Major League Soccer side Atlanta United is living up to its name and hoping to bring its city together with the launch of a new third kit.
The new “Unity Kit” was launched on June 17, 2021, and is manufactured by adidas. It features wavy tonal deep red stripes on the front and sides. Within the stripes are 13 messages of unity written in 11 languages from around the world.
“We’re excited to unveil ‘The Unity Kit’ as our third kit for the 2021 season,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said on the team’s website. “This kit pays homage to unity, soccer and the great city of Atlanta. It’s a tribute to our supporters, who helped us become the first MLS team since 2016 to qualify for a third kit. We can’t wait to see our players wear this kit on June 20 in front of our amazing supporters.”
The crew neck collar and sleeve cuffs are black, while the adidas logo, adidas shoulder strips and sponsor logo appear in orange. A deep red and orange version of the club crest is placed on the left chest.
The back of the kit is solid red. Near the back collar is an orange “ATL” logo, with a railroad spike through the A. This is a nod to Atlanta’s founding in 1836 as the terminus of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The motto “A CITY UNITED” is printed on the tape inside the collar.
Going along with the jersey are black shorts with orange accents and deep red socks with black cuffs and orange adidas stripes.
The club will wear the Unity Kit for five matches over the rest of the 2021 MLS season. The first of those will be on Sunday, June 20, when they host the Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
UPDATE (June 18, 2021 – 8:11 a.m. MT): It appears the Unity kits were pulled from MLSstore.com sometime last night. This may be due to the Hebrew phrase on the kit being spelled backwards, as some pointed out on Twitter before and during the launch event held Thursday evening.
UPDATE II (June 18, 2021 – 10:52 a.m. MT): The jerseys are back up on MLSstore.com. A blank replica version appears to have the phrase corrected, but other jerseys on the page still have the misspelled phrase.
The Hebrew phrase meant to be included on the shirt is תיקון עולם (tikkun olam, or “repair of the world” in English), and it is spelled correctly in a graphic on the team’s website. The photos provided by the club don’t clearly show that particular phrase on the shirt, but the first word is visible in one retweeted by club during the launch, and the characters are in reverse order.
UPDATE III (June 18, 2021 – 3:11 p.m. MT): Atlanta United issued a statement regarding the jerseys, which Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Doug Roberson tweeted out earlier today (see below). There was no indication if the team still plans to wear the kits on Sunday vs. Philadelphia.
He later added:
UPDATE IV (June 20, 2021 — 4:29 p.m. MT): Atlanta United indeed wore the new Unity kits in their match against Philadelphia Union today. Between the lighting conditions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the printing on the kits becoming darker and more muddied as players perspired, it’s difficult to tell if the misspelled phrase was still present. This is the clearest shot available on Getty Images, and it’s possible that the printing matches the erroneous printing seen earlier in the week.
Photos courtesy Atlanta United