Ahead of tomorrow’s launch of FC Cincinnati’s new Heritage Link Kit, I thought it’d be fun to rank the club’s top five jerseys from the past four seasons.
My ranking process is pretty straightforward. This wasn’t about sentimental memories or historical value. To me, this is strictly about the look and style of the kits … basically, what looks cool.
So with that, here is my ranking of FCC’s top five kits.
5. 2016 Third Kit
FC Cincinnati only wore their orange jerseys once in league play – May 14, 2016 – but there’s an awesome backstory.
When the team originally submitted their jersey designs to USL, the league rejected their secondary shirts because they looked too similar to the primary ones. (The USL was right. The jerseys were just inverted.)
Cincinnati had already printed jerseys, though, so the club designed the perfect marketing strategy to prevent the orange kits from being erased from history.
In a one-off occurrence, the orange jerseys were unveiled for an “Orange Out” affair against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. It made perfect sense.
There was already a football rivalry between the two river cities from the Bengals and Steelers, so creating a soccer one – while using the city’s trademark orange against black and yellow – was a natural fit.
Jimmy McLaughlin scored the game’s only goal before 23,375 fans at Nippert Stadium, which became the USL single-game record before FCC shattered that mark match after match moving forward.
4. 2017/18 Third Kit
These jerseys stood out for two reasons. They marked the last time FC Cincinnati had a true on-going third jersey option and were also the club’s first-and-only black jerseys.
The black kits weren’t worn often (only once in 2018), but they’re a regular on Nippert Stadium concourses and were worn during some rememberable games: Djiby Fall scoring against Louisville City FC in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup and Nazmi Albadawi recording a brace against North Carolina FC in 2018.
3. 2019 Secondary Kit
Photo by Aaron Doster | USA Today Sports
These were the first jerseys FC Cincinnati wore ever in MLS – at Seattle in their league debut – and gave us the Leo Bertone volley.
But more than that, the white tops from this past season were clean and simplistic. While the home jerseys made a splash, the secondary ones were subtle and always looked good. The players also loved them.
Honestly, these are the least-memorable jerseys FCC have used in their last four seasons, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. Simple is elegant.
2. 2018 Primary Kit
It’s worth noting that these tops were a drastic change from the kits the club wore its first two seasons.
While the first two seasons saw Cincinnati wear jerseys that closely resembled the U.S. Men’s National Team tops at the time, the 2018 primary jersey was unique and customized exclusively for the Orange and Blue.
The horizontal stripes provided continuity to the club’s first jerseys, but the checkered diamonds played into the Queen City’s Bavarian roots. FCC dominated the USL in 2018 and rocked the best uniforms to boot.
1. 2019 Primary Kit
Photo by Aaron Doster | USA Today Sports
There’s only one first MLS jersey, and these kits lived up to the hype.
The blue and orange vertical stripes were a bold introduction into a new league, and the tops stood out compared to the rest of MLS.
While the secondary jersey was subtle, this was a definite contrast that was pulled off perfectly – despite a short runway to even design the jerseys.
Any fan who owns one of these owns a piece of history, in addition to a gorgeous top.
Fun fact: Originally, FCC’s initial primary kits were just the blue version of their 2019 white kits. But the league stepped in and worked with adidas to allow FCC a short window to design something unique for its first season. The club had one round of design input and a very narrow time period to make it all work, but what you saw last year was the result of that. Had that not happened and MLS stepped in to help the club, you would’ve seen plain blue kits at Nippert Stadium for much of last year.