The 2023 season of Major League Soccer is in full swing with FC Cincinnati and St. Louis sitting on top of their respective conferences. With half of the MLS season done, fans can expect nothing less from the league as teams start to jockey in for better positions.
The MLS isn’t ending anytime soon, so let’s talk about a different battle off the pitch -- one that can be as competitive as the games themselves. This is the battle of the kits.
Admittedly, the MLS has some of the best kits in the world. With teams in the league being relatively young, MLS kit designers can forego tradition and experiment on new colors and patterns.
But what kits really stood out this season? Let’s find out!
JerseyBird’s Top 10
MLS teams really upped their kit games this season and we’ve seen some beautiful ones. But, with half of the season played, it’s safe to say that we’ve seen enough to decide which jerseys were the best.
It wasn’t an easy task, but we ranked our 10 best kits for the 2023 MLS season:
10 - Toronto FC Onyx Kit
The return of onyx.— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) February 18, 2023
The heartbeat of our club.
The vision of a day-one member.
Starting our list is not just a good kit, but a great story as well. Toronto’s Onyx kit fuses the club’s two colors together in a refreshing pinstripe design. It is a rather simple design if you think of it, but the combination of deep red and the onyx shade gives the kit a certain look of luxury and elegance.
However, what makes this jersey even more appealing is the story behind it. The kit was designed in collaboration with Mark Hinkley -- a 46-year-old season ticket holder who has been with the club since day 1. It’s a gesture that any soccer fan would appreciate and it’s definitely great to see Toronto FC building up their legacy through these moves.
9 - Columbus Crew VeloCITY
For Columbus.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 15, 2023
Meet @ColumbusCrew's all-new VeloCITY kit. ⚡️
The Ohio-based club has been one of the league’s first members and they never fail to bring the fans a jersey to like. As the name suggests, the concept behind the club’s 2023 VeloCITY kit is movement and speed. The shirt’s base design is composed of blurred out triangles that give off the illusion of movement. It’s such a treat seeing The Crew’s front line running up the pitch in full speed wearing these.
Coincidentally, the club’s colors -- gray, black, and bright yellow -- can also be associated with common speed and road signs. Whether this was intentional or not, you have to admit that it’s a little cool.
8 - San Jose Earthquakes Active Fault
The new @SJEarthquakes has landed. 🔵⚫— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 17, 2023
Right off the bat, the Quakes’ team name opens up so many design opportunities. But, their 2023 Active Fault kit is perhaps one of the subtlest yet most creative executions of the earthquake concept so far.
If you take a look at the jersey as it is, you’ll see nothing but overlapping diagonal rectangles. But, when you realize that this is the San Jose Earthquakes’ jersey -- everything will click and put a little smile on your face. The way the designers were able to represent fractures and fissures in a sea of blue in this kit deserves applause.
7 - Inter Miami La Noche
We all know that whatever the sport is, Miami will bring in the good stuff when it comes to their jersey game. Inter Miami’s 2023 La Noche kit isn’t just stylish but also cleverly conceptualized. The dark base and pink outlines represent the energy of Miami’s world-renowned Rosanegra nights. The wave pattern on the kit, as you may have guessed it, represents the Miami waterfront at night. From the color to the elements on the kit, this jersey is amazingly well-thought.
6 - New York Red Bulls Daniel Patrick Home Kit
Daniel Patrick 🤝 @NewYorkRedBulls— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 15, 2023
A special collaboration for a new 2023 look.
Personally, we think that RBNY has an advantage in the jersey game because those two red bulls on their chest just go so hard -- good for them. This year, the team took their kit game up a notch by partnering up with athlete-turned-designer Daniel Patrick to create their home kit. Daniel isn’t new to designing sportswear as he has repeatedly worked with adidas, which also happens to be RBNY’s kit sponsor.
The execution of Daniel Patrick’s signature cloud brush design using dirty white and teal is masterful in our eyes. All in all, the kit looks athletic and stylish at the same time -- something that isn’t easily pulled off.
5 - New York City FC The Interboro
Just bring your best. Introducing the 𝙄𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙤𝙧𝙤 kit. pic.twitter.com/1cpVzOn4Zd— New York City Football Club (@NYCFC) February 15, 2023
New York City FC aren’t new to lists such as the one we’re doing today because they have a history of stunning. Their 2023 The Interboro kit was inspired by the mosaics scattered around New York’s subway stations. NYCFC’s kit designers used the mosaic execution to thread the club’s badge, giving it a faint yet detailed look. The kit is finished with another New York icon, the Statue of Liberty, embroidered on the lower part of the jersey.
4 - FC Cincinnati River Kit
Our city. Our bridge. Our River Kit. pic.twitter.com/bMgWxoTcV1— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) February 15, 2023
Clearly, FC Cincinnati’s management are on a roll this season. Apart from leading their conference halfway through the season, the club has also managed to produced one of the coolest kits this season.
FC Cincinnati’s River kit is inspired by -- well -- the Ohio river. The jersey is an ode to the team’s home and identity. The combination of the graphic depicting a stream of water and the jersey’s blue base keeps the design well-balanced. All in all, it’s something that a lot of Ohio-based fans would love.
3 - LA Galaxy The LA Kit
💚💛❤️@LAGalaxy's newest kit has dropped.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 17, 2023
Turning flags into kit designs is something that is often done in the soccer world -- but few are able to pull it off. LA Galaxy’s 2023 away kit is on the better end of the spectrum as they managed to turn the unorthodox combination of colors of their state flag into something quite beautiful. There’s really nothing much to say about except that this kit looks so good, we wouldn’t mind wearing it everyday.
2 - Seattle Sounders FC Bruce Lee
Honoring a legend.@SoundersFC's Bruce Lee kit has arrived.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 15, 2023
Everything about this jersey screams special. The Seattle Sounders’ Bruce Lee kit is a tribute to an unlikely Hollywood icon who started his American journey in Seattle.
For this kit, the Sounders abandoned their usual greens to forge a dragon-themed jersey clad in red and yellow. Instead of using the head or a whole dragon, the design features just a dragon’s body wrapped around the torso area of the jersey. At first glance, Bruce Lee wouldn’t really come into your mind, but the kit looks so good as it is that it deserves a high spot in our rankings.
1 - Minnesota United FC The Northern Lights
Shining bright. 🌌@MNUFC's new kit has arrived on the scene.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 18, 2023
Honestly, the battle for first place in our rankings wasn’t as hard as we anticipated it to be. Minnesota United’s Northern Lights jersey takes the top spot in our rankings without challenge. Everything from the execution of the concept to the colors used were just spot on.
The combination of sky blue, pink, and black artistically represents the northern lights while the white on the lower part of the kit depicts the snowy Minnesota mountains. Using the club’s emblem instead of the whole badge was also a great move to minimize attention on the icons and put the focus on the northern lights. All in all, this kit is art and we just loved it.
As the MLS season gets more and more intense in the next months, let’s not forget to take a moment to appreciate these kits. Because, even though the game itself is already beautiful, things just wouldn’t be right if it weren’t for these awesome jerseys.