Major League Soccer fans will now get the chance to buy a new jersey from their favorite team every year, after the league made changes to its rules about jersey releases.
Every team will now change at least one of its three jerseys - home, away or third - every season, per a league press release. Clubs will make their jersey releases over a period of time now known as "Jersey Week," which takes place this year from February 25-28.
Jerseys in this cycle have a lot of detail added into them based on the soccer culture that surrounds teams, including such features as season ticket holder names making up the horizontal lines on the Colorado Rapids' new home jerseys.
"I'm relatively new to the league, but the first thing that struck me was the incredible detail that went into the jerseys with Adidas and each of the clubs," Maribeth Towers, the league's senior vice president of consumer products, said to Jack Bell of the New York Times' Goal soccer blog. "It's apparent these are works of art." She added, "I think some of the details are lost to fans, like some slogans and team chants on the back inside collar tape, but every last detail has meaning to the club, its history or its city."
The Union embraced the history of soccer in Philadelphia, the Brotherly Game has learned, for their idea behind the new third jersey. (See a tease of the jersey on MLS Gear by clicking the linked text here, or in the picture above.)
"It's supposed to be a throwback," a source, who has seen the jersey, told the Brotherly Game. "The third jersey is an homage to the Bethlehem Steel Football Club."
[UPDATE: I have now received confirmation from two other sources that the jersey is Bethlehem Steel FC oriented. Also that BIMBO logo was likely redone for the jersey.]
Bethlehem Steel won nine championships in 21 years of existence, from 1911-30, and finished in second place in an additional five seasons. The club folded after the Great Depression destroyed the nation's economy and put to ruin both soccer leagues and Bethlehem Steel's financial outlook.
"The jersey has an original Bimbo logo, with an "M" that looks like mountains. It has a white collar and the ends of the sleeves have white adidas stripes. All else black*."
The source said he was also told that the team is planning on selling hoodies, shirts and other articles of clothing featuring the Bethlehem Steel logo this season.
*based on the teaser, the jersey may actually be a very dark navy blue.