There’s been anticipation around the first-ever Austin FC jersey release for months. The unveiling of the crest and the verde, black, and white color scheme intrigued soccer fans throughout the city.
The announcement of YETI as the jersey sponsor in February answered the question about who would be on the front of it, and then Netspend as the jersey sleeve partner answered another question. But questions remained about what the actual jersey would look like — even more so when Club President Andy Loughnane hinted it would arrive in time for the holidays.
Now, it’s finally here, and Austin FC would like you to think of it as more than just the jersey that players wear. Austin FC’s first-ever jersey is “the Uniform For Austin.”
The Club has launched a “Uniform For Austin” campaign to accompany the unveiling of its first-ever jersey. In an extension of the ongoing Verde Listos campaign that started celebrating local legends last month, the creative coming from the Club is highlighting all that Austin brings to the world.
“Launching our jersey is a big moment for the Club,” said James Ruth, Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We're all honored to be part of something that's so important for Austin FC, our supporters, and our whole community. You only launch your first jersey once, so we know how important a moment this is, and we’re determined to honor that moment in the right way.”
The jersey features broad verde and black vertical stripes and highlights the modern-looking Club crest that’s already received praise from soccer design fans. Ruth sees it as a look that’s both traditional and cutting-edge.
“I'm really proud of the design that the Club put together with Adidas, because I think it’s instantly timeless, and a design that we can build equity in for years to come,” he noted. “Ultimately, it's something that that is strong enough to build upon, while being unique within MLS and speaking to the soccer language that hardcore soccer fans already know.”
The concept of the jersey being “the Uniform for Austin” ties in with the “Verde Listos” campaign, bringing in some of the Austin icons featured in that creative — including neon artist Evan Voyles, sushi chef Yoshi Okai, pitmaster Eliana Gutierrez, and muralist Chris Rogers — to imagine what the jerseys would look like if they wore them while doing their jobs. That allowed Ruth and his creative team to showcase a diversity of vocations in a campaign that does a bit of rule-breaking.
“We actually wanted to use the jersey as a medium to tell the stories of all the great people and things that happen in Austin and the work that they do,” Ruth said. “I think it's important for people to understand that this is actually an unorthodox way to present a kit.
“We bucked against traditional approaches and put the city on top of the kit, quite literally,” he added. “We took some risks, we broke a rule which says that you're not supposed to affect the kit itself. When we showcase the kit for Chris Rogers, the muralist, it’s got paint all over it. This campaign is going to be different.”
In addition to videos showing Austinites in action, the campaign will feature still life images of the kit surrounded by artifacts from other Austin legends, both known and unknown. For fly fisherman Alvin Dedeaux, for instance, there are tackle boxes, a YETI cooler, and a soaking wet jersey at the centerpiece. For musician and Austin icon Willie Nelson, expect his guitar, trademark bandana, and other elements.
People throughout Central Texas can expect to see the campaign unveiled in the coming weeks. For Austin FC fans who don’t need any more persuasion and are ready to buy their jerseys, they can go straight to the MLS Store online, or catch the Verde Van as it circulates throughout Austin.