MLS Unveils 2022 Match Ball; Will Debut in 2021 MLS Cup

Major League Soccer is getting a jump on next season with this week’s unveiling of the adidas match ball teams will kick around in 2022.

The ball was unveiled on Monday, Dec. 6, and will be used for the first time in the 2021 MLS Cup match between Portland Timbers and New York City FC on Sunday, Dec. 11. It is touted as a celebration of unity and diversity.

Graphics on the panels of the ball incorporate roses, the national flower of the United States, and bunchberry flowers, the unofficial national flower of Canada. They also incorporate colours representing the home nations of various MLS players.

“The new Official Match Ball is a symbol of the league’s extraordinary diversity. The ball’s design reflects the 860 players of MLS hailing from 79 different countries and highlights the sense of unity and belonging within soccer communities around the globe.”

MLSSoccer.com

Though the design has changed, the 2022 match ball retains the technical characteristics of match balls used in recent seasons. MLS and adidas tout it as “the most sustainable ball to date,” made from 100% water-based materials and print colors.

The rose became the national flower of the United States after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 1985. Then-President Ronald Reagan signed a declaration making it official on Nov. 20, 1986.

Meanwhile, Canada does not have an official national floral emblem — the closest symbol is the maple tree, which was declared Canada’s national arboreal emblem in 1996. However, in the lead-up to the country’s 150th birthday in 2017, the Master Gardeners of Ontario held an online vote to determine what the national flower should be, and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) landed in top spot, garnering almost 80% of the nearly 10,000 votes cast.

The Master Gardeners of Ontario then petitioned the Government of Canada to adopt bunchberry as the national flower. But the Government responded in January 2018, declining the request.

The 2022 MLS match ball is available for purchase through adidas.com, Soccer.com and select Dick’s Sporting Goods locations.

All photos courtesy MLSSoccer.com and @MLS / Twitter