Within seconds, the smile on Josh Levin’s face plunged into a dropped jaw as his held his new possession. His first glance was excitement; his second was appreciation.
After waiting minutes outside FC Cincinnati’s downtown team shop, Levin was the third person in line for the club’s new Heritage Link Jersey.
What he waited for wasn’t a secret. Before he became only the third person to buy the club’s newest jersey, he spent minutes outside the store gazing at the new, de facto “away” uniform. The white jersey with club-colored collars and silver-diamonded checkers sparkled out of reach.
So once Levin got inside, got his hands on the jersey and held it outward steps away from the register, the excitement for the new kit turned into treasuring what he was buying: a representation of the Queen City’s past and present, in addition to the memories that will be made in that jersey’s future.
“You can tell this is one they put their heart and soul into,” Levin said, while wearing an FCC winter hat, jacket, pants and orange shoes with blue socks. “They didn’t have the window yet last year to get a true Cincinnati jersey, but you can tell they worked hard on this one.”
The window reference is to the short runway between FC Cincinnati’s MLS announcement in May 2018 and the inaugural MLS kits being unveiled this past February.
Most jersey concepts take two years to produce. FCC had less than two months to work with the league and adidas to finalize and approve designs for both the primary and secondary jerseys. That fact explains simple design of the 2019 secondary kits, which was plain white with subtle, raised horizontal stripes, the club logo and the Mercy Health logo printed in black. More effort went into making a unique primary hit from available adidas assets.
As for the new Heritage Link Kits, there still wasn’t a two-year timeline to design – the club started designing the look immediately after finishing the 2019 kits – but the team and adidas were afforded enough time to integrate homages to the Queen City into the new light jersey.
The checkered diamonds recall the city’s deep German heritage. Inside the collar reads “Juncta Juvant,” the city’s motto.
Joseph Herzog noticed the intricacies, too.
First in line for the new threads, Herzog waited an hour to purchase his own.
“I’m happy to see they kept some inspiration from last year,” he said. “They really knocked this one out of the park. They didn’t take a completely different direction. Back when we were in the USL, all of the kits were a very different take on the orange and blue. It’s nice to see they’ve picked a direction they want to go with.
“It just gets me hyped looking at it! You can tell it’s a new take on what they started last year. They’re doing the same with the team. They’re trying to carry over the momentum from last year. I really, really like it,” Herzog said.
The new Heritage Link Kit is available at the downtown FCC Team Shop (43 East Fourth St.), at the team’s Pop-Up Experience at Kenwood Towne Center, and online at mlsstore.com and adidas.com.
As for the team’s other 2020 jersey, that will be revealed in February – weeks before the 2020 MLS regular season. Speculation for that kit’s design can officially begin.