Ref4Me

New MLS/PRO kit provider for 2021

RefIADad

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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

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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

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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

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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
 

alexv

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Level 7 Referee
That isn’t too bad to be fair. Nike will always be my favourite though!
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
That isn’t too bad to be fair. Nike will always be my favourite though!
Agree with you on the Nike kits. I’m always partial to a collar on referee shirts. However, I do like this green more than either the Nike “neon yellow” or “mint green”. If we told teams in the US they couldn’t wear neon and we got this color as a referee specific color, I’d be good with that.
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
Reviving a bit of a dead thread, but PRO sent out some photos of officials in the new Capelli kit. Even though many US referees (including those in MLS) do not wear traditional soccer shoes when refereeing, my guess is you won't see them wearing blue running shoes in actual matches.

(Yes, for those of you familiar with your European referees, that is Irishman Alan Kelly in the photos!)
 

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alexv

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Level 7 Referee
Although I definitely prefer Nike, I actually really like the black one with blue accents.

Surprisingly, I actually really like the Macron kits they use in the UEL and UCL. Didn’t like them at first but they’ve really grown on me
Reviving a bit of a dead thread, but PRO sent out some photos of officials in the new Capelli kit. Even though many US referees (including those in MLS) do not wear traditional soccer shoes when refereeing, my guess is you won't see them wearing blue running shoes in actual matches.

(Yes, for those of you familiar with your European referees, that is Irishman Alan Kelly in the photos!)
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
Although I definitely prefer Nike, I actually really like the black one with blue accents.

Surprisingly, I actually really like the Macron kits they use in the UEL and UCL. Didn’t like them at first but they’ve really grown on me

To be completely fair, the "black" kits are actually navy blue. Sort of like how the Adidas kits for the 2014 World Cup were navy instead of black. I really liked those 2014 Adidas kits except for the one stripe down the center of the back.

Agreed on the Macron kits. They really do look good, particularly the pink kits. You don't notice the pockets on TV, which I think were the biggest sticking point for a lot of people. The only thing I don't really like about the Macron kits are the white accents on the black socks. If that's my biggest complaint, that's pretty good. And their warmup gear looks fantastic. I wish they would sell the green tops without the UEFA logo on the back. I'd buy a jacket immediately.
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
Looks like the navy kits already redundant. Although probably could have got away with it at San Jose

I was surprised the navy kits weren’t worn in both the Houston-San Jose match and the New York-Kansas City match. KC’s shirts don’t have nearly enough navy on them to clash with the new navy shirts.

I still think we’ll see a pink or yellow shirt down the road. Over the last two years when MLS has had a black kit option with Adidas, the black was by far the least worn option.
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
Visual evidence that not having a pink, red, or yellow shirt was not a good idea. Sporting KC is in light blue. Austin is in black with green stripes. The referees wore navy. The referee is in this photo, but it will take a while to find him.

1620703524319.png
 

Degnann

SFA Ref
Level 6 Referee
Visual evidence that not having a pink, red, or yellow shirt was not a good idea. Sporting KC is in light blue. Austin is in black with green stripes. The referees wore navy. The referee is in this photo, but it will take a while to find him.

View attachment 4947
I’ve seen where wally pages easier.
would have thought the green or even sky blue would have been the better choice
 

RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
I’ve seen where wally pages easier.
would have thought the green or even sky blue would have been the better choice

After seeing this, the green would have been a much better option. Austin's green is much more of a traditional green, while the referee kits are more of a neon green. Plus, the rest of Austin's kit is black.

A LOT of MLS teams have a dark blue or black kit. Just a few off the top of my head include Columbus (and if you haven't seen their absolute mess of a rebrand, I've linked to it below), DC United, LA Galaxy (alternate kit), LAFC, Red Bull New York (alternate), Atlanta United, Inter Miami, and Houston (change kit) are just a few. Plus, a number of teams also wear kits that clash with navy blue like Orlando (purple), Portland (dark green), and San Jose (a darker shade of royal blue).

 
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RefIADad

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Level 7 Referee
In today's episode of "Where's the Ref??", San Jose (blue) and Seattle (green) faced off with the referees in a slightly lighter shade of blue. I just don't understand what MLS, PRO, and Capelli were thinking with their three color choices. If they had yellow or pink instead of either navy blue or this sky blue, I don't think there would be any major issues.
 

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GraemeS

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Level 5 Referee
Seems like the simplest answer is just to pick a colour for the referee's kit and make sure no other teams in the division use that colour....
 
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