Design Project: New York City Football Club

New York’s only newest soccer club, New York City FC, don’t begin play for another nine months. They, however, are not simply biding their time until kickoff. NYCFC have used the World Cup to promote themselves: special Team USA/NYCFC gear, World Cup watch parties, and other things. All of this hubbub (specifically one Facebook post about the US “bomb pop” uniforms, which I found a little gaudy) led me to think about one thing: the uniforms the club will be wearing when they take the pitch at Yankee Stadium for the first time. Technically they don’t have to reveal anything until next year’s MLS Jersey Week, but it’s always fun to speculate.

It is a well known fact that NYCFC is majority-owned by City Football Group, the owners of 2014 Premier League champion Manchester City FC. The object of this exercise is to get into their heads and imagine what sartorial decisions would be made between now and March of next year. This isn’t shooting blindly in the dark, either. City Football Group also bought over the Australian soccer club Melbourne Heart, renamed them Melbourne City FC, and immediately issued new kits, so there is some precedent which we can follow in designing NYCFC’s uniform.

I’ve chosen MetLife as the shirt sponsor as an example because they are a long-lasting New York based company, and because their logo is easy to draw. All of the jerseys have “5Boros1City” printed inside the collar, in the same spot where Manchester City have placed the phrase “We are Cityzens” on their 2014 homes.


The distinctive sky blue kit of Manchester City will most likely be NYCFC's home kit.
The distinctive sky blue kit of Manchester City will most likely be NYCFC’s home uniform.

I expect that NYCFC will wear the famous sky-blue-with-white-shorts Manchester City home kit. (They wouldn’t be the first MLS team to wear the home kit of their parent club–the Newark New York Red Bulls wear uniforms similar to the three other teams owned by Red Bull.) The only difference would be the Adidas tag on the front of the shirt rather than Nike; Adidas is MLS’s official uniform provider.

Why can we make this assumption? Manchester City actually tried to switch Melbourne City’s home kit to this–but were thwarted by Sydney FC, who also wear sky blue. Melbourne City now wear a design based on Manchester City’s 2013 third kit.

Speaking of that third kit, here’s an alternate home based on it:

Alternate home kit

I’d much rather see NYCFC play in this all-white design. Instead of Manchester City’s navy and sky blue stripe, I’ve used the colors of the flag of New York City: blue, white, and orange (it looks red, but it’s supposed to be orange).

Now, thanks to some fan protests, Manchester City did not design a new away kit for Melbourne City. They simply took the old Melbourne Heart home strip and reassigned it, which means there is no precedent here (yet) for a new uniform. I didn’t want to simply use Manchester City’s 2014 away kit, either, like I did with the home. Time to get just a little more creative:

Road kitSince both of my home uniforms are primarily light-colored, the away jersey must be primarily dark. A little inspiration actually came from Slovakia’s 2014 Winter Olympics dark hockey sweater, which is also light-colored by the shoulders and dark everywhere else. However, I didn’t want to fall into the “college football jersey” design mindset, where Nike or whatever other company adds in many imperceptible little details that all “represent something” about the team or location. No, simple and obvious would have to do. The five orange spokes all meeting in the center of the shirt stand for the five boroughs of New York City, and the sky blue and navy blue are, again, Manchester City’s colors. Name, number, and sponsor are outlined in navy for visibility. That’s it.

As for the third kit:

NYCFC is partly owned by the New York Yankees.

For the foreseeable future, the club will be playing in Yankee Stadium.

The choice is obvious.

Third kit

The NYC logo of NYCFC replaces the famous interlocking NY, and it is joined on the other breast by a navy adidas logo. Staying true to the famous pinstriped uniform, there is no jersey sponsor. The MLS logo sits on the back of the jersey, centered above the name (yes, a departure from the Yankees uniform, but a necessary addition for a brand new club), and the ensemble is rounded out by navy blue shorts and socks.

This design would only work, however, if the Yankees were okay with the similarity to their uniform. I’ve heard that a logo proposal for NYCFC from the Yankees’ in-house design team was rejected by the Yankees because it was too similar to the interlocking NY. If they do wear something similar to this, however, I think they should wear it until they move out of Yankee Stadium.

They’re not terribly inventive–indeed, three of these rip off existing jerseys. However, MLS has a rule that every club must change one uniform every year, so there will be a lot of time to create more interesting designs. We won’t be seeing what Adidas will come up with for a good long while, but it will be interesting to see what they do for the away and third jerseys.

Oh, and NYCFC should totally copy their Manchester overlords and adopt Blue Moon as their signature song. But make it the Marcels’ doo-wop version, OK?


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