Ask not what brown can do for you. Ask what you can do for brown. Lodge brothers, Loyal Order of Water Buffalo
Uni Watch asked a couple of weeks ago why there were so few teams that wear brown, and Vancouver has come through for them.
“When you look outside, you can see firsthand why the name Whitecaps FC is synonymous with our city,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “There are the white caps on the mountains, the white caps on the water and the forest industry that’s prominent in British Columbia and along the northwest. The kit has captured a different aspect of the northwest, but it’s still an aspect that is prominent in British Columbia and throughout the region.”
What a seamless segue from the ocean to the forests. Fine, so in Canada seeing snow on top of trees makes the Whitecaps angle not so far of a reach. I was curious as to why Vancouver didn't choose forest green, and was informed that green has pretty much been appropriated by their two rivals, and the Whitecaps wanted something different.
Well, it makes sense that they didn't want to dress up like the Timbers, although I tend to think of Seattle's colors as less "green" and more "ow." That didn't leave too many tree color choices.
But I'm not sure Vancouver realizes how adventurous their choice actually was. It's not simply that brown is a rarity in our neck of the, forgive the expression, woods. (The best known examples are the Caribous of Colorado and that football team in Ohio whose name escapes me.) Brown is downright beloved in American sports compared to its place in international soccer. Teams with "forest" right in the name tend to avoid actual tree colors. The Whitecaps, by showing up in a brown shirt ever, join a list of clubs you could fit on the hands of a clumsy lumberjack. St. Pauli is the only one, maybe in the world, who browns it up on a regular basis. They make brown, red and white look good, but for some reason the world will steal their chants but not their fashions. Coventry City wore an extremely poorly-received brown away set, Spurs wore a chocolatey third kit for a few minutes, Italy wore brown shorts for their 2009 Confederations Cup triumph, and I think that's about everyone.
Will Browncouver prove just as fleeting?
That’s one of the major selling points of the new kit — the fact that it can also serve as street wear and be “dressed up or dressed down,” Lenarduzzi said.
I assume "dress up" in connection with soccer jerseys from the post-sponsorship, post-polyester era means dressing up for the game. Which I totally get. Many is the morning I have pondered which shirt, which jersey, which scarf or scarves and which cap will make up my game-day ensemble. So I can see future Whitey fans saying, "I feel earthy today."
Would you buy/wear a jersey if they came in chocolate? I think most other MLS teams would look pretty awful...but if Canada doesn't want to sport the St. Pauli look for their alternate, then we could do worse.
In fact, we are doing worse. On the surface, there shouldn't be anything wrong with the United States jerseys this qualifying cycle - they are simply Celtic and Arsenal with different colors. So why do they look awful? It's a mystery.