League/Nike, Not Thorns, To Blame For Lackluster Kits
Earlier today I posted about the new Thorns kits for the 2014 season, and about how disappointing I found them. Well, shortly after the post went out I got into a nice conversation with Thorns owner Merritt Paulson on twitter in which he shared some interesting details about this years kit options for NWSL squads. https://twitter.com/MerrittPaulson/status/453307894013104128
Apparently, all NWLS teams were given the same several kit options, with the only variation being logos and colors. So, while we are all busy ripping teams for not trying on their kits, in reality they did not have much to choose from. Paulson says that if plans stay the same, in 2015 the Thorns will have fully custom kits. Even though they may lose money on them.
Another interesting tidbit is that this years Thorns kits were chosen by the players themselves. Not even the Timbers have a say in their kits, so the fact that the Women were able to try out the different options and choose the one they liked is pretty cool.
The current kits will still be a disappointment to some, but given the choices the teams likely had, and the lack of options I am willing to give them a pass here.
A source has updated me with some additional details. Apparently the catalog made available to NWSL teams was rather large. Different kit models had more design/color options than others, and the cut/fabric that the Thorns players chose had less design features available. This explains how teams like the Reign and Red Stars were able to get more unique designs, while teams like the Thorns and FCKC look so similar.
So, this wasn't a case of the teams getting 4 or 5 options to choose from. Apparently the catalog was "big". Another clarification, which I modified the post above to reflect, was that Â next year the Thorns may be the only NWSL team with fully custom kits (due to the high order quantity and associated costs). Which throws my "league keeping teams to similar designs" argument out the window.