I was a young man when Major League Soccer was launched. In fact, I was probably right about their target demographic. Living in Tennessee, I didn’t really have a team that was geographically close to me. As a result I didn’t really have what you would call a “favorite team”. I liked players and I liked uniforms, and the Kansas City Wiz had a pretty decent combination of the two. In 1996, MLS branding was all over the map and Kansas City’s franchise was no different. Presumably it was in reference to the Wizard of Oz (or possibly even the updated musical “The WIz”; but instead of going with the “Wizards”, KC did what nearly every MLS team did at that point and went with a team name that didn’t end in “s”. As a result you had “The Wiz”. Now the obvious urine comparison notwithstanding, the Wiz had a pretty cool look. The rainbow palette and the the bubbled font looked appropriately retro and I was happy to purchase a jersey at a soccer tournament. My teammates all laughed at me. They said it was a “pee uniform”. Whatever though, if it was good enough for Preki, Mo Johnston, Vitalis “Digital” Takawira, and Michael Chung, it was good enough for me.
Tonight, Sporting Kansas City will pay homage to these early days by rocking these warm-up tops before the match.
As you can see, they are a bit more subtle than the 96 jerseys but is a nice little wink and a nod to people like me that remember the “Digital Crawl”. SKC requested to be able to wear the full retro jerseys during the match tonight but were ultimately denied by MLS (in this case Majorly Lame Soccer). Instead though, SKC found a nice little compromise and will be wearing kits with these fun rainbow colored numbers on their backs.
My affection for the Kansas City franchise has long since passed as I moved and found a local team to love, but maybe just for tonight, I’ll get a little nostalgic thrill out of watching them sport the full set of colors again.