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Sporting Kansas City shows off new jerseys

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, at 8:51 p.m.

— Hundreds of Sporting Kansas City fans flooded the Field Club at Sporting Park on Wednesday for the unveiling of the club’s new jersey — an adidas-designed kit inspired by the city’s state-line geography.

“I like it,” Sporting KC defender and Overland Park native Matt Besler said. “It’s simple, but it looks really sharp.”

The Sporting Club crest sits on the left breast with a double line separating a wider Sporting blue field from an indigo field. The line runs straight down from the crest, but juts 45 degrees from the top of the crest to mimic the Kansas/Missouri state divide.

“There’s a lot of thought behind it and that’s something I think is really cool about the organization now,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “With anything we do, there’s a lot of thought behind.”

Sporting KC’s resident fashion expert, Aurelien Collin, an All-Star and MLS Best XI defender who grew up in Paris, gave the new jersey the thumbs-up.

“I like the two colors together and the Ivy Funds logo isn’t so bad,” Collin said. “It makes it look a little more like England, so it’s nice. I’m very happy with the new jersey.”

Fans generally seemed to agree with Collin’s assessment — if jersey sales are an indication.

Of course, the players’ concerns transcend mere style, but the jersey received high marks for its practical uses as well.

“For us as players, the biggest thing is comfort and how it feels — the performance aspect of it,” Besler said. “From that aspect, it’s the best jersey that I’ve ever put on. It’s so lightweight. It feels great.”

The hope is that when Kansas City’s summer heat gets cranked up, Sporting KC will better be able to keep its cool.

“In summer, we’re going to be very happy, because it’s a light material,” Collin said. “When we play in 90 degrees or 100 degrees, it will be more comfortable and it fits tight to the body.”

That, of course, won’t be a problem Saturday when Sporting KC opens the 2013 MLS regular season against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in West Chester, Pa., where temperatures are expected to hover near 40 degrees at game time.

Sporting KC President and CEO Robb Heineman joked before the jersey was unveiled that there was a time the club couldn’t have drawn as many people for a game as it did Wednesday night — a clear sign of the excitement building around the two-time reigning Eastern Conference champions.

“It was nice to have so many people here, but again I’m not surprised by the fans here anymore,” Collin said. “They are so amazing and make it very fun.”

Sporting KC hopes fans clad in its new jersey will terrorize opposing teams all season, starting with the home opener March 16 against the Chicago Fire.

“One of the assistants on another team said to me the other day, ‘We hate coming to your place. We know it’s going to be the longest 90 minutes of the year,’” Vermes said.

It was a nod to Sporting KC’s high-pressure style, but also to the rabid home-field advantage created by fans who will flock to see events like a jersey unveiling.

“It was an awesome night and a fun night for the players,” Besler said. “It showed how far this organization has come.”

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