the team’s traditional colours reflected in the main crest — the blues of the ocean and sky; the white of white caps, cresting waves, snow, and glaciers; and the silver of the light that bounces between them.
By adding brown to the mix, Whitecaps FC feel they’ve accurately depicted the different aspects of their identity.
“When you look outside, you can see firsthand why the name Whitecaps FC is synonymous with our city,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “There are the white caps on the mountains, the white caps on the water and the forest industry that’s prominent in British Columbia and along the northwest. The kit has captured a different aspect of the northwest, but it’s still an aspect that is prominent in British Columbia and throughout the region.”
The launch of the third kit comes just over two years after Whitecaps FC unveiled their MLS logo and jerseys — a brand that has already become synonymous with the club, regularly seen in the stands at BC Place and around the province.
Although Whitecaps FC’s jerseys and logos have drastically evolved since the club was founded back in 1974, blue has traditionally been the dominant colour. The lone exception was the team’s earliest days in the North American Soccer League and the Vancouver 86ers era, when red was the shade of choice.
In this case, Lenarduzzi said he doesn’t think straying away from the norm is a risky move.
“As long as it relates to our city and our province, then no I don’t think so,” he said. “If you can incorporate that and at the same time make it distinctively different, then I think you’ve achieved all the objectives.”
The ‘Caps will don the new kit three times this season, starting this Saturday against Colorado Rapids. Naturally, the launch of a new kit comes with a great deal of hype, particularly from fans, but it’s something the players look forward to as well.
Lenarduzzi said he recalls his excitement back in 1979 when the team switched to the popular kit with “Whitecaps” written across the band on the front. Aside from a few minor tweaks, this is a design that lived on right up until the pre-MLS era, and it’s a design they’ve revisited with the new third kit.
“Players get excited about it, for sure,” said Lenarduzzi, who spent 11 seasons with the ‘Caps as a player. “And I think they’ll be even more excited by the fact that it is first and foremost a kit, but at the same time, it can be worn in a casual way as well.”
That’s one of the major selling points of the new kit — the fact that it can also serve as street wear and be “dressed up or dressed down,” Lenarduzzi said.
“Hopefully people will enjoy it as much as we obviously do, given that we’ve come out with a third jersey that’s radically different than what our primary and secondary uniforms are.”
It may be different, but as the old adage goes, it’s important to “always remember your roots.” With their new third kit, Whitecaps FC have done just that.