Category Archives: Soccer

Football from Scratch

In a “two birds, one stone” sort of situation, celebrating both my thirtieth birthday and HAFC’s 12-2 victory late on Tuesday night, I wanted to write a bit about the genesis of the club from the perspective of the guy who’s almost really only done marketing/branding/kit work (which shouldn’t really be shocking to any of you).

So what is Harper’s Athletic Football Club (usually just “Harper’s” or more rarely “HAFC”)?

Harper’s is a co-ed, beer-league indoor/outdoor football (soccer) team that is comprised of about equal parts DCFC fanatics and not, who started off life as Whiskey in the Jar in the DCFL outdoor summer league which plays at historic Fort Wayne south of downtown.

I joined on the urging of several friends as a way to get more soccer in my life, actually start playing sports competitively, and as a way of staying healthy.

Between the summer and fall seasons there was a longer-than-usual break as Detroit City prepared to open the Fieldhouse (and then later, the Clubhouse). This would move DCFL indoors to the renovated facility. At this point the captain of Whiskey decided to look into a few new potential sponsors and a rebranding.

The Crest and “Harper’s” AFC

Being a sort-of, almost sports branding person, I basically took this as a chance to have a ton of fun and learn a lot about running the image of a team. I set out chasing down one potential sponsor which will pop up a lot in the following images. But despite that, it was pretty quick how we moved from them once another sponsor popped up.

The decisions between sponsors is a story that doesn’t necessarily belong here, or really anywhere. Both are fantastic. Both owners were generous and forward. Both are worth your patronage.

Originally, and in the spirit of the bar league, we were going to take the name of the bar that sponsored us, but with the coming Fieldhouse (and the attached bar, the Clubhouse) we knew that there might be multiple sponsors in our future. At that point was the genesis of a club with an actual name and thus a real identity.

The first mock up was pretty basic, a bumper filled with red beer with the name of a bar over it, here Little Tony’s, which is a favorite hang out of Brigid and me.

This is a prototype image, because I had never bought the actual image IIRC. Or if I did, I didn’t use it later. It might’ve actually been free, now that I’m thinking about it.

Anyway, it was eventually upgraded to this:

Which is a much better-looking glass and I most certainly have the right license too!

The reason for a red beer instead of more traditional black or yellow ones actually has to do with the kits, but it starts here with Little Tony’s. This bar is in an offset building on Mack Avenue that is green and black:

(Taken from the Little Tony’s Facebook)

I knew I wanted to use green and black as two of the primary colors of the club, and if they were going to be the primary colors, it was likely that the crest would involve both. Now, I could’ve gone with a green crest and a black beer, but I already had a sort of idea in mind so what I needed was contrast. The cream contrasted the black, and so to contrast the green I went with red.

So I threw together a very Germanic or even Celtic-inspired crest with an art deco font I had laying around (and again – the license to). I needed a sort of “name” to fit in there and rather than using Lorem Ipsum, mostly jokingly threw on the name of the other avenue I live near – Harper.

For those of you know don’t know, I live between Mack and Harper avenues literally on the line of Grosse Pointe Woods and Harper Woods. Many of the bigger, better teams in the DCFL (which play in the much more competitive “Neighborhoods” league) use the names of local neighborhoods. Harper Woods is oft forgotten, so eh?

I fully expected the name to be questioned and changed pretty quick to another part of Detroit proper or even just to something a bit more generic. To my surprise it stuck, which maybe I shouldn’t’ve been because it does roll off the tongue pretty well and I love that it has a human quality to it without also being easily gendered.

Plus my phone puts “Harper’s Ferry” and “Harper’s AFC” next to each other so… you know… fight the power.

“Athletic Football Club” also came from a desire to be outside the norm. “Football Club” is much more common, especially here in the States. Really it’s a tiny tweak, but it has some good consequences. It differentiates us and it the abbreviation is much more aesthetically pleasing to me: HAFC vs HFC. HAFC is a sports team, HFC is a TV channel that plays in the background of the dentist’s office.

The Folks in Hoops

This is probably the part everyone is waiting for. Obviously one of the things that appealed the most to me was being able to design distinct, perhaps even iconic kits for HAFC and then getting to actually make them. The thought of working with suppliers and designers, at the time, was super exciting. And to an extent, it still is, but it is much more… mundane? Mundane.

The first thing I did was sit down and collect my thoughts and asked a vital question. What makes a kit iconic?

What makes a kit that after hundreds of years of iteration can be put next to the first one and you go “oh yeah, I see that”. And really, what I found, is that it is a combination of sticking to your colors, sticking to a simple design that offers room for experimentation without losing the focus.

So the next question was, what are some iconic kits?

Newcastle. Celtic. Manchester United. Chelsea. Inter Milan. Barcelona.

This list could go on forever. But basic colors. Basic designs. Focus. A plain shirt is a design. It’s an aesthetic as much as any other decision. Hoops vs stripes. What color are your shorts? Your socks? Those can be easy to forget when doing this. Shorts and socks provide either more room for your color of choice, like with Liverpool. Or can provide contrast, like Manchester City.

If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend Historical Kits. which is a lovely archive of hundreds if not thousands of kits spanning more than 100 years of football history in England and Scotland. It’s an easy way to see (and also get lost in) the design of football kits.

But if you’ve been on this site even just once or paid attention to that crest I posted, you probably know where this is going – we’re going to hoops.

The crest and the kit were being iterated at the same time, but the hoops were first on the kit and then migrated to the crest to solidify the relationship, it’s also a bit of a nod to my favorite English team – Newcastle United, who have their stripes on their crest. I did think about vertical stripes, but the hoops are so much… better? Better is the wrong word, but it works here.

One club in particular I had in mind when picking colors and designs was Plymouth Argyle, a team I know literally nothing about other than over the last few years they’ve had several kits I nearly bought just to have lying around. Their colors are also include a beautiful shade of green and black and boy have they had some amazing kits:

Plymouth Argyle's most recent home kits

(Image taken from PlymouthLive)

Their 2018/19 kit especially (far left above) is so gloriously fantastic that I might still buy one just to have. If only their season was going as well as those kits. They’d be in the PL before Christmas.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I hadn’t even picked colors yet. Whiskey in the Jar (the team, not the bar) wore sky blue kits.

The shorts and socks were a mish-mash as only tops were made and I actually never even had one as I wore a sky blue Adidas training top. Originally I considered keeping to the sky blue and potentially doing hoops or stripes with that. But since we were on the prowl for a new sponsor, the idea to grab new colors was too strong and the green/black color combo is a favorite of mine, one that I’ve used a number of times in mock ups and world building scenarios.

This is a kit I designed as part of a failed project mentioned several times in the blog. You can tell it was pretty early in my ‘career’ as it uses the 3/4ers “hero” pose and things don’t line up as neatly or make much sense. Like the logo on the side of the shorts. The first iteration of the Harper’s kits was basically this translated to the front view:

I wanted to emphasize green with the hoops, rather than black, so instead of starting and ending with black, I started and ended with green. The sleeves line up with the shirt only in opposite colors, which gives it a cool effect, I think. Then, stealing directly from Plymouth, I threw on that sexy, sexy white collar. You can see the first iteration logo here. I think it mostly works, but it doesn’t have the charm of the circular ones to come.

Still with the older logo (the second iteration of the logo was something that really only lasted a day or two before being replaced, so it didn’t really end up on any mockups), I had a sort of serendipitous moment when I colored the sleeves white and liked the look of it so much I took another step back to let it soak in. That’s when I came up with this crazy idea – what if the top of the kits were white?

I applied a pattern I had laying around from another project (or recreated it) and got that rounded effect on top.

Side note – if you’ve ever worked with me and wonder why I can finish shit so quickly, it’s because A) I’m very familiar with my tools (I’ve been using PS since I was like 14), B) I have a very extensive knowledge of kits because there are great people like Högs, Eric, Roger, and others who always give me great tips when stuff pops up and C) I’ve got a very large portfolio made almost entirely of random ideas that I can quickly grab pieces off of. And also, when you pay for “15 minutes of work” you’re actually paying for 15 minutes of my time and all of the above. This shouldn’t need to be explained, but there’s a trend of devaluing artists and designers… but not the work they produce? Which is weird.

Anyway.

So, I get the designs all together (there is a corresponding away kit that has not and will not be made and isn’t being discussed here) and I send them over to our captain for review.

The review portion can always be nerve-wracking, even in situations where I maintain a large amount of control like this. It often leads to sitting next to gmail and refreshing.

What came from the review was: no collar, different sponsor. Plus at the time we were made aware that the custom socks could not be made, so we had to choose from some pre-made ones, we chose black.

I have one final check that I often like to do when working on more traditional designs like the one above. I open up my sandbox on wikipedia and I try to recreate the kit using only the default patterns for the kit and see if it captures the spirit of the design. Not necessarily 99% of it, or even really 90%. But the closer, the better.

It worked fantastically.

So there it is. The Harper’s AFC kit in all it’s finished glory. I’ve actually learned a lot about everything working on these. Including how to get those hooped socks, which some of us now have! There is a few things I’d improve with the finished (i.e. worn product) but for the most part they are amazing and I’m please to have worked on them.

We’re already looking into next year’s kits and we have some sexy new away kits on the wings ready to drop in the next few weeks.

Cheers, everyone!

The Kit Post – 2019

Cheers and salutations to the fifth annual Kit Post! Five years of talking my head off in these Sisyphean attempts to further my clout and reach as a kit designer so that one day I may be sipping martinis with Cristiano Ronaldo while one of my kits barely contains his physique.

For those new to my site, whether you hate-watch it or I freshly picked you up during the 2018 Detroit City FC season, welcome! Every year in August I make a post about Detroit City FC’s kits from that season and then make some “predictions” on what we can look forward to next season.

If you’re interested in the previous four, you can find them here:

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

Over the last several years, I’ve learned a lot about designing kits and how they are made. I’m not far from making the jump from “hobbyist” to “freelancer” and have actually had a few (three or four) false starts on that front. But each time I learn a bit more and come back a bit stronger. I’m also on the cusp of figuring out a way to just design kits and sell them, which I might experiment with. Things like my fantasy kits are probably the best place to start. So if you’re a fan of the Union Macenburgh kits, perhaps you should watch this site or my twitter for details.

My designs, I think, are significantly stronger than they were even a few short years ago. Partially because I’ve started using professional templates, but also because I’ve become better at translating the vision to the page. Still not great at logos. Not sure what I can do for that but keep working on it.


So let’s start with the 2018 Detroit City kits. I have some mixed opinions here and I actually managed to get a few things right:

  • Away kits used white socks with red flip-overs
  • We dropped Detroit Metro Chevy Dealers
  • I predicted the chevron for the home, we used them on the charity kits

Some things that I was completely wrong on:

  • I predicted we’d use the darker, purple-y maroon again for the home colors, we returned to just dark red
  • The away kits returned to white
  • I have *always* predicted a black charity kit, once again that proved not to be true (more on that in a bit)
  • We still didn’t pick up Stroh’s as the primary, but we did pick up Lyft; so welcome to the team Lyft
  • The Metro Chevy Dealers deal did not have multiple years left on it

Okay, but I got some hits! That’s better than nothing.

Last seasons kits can be ranked as thus: Away just barely hedges out Home, then a massive gulf in quality, the charity kits. If we were talking purely the tops it be a much closer race but… let’s just start there.

The charity kits, when first unveiled were already divisive. There’s the undercurrent of anti-blue in the DCFC fandom that is not surprising.  Our biggest rivals all wear blue (Lansing, A2, GR, the Cavs… apparently), so for us to don it as well is not going to be well received. There’s some evidence that the FO is just trolling, but whatever. I liked the sky blue tops, I liked that they still incorporated touches of gold and the rouge chevrons. The problem was everything else. When they were unveiled, they were unveiled with the white shorts and socks. That looked good. Later in the season, I noticed that the white socks that had been worn at the unveiling were not the white socks we were using that season, so I put a vote up. People supported using the away socks or perhaps sky blue socks. What we got was so much worse: the home socks and the home shorts… for some reason. It looked like utter garbage, a very rare miss for our kits.

The home kits, on the other hand, were great. I really liked the subtle nod to Dave Edwardson’s hometown for what turned out to be his final season (apparently, as of writing). The vertical stripes of Newcastle looked good in the two-tone rouge. I prefer the hoops, if I’m honest, but I also like breaking up plain-looking kits. I’m thinking that next year we’ll return to a more plain look. I really hope we avoid the mess of patterns offered by Adidas for the upcoming season. Some are descent… but others are just… bad. Like snow flakes? Really? For fuck’s sake Adidas.

Finally, the away kits, which were absolutely stunning. Loved them. Didn’t grab one because I’m a clutz and I don’t want to ruin a $90 kit. The touches of rouge in the collar and on the cuffs was sublime. That’s how you do an all white kit… by not taking “all white” literally. A few teams in our league, including DCFC a few seasons ago have worn what are essentially bargin-bin white kits from Dick’s that have had the logos and sponsors ironed on. That’s good for a team that pulls fewer fans out per game than it concedes goals, but for DCFC you gotta be cutting edge. This year’s away kits? Italian chef finger kiss Divine.


Before we continue, I have a few disclaimers for readers:

  • I don’t work for the DCFC front office
  • The DCFC front office fucks with me
  • Kits shown here are not official direction
  • Logos, league, and sponsors are used without permission
  • Sponsors and league are not official or necessarily endorsed by our front office
  • The reality of 2019 might be very different than what I predict here

So we’re nearly a thousand words in by this point so you’re probably going, “Nick, just show us your fucking kits,” which I think is a rational response, so we’ll get the show on the road.

Last year I wanted to focus on the possible, that is to say I studied some of Adidas’ available templates and based my designs off those. This year I’m not sticking to that so much. I want kits that are both possible, but also are a bit more involved. So with the next three designs I have one that fits the “fully sublimated” design, the “easily available template” design, and another that falls in between. I liked mixing it up and I liked getting to do some more complicated things.

I have a feeling one or more of these designs might be a tad controversial, but we’ll see.

One last point to address before I get started is that I actually reached out for feedback and ideas and really I only got three: pink/black combo, “verdigris”, and for the sashes from the 2014 season to return. I’m only going to address one of those points here: pink/black. I just designed a pink/black kit for a client and so I was not necessarily keen on doing it again. I love the pink/black combination and I’ll certainly revisit it in the future, but the timing was off for me so it’ll wait. However, I do hope everyone enjoys the one I did make when it comes out in a couple months.



The Home Kit – Soul of Detroit

My 2019 Detroit City FC home kits feature the Detroit city flag sublimated onto the front in the two-tone rouge that has become a mainstay for our home kits in the last few years. For an added touch, I alternated the colors of the sleeves as well to give the traditional feel of a quartered kit, a pretty common design in Europe but very rare on this side of the Atlantic, especially in the US.

I have a love-hate relationship with sublimation. I feel that it’s often misused to create these vastly complicated designs instead of bringing a fresh take on older designs (like using the quarters to create the Detroit flag). Gold trim on the collar, shorts, sleeves, and socks bring the overall look together – an otherwise disjointed design framed and united. Not unlike the city itself.

With the constant war in US soccer on an increasing number of “fronts”, including Detroit and now Chattanooga, I wanted to make it perfectly clear what team is Detroit’s team.


The Away Kit – Heart of Detroit

The idea of bringing back the sash from the infamous “kitless” season of 2014 (which also gave us the hoops for the first time) has crossed my mind, but having it specifically called out when I requested input made it too much to avoid.

The sash itself is two-tone rouge, like the home kit, to give it a bit of dimension, and then “trimmed” in gold. The gold trim on the sleeves and shorts remains from the home kits, but the collar switches to rouge, not unlike the 2018 kits, and I kept the red flipover with white stripes for the socks.

A repeat of the 2014 and 2017 seasons would be fantastic, picking up this under-rated beauty would be a great place to start. That and picking up a certain WMB.


The Charity Kit – Spirit of Detroit

So the suggestion of “verdigris” was a fascinating one, certainly got my gears turning for possibilities. For the unaware, verdigris is the color of weathered copper… featured prominently on old statues like the Statue of Liberty and our own Spirit of Detroit, which has been featured on every single Detroit City FC kit from the very beginning.

I knew right away I wanted to go into one of those “traditional” kit designs that are not common in the United States. Originally I started with the quarters, but I quickly shelved this. It just didn’t click in my head, so I switched the the halved design thinking that I could add some smaller details in it to give it some life. Sublimation ideas crossed my mind, including the statue proper, but like I said the statue is on every kit and I didn’t want it to look like it was a larger crest sublimated over the entirety of the kit. I also considered some golden pin stripes, but again getting too complicated.

What I chose is what’s here: the gold collar and trim on the shorts, sleeves, and socks as well as the verdigris and white alternate logo. Sleeves alternate color like the home kit (or really the home kit picked it up from here as this was the first kit I worked on) with the YMCA as the charity sponsor. Between the two halves I applied a bit of a staggering design to give it a bit of needed life without over-complicating the entire design.

This is absolutely, hands down, my favorite of the three. The choice of verdigris as a color was amazing, it works brilliantly with the gold and white and is definitely being added to my dossier of color combinations for later. If I had to pick one kit, just one kit for DCFC to actually make real, no competition: it’s this one.


So that’s that! Kit Post 2019 has come and gone and we’re still under 2000 words!

I hope everyone enjoyed the little discussion today and I really hope everyone loves the designs. As always, keep your eyes on my twitter where I often post snippets of, or even full designs for kits and in the coming weeks definitely stay tuned for some big unveilings that I have planned.

And what do you guys want to see? What did you like, what didn’t you like from the 2018 Detroit City kits? Let me know!

Cheers, everyone!

Mythology

Eight thousand (ish) years ago, my ancestors sat on the banks of the Black Sea in a region that is now Ukraine and looked out over the waves, probably telling stories. By all accounts they had a language, but what it was is unknown, and they had religion, which we do know a bit about. The stories they told around the fire or in holy places were probably not all that different from the ones we tell now. They’d speak of divine intervention, the power and might of warriors, the calm and love of healers.

Today, we speak of the same things with the same reverence. We build the same mythologies, these stories that might have no importance to someone outside of the tribe, or might be thought of in the opposite like, a tale of woe a tale of glory; a tale of victory a tale of defeat. But the sharing of these stories, the telling of having been there, of having felt the emotion first hand, will only last so long. These beloved memories will slip fully into myth.

But they also slip into myth today, in real-time, whenever they are recounted to someone who had not been there. Or every time we add a little detail, subtract a little detail, or embellish something a wee bit. When we let emotion get the best of us and blind us from an objective retelling, because an honest retelling not need be constrained by reality.

I’ve been thinking about these modern myths recently because a coworker asked about my desktop backgrounds, modern cave paintings depicting warriors in celebration or battle. Warriors wearing rouge and gold and those who see them off to battle sounding horns and manipulating the battlefield with smoke and fire. He asked what they meant and so I told him in a rather round-about way. I didn’t tell him the objective truths behind the images; I told him the myths, as real to me now as they were when I witnessed them with my own eyes, my own ears.

I told him of the great warrior WMB, swift as the wind, as nimble as a bird, who with strength and resolve dashed our foes, the vile Lansing, breaking them forever, never to rise from field again.

I spoke of the Dragon, who with rippling abs too numerous to count, dug in and rescued our forces from defeat in such a glorious way that the songs of our people summoned forces far greater to extinguish our fires.

I regaled him with the story of the beast Louro and his one-man-stand against a great stag, and beating his chest when he left that monster bloodied and dead in its own meadow. And of when he raised that golden belt above his head, surrounded by a grateful tribe who had traveled seeking revenge.

And the mousy knight, with his right foot of destiny, when things looked tight and bleak, and that our wall of brick would be called upon to save the day, did lay low that monster from the suburbs in the ninety-third minute.

But not just warriors, I also told tales of great journeys to far off lands. Of invading Cleveland (a story that I told second-hand), of bus trips to sleepy towns in Wisconsin, or converging on a field of corn in the midst of a thunderstorm.

Of friends from far overseas who came in celebration, of culture shared, history shared, of pride shared.

I told him of foes.

Of dances that could’ve lasted forever.

I spoke of friendships that were forged with one who should’ve been our enemy, but when we saw him on the field, leg shattered, we rallied around him, brought him care and comfort. Sent him home more one of us then one of them.

There were great community gatherings, of celebration, of care, of community coming together to fix a chariot, or to heal one of our cherished sisters.

And too, I told him of that darkest moment, when things looked grim, and the vile enemy did have the advantage three to nil, with one of our warriors out of the fight. And how our songs never ceased. How our voices lifted and united. And slow and steady our warriors fought back, and before the day was over, found ourselves evenly matched. And the great warrior Seb did celebrate as a windmill, standing strong over a field of rouge and gold tulips.

He listened with eyes wide, he understood what it meant, that these were no ordinary tales of gallantry, these were myths, enshrined forever by the tribe. They would only grow brighter with time, a little fuzzier sure, but no less true, no less glorious.

In the nascent days of a kingdom, these myths bind us together, and they tell of who we are, what we stand for.

The Kit Post – 2018

Welcome to the fourth annual Kit Nerd Day!

That’s right, I’ve done three of these already, and so far I’ve successfully predicted literally zero of the kits. Of course, that isn’t necessarily the point. The point is for me to have fun and for you guys to get a gander of all the crazy ideas constantly going through my head.

For those new to the site: every year around the end of August I do a post with some ideas and thoughts about next season’s kits. So just to repeat, these are ideas for the 2018 season.

And, like always, let’s start with some disclaimers. First, I am not a professional. I don’t work for Detroit City FC or any of the major kit design companies. I’ve used all images without permission. Nothing I post represents an official direction of the front office or any one tangentially involved. Remember – the FO actively works to fuck with me and they’ve even told me.

Any potential sponsors/leagues, these are not endorsed by the FO, the NGS, or anyone else. I make them for fun.


So the first thing is thoughts on last year’s kits.

Fuck. Yeah.

I mean, that was a crazy season. Beat two professional European teams. A new record-sized crowd was there. We won the Midwest. We attracted attention from all over the world through our friends at Copa90US. Keyworth’s stands are nearly completely opened. The “Wolfpack” started as a meme and ended up as a rallying cry. I got to meet Peter Wilt, who’s setting up NISA, in the stands at the Key. So that was pretty awesome from just a soccer-nerd standpoint.

Oh.

And Lansing blew a 3-0 lead.

As for the kits: the hoops returned! We did actually get throwback kits (to the ’67 Cougars). We even made the long-desired, long-awaited switch to Adidas! That’s fucking awesome. These kits were way better quality than the Nike’s. Way better. They did come at a higher price tag for us, but damned were they fucking gorgeous.

Across the board they were fantastic. From the hooped rouge on rouge on rouge kits to the golden away days kits (which saw quite a bit of use at home) to the fantasticly simple charity kits to those drop-dead gorgeous Cougar throw-backs. There are three 2017 kits in the Kendall-Collins household. I feel that is too few, but it is what it is.

Adidas pretty much owns US soccer, namely through their agreement with MLS, which IIRC was just renewed. Nothing of their really struck me this year. Portland’s home kits are more reminiscent of their third kits from previous years, which is nice.

Atlanta’s kits are pretty good. I’m a fan of the black/red combo and the grey and red makes for an interesting away. Columbus got their yellows back. That’s good. New England has an interesting 50/50 kit, rare on this side of the pond.

I noticed a few “default” designs either leaked into MLS or out. Atlanta’s home kit. NE’s home. Columbus’s away. Houston’s away. Plus any solid color kits. Not a good or bad, just something I found interesting.


Okay, some thoughts about DCFC kits in general before I move forward with unveiling my designs.

According to Crain’s the deal with Adidas is a multi-year agreement. That means I can pretty easily open up the Adidas miTeam app and fiddle around. But instead of using their kit builder, I’ve chosen to instead create some designs based on what’s available in the kit creator. So these designs should be entirely possible for Detroit City to don for 2018.

Moreover I’ve learned about when they actually put in the orders, so… I know that I’m ahead of the curve here. Fingers crossed. Is this the year we get the Nick Kendall kits?!

We’ll see.

One last note:

Sponsor – Stroh’s

After the loss of Flagstar as a sponsor, I’ve had to switch it up. I’ve more or less fallen into the rut of using Stroh’s because damn it looks great on our kits. Now, I don’t actually think this will be a thing because I think the deal with Metro Chevy Dealers also has multiple years left on it, but I’ll be damned if I stick a bowtie on my designs.



The Home Kit – Wolf’s Bite

Starting from the top, my prediction for the 2018 home kit. Based off Adidas’ chevron design – the chest is broken up by a bloodied dagger like a wolf’s blooded maw. Put five or six of them together and you’ve got yourself a fearsome beast.

I’ve stuck with the darker shade of rouge for the main body, adding just the barest hint of a lighter shade for the accents on the side and on the edges. And at the very bottom, just above the hem, is the flag of Detroit.


The Away Kit – Upwards

Next up is the away kits, I want to continue the gold and white kits. I was extremely happy to see them make a return after too many seasons away. We’re the blood and treasure, rouge and gold allez allez, so let’s keep it going. Whether we end up in NISA, NASL, or remain in the NPSL it’s all coming up City.

This design is based on the same design that they use for the New England Revolution’s home kit and has since become a default design, only here the stripes go the whole way through. The rouge accents are far more visible on the gold and white, but remain consistent with the home kit.


The Charity Kit – Soccer’s Heel

Not everyone gets to be a good guy, someone has to play heel so some self-righteous prick can play face and tell himself that no matter his own faults, at least he doesn’t light off smoke, swear, and have too much fun in the stands.

Harking back to arguably one of the greatest teams of all time and certainly back to the single most beautiful Adidas kit ever the charity kits are a combination of black and rouge that begs, begs to be unleashed on the pitch.

Let the soccer moms tremble, everyone’s favorite team to hate is here.


There it is everyone, Kit Nerd Day 2018! What did you like? What do you hate? What do you want to see the Boys in Rouge don this year? Let me know either in the comments or on twitter.

I’ll keep posting extras on twitter as I usually do.

And as always; Lansing blew a 3-0 lead.

Cheers everyone!

Kleinstaaterei – NISA Joins the Mess

As is often the case German has the perfect word for any situation. Kleinstaaterei literally “small state -ery” is a great description of three things: Germany before Bismarck, the Balkans after 1992, and American soccer in 2017.

Today, as unveiled by Midfield ϕress, the giant goatsee-esque gaping hole in the American soccer “pyramid” might finally come to a close. For those not keeping up (and why would you?) the pyramid is currently very not pyramid-like as we currently have the MLS on top, both the NASL and the USL in tier two, noöne in tier three (because that fucking makes sense), and then PDL and NPSL in tier four.

(Detroit City is in that tier four clusterfuck.)

What is bringing this to a close? In an interview between Chris Kivlehan and Peter Wilt apparently it is NISA: the National Independent Soccer Association the USL to the NASL’s MLS.

Now, a large portion of the hype driving this, that pro/rel has finally reached America is cut down quick; Wilt is pretty straight-forward and honest that there is no agreement between NASL and NISA. He says (emphasis mine):

I presented the concept of the third division league to both the NASL and NPSL.  Both thought it was a great idea, and was needed.  The idea was a link league that would eventually lead to promotion and relegation.  Everyone agreed it was a great idea, but  the devil was in the details.

Over the next several months the focus became who would organize it and lead it, NASL or NPSL.  At the end of the day both said they needed to focus on their own leagues

This bit of honesty, when showmanship could’ve reigned, is one of the reasons I tend to let Mr. Wilt speak. It’d be easy to promise the sun and stars and deliver New Jersey, but expectations must be reasonable.

So what are those promises? Well, Peter continues by outlining four “pillars” of the league:

I. An affordable pro division national soccer league with regional based competition

II. An independent league with team owners controlling their markets and intellectual property

III. Our intention to incorporate promotion and relegation once the league is fully populated with 24 teams

IV. Have a strong league office with quality staff supplemented by expert consultants

I’m going to break this down from my perspective. One and two say “we’re going to mix the NASL with the NPSL” – regional with low travel costs and independent teams, no franchises here.

The first problem I see, though, is immediately followed by number three: twenty-four teams? But that’s a fourth what the NPSL boasts and about the same as the MLS. It’s also twice the current NASL roster of teams.

How is one supposed to be regional when there are so few teams? Or is the plan to have two divisions? “No” says Wilt. One. One division of eight to ten teams in 2018.

Ooookay.

However, Wilt continues, this will break into two conferences as the goal of twenty-four teams is reached.

I’m ignoring that other part for now.

Lastly, that fourth pillar is just saying to investors “we learned from the NASL blowup at the end of last season and we’re going to move forward smarter”.

Whether or not that is true has yet to be seen, but acknowledging that you have a problem is always the first step to fixing it.

Next few sections are business talk I’m not smart enough to understand.

Flip flip flip.

Wilt brings up an interesting point, which I will use to jump off to that discussion a bit earlier than planned (emphasis mine):

There is the potential that NISA could fully populate at 24 teams before NASL can populate to its goal of 20 teams.  So NISA can work as an incubator of sorts for the NASL, at first, before promotion and relegation.  A team could play for 2 or 3 years in NISA, then join NASL via expansion.  This would allow those teams to get their feet under them from a business standpoint.  They can build their fan base and revenue model while operating at a lower budget.

Well isn’t that a whole lot of common sense, but it still (wisely) skirts around the whole pro/rel issue – which I guess is the point.

I’d like to think that every team in NISA will have the ambition to either buy their way up or earn their way up through a promotion and relegation meritocracy.  Our ambition is to grow the sport.  We want to promote teams to the higher division, and eventually do that in a merit-based way in an open system, which is obviously another contrast to USL.

So the plan seems to be a sort of hybrid system, which makes sense in a round-about way. NISA will probably still be operating without paid players, hoping to maintain the ability to tap into the NCAA’s player base.

Or maybe they’re not.

A longer season might make this harder. Ten teams means eighteen home/away games. Currently DCFC plays fourteen with a pretty packed schedule that relies on favorable geography.

Will the longer season mean fewer NCAA players? Probably. In the past DCFC had issues keeping players from certain schools on board all season because they’d get called back early.

And college players travel notoriously poorly – primarily because they don’t travel so they can work a part-time job. Low-tier soccer in the US doesn’t pay. And without TV deals it probably never will improve too much. That’s what makes MLS squads so much stronger than even NASL or USL squads – there’s a huge cliff between them, a cliff bridged with money from sponsors who want national exposure on TV, not just some YouTuber’s stream.

In the end I think that will be the largest hurdle between NPSL and NISA, but not as big as a hurdle between NISA and NASL. You can’t really be semi-pro, because the NCAA basically dictates that you either pay everyone (and get no NCAA players) or pay no one (and get no professionals).

Now there is some grey room – but it is limited to those willing to essentially work two jobs to play soccer.

I’m going to move this entirely into the realm of my personal thoughts, because the interview, while well-written, starts to get into business stuff pretty quick and I want to just think aloud rather than regurgitate.

I am not convinced by this. I’m just not. If Detroit moves into this league, and given hints from Sarge on twitter, it seems likely, I am worried. I am worried about my club being dragged down by the weight of another ASL. Remember ASL? No? Well they were a thing and they were essentially dead on arrival.

On the flip side I trust Peter Wilt more than most people.

On the flip flip side, USL is also getting ready to launch its own tier three division. There are pros and cons – USL has the “B” squads and affiliate squads that can help bolster their second division in the rough early waters; however that can also stagnate interest in the league from outsiders. It also means that the USL will be running two leagues while the NASL and NISA operate independently, meaning each can focus on their own interests while only paying respect to the other.

Whether they are “relegated” is not my concern. Boot them before they drag the league under.

That sort of decentralization might be healthy and give NISA a good advantage.

I also think that NISA and Peter will attract some interesting teams that will help the league in those early water days with good, strong attendances.

Another issue, though, is that I can’t think of that many teams to make this worth-while. NISA needs to be willing to cut the chaff and not give fledgling teams enough time to sink the entire league. If a team is floundering they need to be kicked out, period. Whether they are “relegated” is not my concern. Boot them before they drag the league under.

This also means that this war between the independent leagues and the franchise leagues has no end. And the hill that seems to be the one NISA/NASL/Peter are willing to die on is this idea of pro/rel. I think, in the end, pro/rel is a marketing ploy – a tag line for the articles to employ to get more clicks. Whether in five years or ten, whether between two leagues or three, I don’t give a fuck about pro/rel as a hill to die on.

Would it be fantastic to have? Yes.

Is it worth losing DCFC for? No.

When is the league healthy enough for pro/rel? When all the sides are pro.

When will that happen? If the NPSL is involved? Never. Without the NPSL? By 2030.

In the end I don’t think pro/rel is here, I think there are ten teams taking a massive risk and I really, really hope it works out for their sake.

And where does this leave DCFC?

I still don’t think MLS will really come.

As always, we are linked to every expansion announcement since 2013 so let’s think this out.

Currently there is a push for “MLS to Detroit” from a couple billionaires. I doubt strongly they are going to actually move DCFC either because they want total branding control or because the owners will stick to their guns before selling out. Or really – both those things.

So that means a tier three DCFC potentially up against a tier one MLS team. Can Detroit support both?

I say “maybe leaning on yes?”

I still don’t think MLS will really come. I think that when Gilbert/Gores don’t get their stadium land, it’ll mostly fall through. And Gores’ recent(-ish) comment on not even wanting another team probably doesn’t sit well with Garber, who will want strong, united owners.

Moreover Garber probably wants to avoid adding a second Miami FC to the mix – with MLS Miami still looking for land on which to build a stadium, the last thing they need is two teams sitting around waiting for property. Or to finally get Miami into the queue only to refill the waiting spot.

I think Garber will aim for “easy” expansion (his comments about St. Louis reflect this) and no messy, political ones.

I think, in the end, Detroit City is moving to tier three and the city is going to remain a one-team-town.

So? Who are the other nine? Here are the ten teams I think will inaugurate Peter Wilt’s NISA (based on twitter rumor, speculation, and bullshit alone):

  1. Detroit City FC
  2. AFC Cleveland
  3. Chattanooga FC
  4. FC Buffalo
  5. A Chicago-based team
  6. An NYC-based team
  7. A Florida-based team
  8. A Mid-Atlantic-based team
  9. A Deep South-based team
  10. A Missouri-based team

Sorry that lacks any form of specificity. Cheers, everyone.

Detroit City 2017 Kit Guess

I’ve been getting a lot of work done on my fake world cup stuff, but recently Detroit City FC announced their 2017 charity match and charity: the Kalamazoo match 23. June will benefit Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit-based charity that helps homeless and at-risk girls and women in the city.

What a great group to be helping, and honestly what amazing possibilities for some awesome charity kits, right?

Right.

Listen, I designed more kits and I’m about to shove them down your eyeholes.

Anyway, I decided to guess what the 2017 Detroit City kits are going to look like. I have a bit of an advantage because I’ve possibly been tipped off to what they aren’t but there are still a lot of unknowns. First is the possibility of a fourth set of kits hinted at debuting at the Glentoran match as throw-backs to the Detroit Cougars.

But, as a few of us agreed, there is the likely chance that there will still be only three sets – home, throw-back, and charity. I think this is what we will end up seeing. It keeps with tradition and doesn’t saturate the market with unwanted kits.

So let’s start with that throw-back. This isn’t terribly hard, we already have a raging clue: Glentoran already unveiled their Cougar throw-back kits and they are white plus orange. From there it is easy to deduce that ours will be black and orange. Here it is folks, our first non-white secondary kits. That’s pretty exciting. But what will they look like? Maybe something like this:

Simple black kits with orange trim/cuffing. Arm space is almost always reserved for the league and sponsors so I’ve put the Cougar’s logo on the pant leg.

It would be strange seeing orange on our kits, of all things, but I assume that as throw-backs they’ll be in for a season and out. Hopefully, though, the black stays and next season we can have some black on black on black kits.

So we got a black and orange kit… what next? How about a pink and black charity kit!

Our charity, Alternatives for Girls takes over on the chest of a stunning hot pink and black combination. I love, love, the idea of pink/black kits for Detroit City. If we do end up getting them, they will surely be hard to beat in the future.

Definitely check out the Alternatives for Girls site and give them a follow/like on your favorite social media site. Very excited to bring them into the DCFC family.

“That’s all fine and dandy,” you might be thinking. “But there’s only one kit I care about” and you’d not be wrong.

I don’t think you’re right, but you’re not wrong what with opinions and subjectivity and all, but you do you. I love secondary and alternate kits a lot as an expression of creativity. Home kits should be consistent, the others should shake it up from time to time a place to test what works and what doesn’t. To throw metaphoric shit against the wall and see what sticks.

Anyway, the home kits:

Rouge. Lots and lots of rouge. And a little bit of white. It’s very similar to a design I posted a while ago, but I’ve added the collar so the home kit isn’t just a ctrl+c, ctrl+v of last year’s, which admittedly was very simple.

Anyway, that wraps up this “surprise” update. Hope you guys enjoyed and feel free to let me know what you think… or, alternatively if you are a kit manufacturer hire me.

Cheers, everyone.

Kits and Writing.

So I got some updates for the site we’re going to skip the “it’s been a whi-” and just move on.

A lot has gone down since the last update, including getting a fancy new position at Ford which I am greatly enjoying. That has made things a bit hectic but the last few weeks have gone by lightning-quick. I am really loving it.

I’ve also made the decision to work more on professionalizing my portfolio of soccer kits. Will it lead to a profession switch? Unlikely. Could I potentially make a few bucks off it? Maybe. Honestly, I’d love to see some of my designs become real. That would be absolutely fantastic.

If you read my twitter feed, which I don’t necessarily recommend Mum, I often post stuff while working including some snapshots of a big on-going project I’ve started.

What is this project; you ask.

Well, I am doing a big world building project set in the same world as my novels. It’s a big world cup write up, and it’ll have news articles, team profiles, stadium profiles, potentially player profiles, and a whole boat load of kits. At least 96 of them: home and away for 48 teams.

I’ve already got 48 crests made, though I am not 100% happy with all of them. They were quickly thrown together with stock heraldry images from Wikimedia. Already I have about 18 kits finished, so I have quite a bit of work to do. And that’s okay, I’m planning on this taking most of the summer.

It’ll be fun and I’ll make sure to have a page to showcase it. Not sure how, but I got some ideas. I hope that everyone else will enjoy it half as much as I have so far.

There’s a lot to post and explore so I’ll only have a few slices here.

Done on a whim for Paradox Interactive (not popular with the studio manager, Johan):

A little idea for Bristol Rovers FC:

And of course Detroit City FC:

Another quick mock-up for a friend:

If you have any ideas or criticism, reach out on twitter. Currently I take requests on an impulse-based sort method. Not sure how long that’ll last, though. As the Detroit City season quickly approaches, my free time will soon dissolve to nothing.

On the flip side some news regarding my writing. I have finished the rewrites of book 2, finally! It has grown by about 10,000 words to 137,000. I think the pacing has been improved and I’m happy with it in general. It’ll definitely need a final smoothing that’ll come once I get the drafts for books 3 and 4 done, which I am going to start in about ten~fifteen minutes when I am done here!

I’m pretty much actually being productive, which is great. It feels great to be getting so much done.

Of course, as I write this, it is a quarter to eight and I’ve been trying to get this done since before four… then I got distracted with the Bristol kits.

So I am going to sign off and get back to writing. I got a long way to the expected 175,000 words of book 3.

Cheers, everyone.

The Winding Road

Today I went on a bit of a winding road of world building and it all started because I wanted to make a soccer kit. Over-all the kit took about ten minutes to make and the world building took about four or five hours by my count. It involved conlanging, linguistics, some alphabet work, image manipulation, heraldry, and then eventually some soccer.

Let’s get a baseline.

Anyone who follows my profile on Wikipedia (if you do, wow, that’s uh… dedication…) will see that I often just “doodle” soccer kits there using the Wikimedia template for kits. In the last week I added six more:

These are meant to represent home and away kits for three nations from the world of my novels sped up to the “present” day (about 450 years after my novels). Why? Because it’s fun for me. The top two are Hadyrland, the country most of my novels are set in; the middle two the Union, which is heavily involved; and Steriou, which a couple characters have ties to.

Note: yes, the three shades of orange in the bottom two bothers the FUCK out of me.

The national sport of Hadyrland is Kémõ /keɪmɔ̃/ (Hurling) and the national sport of the Union is (in Hadysh) Wixgaħ /wɪxgaʁ/ (Cricket). I have these words because they are in my novels. I’ve even posted about Hadysh Hurling in the past.

But like in this world, just about every nation plays football, which is also the national sport of Steriou. And also like in our world, there is a big international organization that regulates the sport and organizes the world game between all the nations.

I wanted to make a realistic rendering of the Hadysh home kit, so that meant I needed certain details, like a crest. The crest would need some details too: shapes, colors, labels, elements. So for that I started with the crest of the Italian National Rugby team (they played today, so it was on the mind). It’s a simple tricolor crest with the initials of the national rugby federation on top and the name of the country at the bottom. Plus a little wreath.

So that’s where I started. Hadyrland’s modern flag is also a tricolor, though with horizontal bands of white, green, and black. This physically represents the nation, with its frozen north, forested center, and mountainous south. But to give this a bit of dynamism, instead of using three horizontal bands, I used a peaked design.

The Hadysh national coat of arms shows the white-green-black motif:

 

For the wreath I went with something that had berries. The Yew Tree is the national symbol of the nation, as well as being an important religious symbol for the majority of its citizens. So I found a vector of a wreath with berries and moved forward.

I got a banner and then things started going down hill…

So if you look at the Italian crest you see FIR – for the Federation of Italian Rugby (Federazione Italiana Rugby) and at the bottom a simple Italia, which I think most people can get without a translation. Well, I know the Hadysh name for Hadyrland: Volgamfyə /vɔlgamfjə/, but I am missing the “FIR” element. So I started working.

I started with the name “Hadysh Football Federation” and then reordered it into proper Hadysh (while still using English): “Federation Hadysh Football”. “Federation” is the subject, “Hadysh” is an adjective, and “Football” would need to be a genitive noun.

Then I open up my Hadysh dictionary. Which words do I have? Hadysh. That’s it. The adjective form is b̌olgē /bvɔlgi/.

So I have some work to do making up new words. Federation was easiest because it could be a concrete idea. In German the word for federation is Bund. This comes from the same root as “bind” in English, as in “bound together”, which a federation is – units bound together to make a whole. For “federation” I went with a simple word, like German: ya̋f /jaʊf/.

Two down, now “football”. Well, I can break that down into two units: “foot” and “ball” and then recombine them, which in Hadysh would be “ballfoot” with the foot being in the genitive.

Ooooookay…. for “foot” I went with bod /bɔd/, which is a reference to “pode” the Greek for foot. And for ball? ð̌aç /dðaç/. Little bit more work… the genitive for bod is bot (the genitive is usually word + (e)d, but if it ends with d it devoices to t). So the Hadysh for “football” is ð̌açbot /dðaçbɔt/.

But… but… we can take this further. So, oftentimes, words get adopted into a language from another language. “Football” is one of these words that often end up in other languages because it is easier to just adopt a new word then something up. For a bit of fun I decided that in Hadysh ð̌açbot would be the actual piece of equipment, while the word for the sport would come from Union Common, which is a distant relative to Hadysh. I don’t actually have two conlangs going so we needed to de-evolve the words ð̌aç and bot back to the last shared ancestor of Common and Hadysh and then re-evolve it forward to present-day Common.

Common is more like English in how it compounds words so in Common it would be foot + ball instead of ball + foot, so I decided it was best to do the two components separately and then recombine them.

I actually have a chart showing the genetic relationships between Hadysh and some of the other languages back to a language called “Proto Piylo-Tundric” which is the mother of many of the northern languages on the continent Sun-King and others take place on. Whole branches of these languages are extinct so I need to go up six steps and then down five.

Now, not every step is distinct, but it helped think about how the languages worked and this whole thing would come in handy later. Also, the question, why not Sterian for the language if that’s where the sport is most ubiquitous? Common is more of a prestige language and while the Union is not nearly as big as it once was, there are far more Common-speaking nations than Sterian or Hadysh combined.

So, “ball”…

Hadysh to Old Hadysh: /dðaç/ ➝ /ðʲaç/. The decision here was that consonants at the start of stressed syllables underwent sound changes akin to Gaelic/Russian where they could be palatalized before open vowels, unchanged before mid vowels, and labialized before close vowels. /a/ is back, so /ð/ becomes /ðʲ/. The implication here is that as Old Hadysh turned into Middle and then Modern Hadysh, this palatalized phoneme became it’s own sound /dð/ unrelated to /ð/.

Speeding up: /ðʲaç/ ➝ /dʲæç/ ➝ /ˈdʲæk.əl/ ➝ /dəˈkʲʌl/ gets us as far back as it needs to go, back to Old Piylean. Now it needs to move forward through time:

/dəˈkʲʌl/ ➝ /dəˈkʌl/ ➝ /dᵊˈkʌl/ ➝ /gʌl/ ➝ /gɔl/

And “foot” from Hadysh to Old Piylean:

/bɔd/ ➝ /bʲɔd/ ➝ /bʲɑd/ ➝ /bʲɑt/

And now from Old Piylean to Modern Common:

/bʲɑt/ ➝ /pɑt/ ➝ /pat/ ➝ /paθ/

You’ll notice that the word for “foot” has been significantly more conservative than the word for “ball”. This is because a foot is more significant to ancient peoples than a ball. So the word is preserved better. When you look at the ancient word for “ball”, it had two syllables. As it moves toward the present it drops to one with the Hadysh branch keeping the first syllable /də/ (which in its first step away from Old Piylean becomes stressed to /dʲæ/) and the Common branch keeping the stressed /kʲʌl/. The words /dðaç/ and /gɔl/ have nothing in common, but are related none the less.

So the Common word for “football” is /ˈpaθ.gɔl/.

So now I can come up with the acronym for the Hadysh Football Federation: YB̌P for Ya̋f B̌olgē Paþgold.

I will remind you, this entire exercise was for one of those three letters.

So now I can finish… making…

Fuck, Hadysh doesn’t use the Latin alphabet except when I write on the internet. In the fantasy world it would use it’s native alphabet. Luckily I have that alphabet, I just don’t have it digitized. So hang on.

There YB̌P at the top and Volgamfyə at the bottom. The crest is done.

Now I can put together that soccer kit.

There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

That said, the longest parts were the image manipulations. Even though the linguistics takes up the lion’s share here, I played around with the vectors and the images far longer than I spent making up words. There was also a lot of background stuff with the linguistics, like filling in my dictionary with the new words and their declinations, which is important only to me.

Now will I make a crest for their dreaded rivals, the Sunrays out of Rannot?

 

Probably not.

No.

Cheers, everyone.

Mid-Autumn Review

Got a bit of time before an afternoon appointment ends up sinking a good chunk of our afternoon so I thought I’d get a rambly life review post out of the way. This is going to shift topics pretty quick so try to keep up.

Wine

After a half-year hiatus due to the move, our wine bucket is full again this time with a straight pomegranate wine. Right now the smell is amazing and fermentation is roaring ahead. I’m looking forward to the finished product.

In a week or two, we’ll get a second batch going: this time of raspberry wine. That too should be amazing.

And once winter sinks in, we’ll look at upgrading our wine cellar with some stone work and some decent racks and perhaps even a wine cooler.  We’re probably looking at doing it ourselves so expect a full how I managed it post at some point.

The House

We’re settling into the house quickly. We’ve already done a lot of work and we’re looking at getting the roof fixed first thing is spring. We also looked into either doing siding or remodeling the bathroom, but those ended up falling out of our price range. Too bad, both of those things can seriously go with an overhaul.

We’ve almost entirely unpacked as well, notable exceptions are bags of stuffed animals in the bedroom as well as organizing our clothes. Plus there is a giant tupperware  container in our office plus a box that needs to find a home. The office is now fully equipped for coffee production, freeing up much needed space in the kitchen (an issue that came very much to light when depipping ten pounds of pomegranates.

Otherwise we’re settled and extremely comfortable. The benefits of living so much closer to work and friends has already paid off, plus the reduced cost from the mortgage every month is helping as well. Walking is way, way up thanks to the myriad of stores and restaurants near-by, and we’ve signed up for fencing classes, our first since uni, so hopefully I can burn this damn beer gut away.

Writing

Been getting a lot done on the writing front, even if I haven’t been talking about it.

I am not participating in NaNoWriMo, so don’t expect word counts. I do plan to get some editing done, but there may or may not be some huge overhauls in my plans for the coming year/year and a half.

Brigid and I have been talking timing and publish for my four novels, which will either fall under her pre-existing company or more likely my own that I will set up when the time comes. The current plan is a release schedule something like this:

Sun-King: Q2 2018
Book 2: Q4 2018
Night Queen: Q2 2019
Book 4: Q4 2019

None of that is cemented, in fact I think it is safe to say the release schedule will likely get pushed back even further.

Why?

Well I’m a slow writer, mostly. I wanted book 3 (Night Queen) to at least be written (first draft) before I pull the trigger on publishing Sun-King. But Brigid very honestly pointed out that at the rate I write, I might want book 4 (is it strange I have the most trouble coming up with titles for the even numbers?) in the first draft stage and book 3 essentially wrapped up from the writing perspective.

I might plot out and write books 3 and 4 here in the next year – one giant binge of writing. Then I’ll have a first reader or two go through all four books and realign the consistency of the tone and action. That way I don’t have to keep going back to Sun-King when I make adjustments in Night Queen’s plotting.

It’s a lot of work, and the encouragement I get from you guys is, and always has been, great.

So thank you very much.

Kit Nerd

I’ve still been kit-nerding it up lately, messing around with sponsors and even going as far as to look beyond my normal front sponsors, manufacturer, and experimenting with a bit of color.

puma_strohs

A clean-ish rouge kit sticking on the piping theme from the official kit nerd post. In this series I went with Stroh’s as the official sponsor, following the tradition of teams like Liverpool and Newcastle who proudly wore their favorite session beers on the front of the logo. With this particular kit the dark red above the black collar isn’t the back of the shirt – it’s actually an inset of the front, so the collar is a rather traditional cut while also giving the effect of wearing an undershirt even when you’re not.

puma_strohs_plain_w_gold puma_strohs_plain_w_gold_bired

A bit of a cleaner design, in my opinion. A minimal amount of gold breaks up an otherwise plain rouge kit (top) or divides the rouge from a darker shade (bottom). I like that the Puma and DCFC logos follow the swoop, gives it a more balanced effect then when used above. I like them both quite a lot, with perhaps a slight preference to the plain one on top. The Stroh’s logo ads a lot of colors but if done right (and DCFC has been doing their sponsors right – with transparencies instead of giant bounding boxes) it still looks good. In fact the red and gold in the logo are really great with the rest of the get up.

puma_strohs_plain_w_blue puma_strohs_plain_w_blue_bired

Now on twitter I mentioned these would probably be a bit controversial (though that has so-far proven untrue). Instead of gold accents, I went with the blue from the Stroh’s logo, something unheard of for DCFC. I want to go on record saying I prefer the gold more and that I don’t actually want to see blue added to our kits, but it was a fun little experiment which I think looks good. In this case, though, I think the Rouge – Blue – Dark Rouge works better (instead of the plain one as was the case above). Maybe the blue stands out better with the defined line between the reds and isn’t lost as much.

Anyway, that is a life update. Cheers everyone.

The Kit Post – 2017

Welcome to the third annual Kit Nerd Day!

 

For the unaware I am a hack of a kit designer and every year I post ideas for next season’s kits. Generally I post a home, away, and alternate kit but this year we’re going big – that’s right, after the success of Minneapolis City SC’s throw-back kits I too am doing some throw-backs.

And as always we’re going to start with some disclaimers. First I am not a professional, I don’t work for Adidas, Flagstar, Detroit City, or anything of note. I’ve used all images blatantly without permission. Nothing here represents an official direction for DCFC so fans of Adidas hold strong but expect more disappointing Nike and for potential sponsors these are not endorsed by the front office in any way.

And one last thing, this year marks the end of a) posting full kits and b) using the Adidas kit builder! That’s right I’ve upgraded to photoshoped fake kits that are, for the most part, almost entirely actual designs the kit makers use, but I can edit things a bit more and use colors freely. Kit designs are, of course, subjective. I’m happy to hear your ideas on twitter or as comments below.


Some thoughts on last year and last season’s kits.

As for my kits the 2016 predictions included the fabled return of the hoops, which have not really stuck in my head. That particular design is not my favorite as the hoops are rather thin and there’s a lot of them. The white Flagstar brand across the chest likewise seems slightly small and out of position. The kits in general lack a unifying theme, but I generally liked the the away and alternate kits.  In the end, though, that home kit is extremely complicated.

The actual 2016 DCFC kits were, for the most part, good. The home kit returned to a plain rouge affair, reminiscent of our first season back in 2012. I snagged one of those at the kit unveiling, my first home kit purchase! The away kit was dreadfully dull and lacked any color at all. The alternates though?! Fuck yeah Nike Volt kits with black trim! I bagged one of those too, buying one of charity ones so it went to a good cause.

Some complaints – the number on my home kit is already flaking off, which is upsetting. The little Detroit flags were lost to add more ad space and that kind of sucked. And the alternates should’ve used black numbers instead of white.

A big change in the 2016 season was the introduction of actual player numbers! That’s right, players were assigned a number and though it might seem petty, it’s a pretty big step in having strong starting squads and hopefully is a step on the path to a professional squad.

So, without further ado, the 2017 Kit Day Post:


Brand – Adidas

I’m going to fight for Adidas to the end of time but it seems like the front office is pretty stuck on Nike, something which will probably be even more likely next season with a major Nike store open(ing) in downtown Detroit. Nike, though, is one of the laziest fucking kit designers on the planet. They used the same damn design (in different colors) for at least half their clients this season including several national teams that were fucking involved in a major tournament against one another.

It was disgraceful.

Meanwhile Adidas have simplified their designs here in the States (they are still the sole kit designer for the MLS) removing the signature stripes from the shoulders and moving them to the sides. It’s a weird choice, granted, but I can deal. Their designs for the MLS continue to be decent, though I find the Seattle ones to be very, very weird. The choice to go with the blue sleeves bothers me, especially with an all-blue third kit. The Sounders need green.

My favorite from the MLS has to be Portland’s black and red aways. Those things are sexy as fuck.

Kit Names – No

Last year I took a stand on this saying we should include names on the kits as a way to look “official”; to look like we’re not run by amateurs. But we are run by amateurs and we are not a big-name club. With each passing season we leave more and more of a trail, make more and more history, and define more and more of what makes Detroit City unique to our city.

One thing I’d like is perhaps never include names on the kits. Never. As in if we’re playing for the MLS leave only the number.

I think it serves as a reminder than names don’t make a club, the club will survive and will never be made or broken by a single star. Sure a hero will go down in history, but the players now understand that they aren’t playing for their own personal fame – but for the fans and for the crest. If we go pro, those pros will need to be brought into line too. They play for us. Not for themselves.

Sponsor – Flagstar

I’m going to get this to work eventually.

I still think Flagstar is a better sponsor than Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and they still act the part, and I’m not just saying that as an employee of a certain company symbolized by a blue oval. My opinions from last year are still alive here so it is what it is.

Interesting additions this last season though: Stroh’s and Faygo. Really interesting to see both an adult beverage company and a family beverage company join the team. Welcome and I hope dollar Stroh’s is a thing that sticks around.

And as I promised to Mr. Wright, I will not post the kit with hatchetman on it.

Okay, so there are my preliminary notes. Only one thing left to do and that’s roll out my 2017 Kits!


The Home Kit – Rouge Ringer

2017_KD_Home

Here is my 2017 Detroit City FC home shirt. This would be matched with rouge shorts (with white stripes) and rouge socks (with white stripes at the top).

Something became very clear in the last few seasons – Detroit City might be the Rouge and Gold but their kits are Rouge and White. That isn’t a bad thing. I understand white kits are easier to come by and probably cheaper. I say run with it. Really buy into that rouge and white feel and make the kits consistent year to year.

It build a brand and will help make the club more recognizable in the long run especially to outsiders and potential fans. The use of pin-stripes gives a shout-out to the ever-popular hooped kits while not actually hooping our kits, which leaves the brand more recognizable and doesn’t begin to blur the line with another bunch of hooped semen… er… seamen…. I mean… fucking Lansing.

Like the last two years I wanted a unifying theme between all my kits (or at least the three main kits). First year it was the red socks. Last year was the lighter rouge details like the logo and stripes. This year it is the horizontal pin-stripes. Anyone who’s been to my wikipedia page has probably seen the preliminary designs up there.

I wanted to bring in the white here after a season with all-rouge kits, switching the cuff rings, collar, details and the striping to white rather than a second shade of rouge.

Inside the collar it says “Detroit City til I Die” under a banner of rouge and gold, bringing just a little hint of the Blood and Treasure to the Blood and Bones kits.


The Away Kit – Bloody Bones

2017_KD_Away_v2

Here is my 2017 Detroit City away kit. As I envision it these would be paired with white shorts with rouge stripes and the same rouge socks as the home kit (a little hearkening back to the 2015 post).

As I said above, the 2016 away kits were way, way too plain for my tastes. I usually buy the away kits, they tend to be the more varied of the designs or in the case of 2015 Brigid really liked the collars. I haven’t brought the collar back (partially due to a twitter poll on the matter but also out of free choice), but instead I’ve brought color color back to the aways.

This kit is very much an inversion of the home kit with the exception of the collar, which remains white. Partially this allows the rouge and gold banner on the inside of the collar to still pop and not just be a random gold bar above the DCTID motto. The pin-striping and Adidas stripes switch over to rouge to maintain their visibility.

I think that the rouge elements, especially the stripes and pin-stripes give the aways enough color and “feel” that they don’t seem like unfinished, blank, canvases. These are “finished” kits with a finished, consistent feel with the home kits.


The Alternate Kit – The Nightmare

2017_KD_Alt_v7

Here is my 2017 Alternate/Charity Kit! The way I’m seeing it is this shirt plus black shorts with white stripes and black socks with white stripes on the top.

There was a little bit of controversy with my original choice of collar (that is it had an actual collar, which proved to not exactly be the most popular choice). Here I’ve gone for a little bit of a non-standard choice for the collar – closer to the neck without the actual pop-up collar that we had in 2015.

I also went a bit more “crazy” with the colors. Cuffs are bi-colored instead of mono like the above, matching the collar. The crest returns to full rouge and gold glory, instead of the black and gold of the past. The pin-stripes are retained, back in white.

This is a fun, one-off kit that fits into the rest of the catalog a bit better than previous charity kits. In the previous seasons they were either: bizarre colors (Volt or urban camo), or strange two-tone pieces (the black tops and white shorts of previous years). This one would return to the edgier black while also maintaining the consistent top/shorts choice of black and white. Hopefully this keeps them a bit cheaper as well.

Black is a great look for DCFC and I hope the charity kits become true alternates in the few instances where neither the home or aways provide the necessary differentiation from our opponents. If I was in charge they’d be worn at least twice if not thrice.


The Throw-Back Kit

2017_KD_ThrowBack

These would be worn with plain rouge shorts and plain rouge socks.

Just a simple take on the MPLS City SC throw-backs they released this season. Plain kit for a simpler time. Plus I was able to get my collar on you spiteful, spiteful bastards.


Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed this year’s Kit Day post. If I get a chance I will post some of the other designs and steps I took if they exist. The alternate kit especially got a lot of “love” and attention, especially in the neck area. There was also the mock-up that I posted that had red sleeves. If/when that goes up I’m not 100% certain, it’ll be a manual post (this one is scheduled).

If you have any comments/criticisms/ideas of your own, feel free to let me know in the comments below or on twitter/reddit.

And don’t forget, kilt orders are due in 11 days!

Thanks everyone!

Sláinte!