RefSix

New MLS/PRO kit provider for 2021

RefIADad

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee

This was announced over the weekend. The release is confusing, but the general consensus on a different referee forum is that MLS will have new kits from Capelli Sports starting with the 2021 season. PRO handles assignments for MLS, NWSL (top-flight women's league), and USL (lower professional and high-amateur leagues), but many USL and NWSL crews have a local referee (or referees) who are not necessarily part of the PRO referee cohort. Capelli is a US-based organization with a decent-sized footprint in the youth and lower amateur/professional levels in the United States. All MLS teams have Adidas kit because the Adidas deal is with the league instead of clubs, so I was a bit surprised that this deal was able to take precedence over the Adidas deal for kits and game balls to be Adidas.

The only Capelli kit I've seen from their team catalog likely won't be what's worn by the MLS officials since they are, quite honestly, pretty ugly. :) I won't even show the "in action" photo as it showed the referee with a neck lanyard like a basketball referee . . .
 

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alexv

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Wondered why so many MLS kits had the exact same template - had no idea about that! They’re pretty much all really nice kits from what I’ve seen. Shame about these referee kits imo
 

RefIADad

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Wondered why so many MLS kits had the exact same template - had no idea about that! They’re pretty much all really nice kits from what I’ve seen. Shame about these referee kits imo

I don't think there's any way the "stock" kits are going to be what the MLS referees wear. From what I've gleaned from others, the new kits will be bespoke kits. Apparently there was a sub-group of PRO referees with significant input on materials and design. Since this is a major marketing opportunity for Capelli, I'm assuming they will have unique colors from what I attached as their "stock" referee colors. The shirts in the catalog are made to be close to the standard colors and design of the officially-licensed US referee apparel made by Official Sports. Several different vendors make referee shirts in the US, but they all have the same color scheme so they allow referees to wear one of five approved colors (yellow is primary in the US, with black, blue, green, and red alternates with no priority as to which alternate color is more accepted.

Capelli makes some nice uniforms and apparel. One of the big clubs in my home state (Iowa) wears Capelli, and they always have sharp-looking kits. If there is a group that actually spends some time developing these, I think they can come up with something that looks good. I'm guessing it will look similar to either the Nike kits or the Macron UEFA kits depending on whether the input advocated a polo-style collar or not.

As usual in the US, we have so many fingers in the pie when it comes to referee uniforms. Our club matches under USSF (the US version of the FA) has one version of kits (first link below). Collegiate matches have a different set of kits (second link). Both of these are from Official Sports, which once upon a time supplied the Premier League kits. Many state high school associations have yet another set of kits (one particularly ghastly example is in the third link). Fortunately, Iowa only requires the team to wear the same color and style of kit for high school, so 99% of the time we just wear our USSF club kits. The other 1% would be if we either wore pink jerseys (same style as the USSF, but pink isn't an approved USSF color) or the orange NISOA/collegiate shirts.

 
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RefIADad

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Trolling around Capelli's website at lunch, I found two shirts that, if we eventually see something close to these designs at MLS games this spring, wouldn't surprise me. Obviously, white would not be a shirt color since the vast majority of MLS teams wear white as a change kit.

EPL-style with a collar (I actually like the horizontal contrast stripe on the chest) - https://www.capellisport.com/product-page/men-s-sparrow-polo .

UEFA-style without a color - https://www.capellisport.com/product-page/adult-sparrow-ii-short-sleeve-jersey-1
 
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