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2020 NWSL Jersey Review: Who is the Head of the Class?

Grades & Rankings for the 2020 NWSL Kits

As someone who owns over 50 soccer jerseys including the six purchased so far in 2020, I would like to think of myself as a bit of soccer jersey aficionado. My family and friends do not feel the same way. They just think I am crazy. However, this does make me the perfect person to provide the definitive review of the new jerseys for the 2020 NWSL season.

With the Challenge Cup just around the corner, time to get to it.

Top jersey in the NWSL for the second straight year
And Still...
Chicago Red Stars

Chicago Red Stars – Primary (Elevated/blue) – With the addition of Meijer as the club’s first front jersey sponsor, I have an excuse to include this jersey, which was technically released last year. The sponsor placed below the stars does nothing to lessen the overall look of this jersey. Simply put, this is the best jersey in the league. It was the first NWSL jersey in my collection. To me, this is an iconic look that should be kept for years to come

Grade – A+

Best of the rest starts with the Neighborhood Kit
Chicago Red Stars

Chicago Red Stars – Secondary (Neighborhood/white) - After the success of last year’s Elevated kit, it was a wonder how the Red Stars would attempt to top it. With the Neighborhood kit, they made a nice run at it. The use of the Chicago neighborhood names around the city stars is a great look. Even the new Meijer logo does not detract from this jersey. My only nitpick is that the jersey tries too hard to identify with the city, and I live in the suburbs.

Grade – A

Portland Thorns – Primary (Dark Rose/black) – Secondary (Untamed Thorn/white) – I am grouping these two jerseys together because of their joint theme. The black kit has dark roses on it, while the white has the thorn graphics in it, so together they make up a rose plant. I really like these jerseys individually and even more as a collective. While the black looks amazing, I am still partial to the Thorns wearing red. The secondary kit design is great but could use some color. This design template should be the base of everything the Thorns do going forward.

Grades – Primary A-, Secondary A-

Washington Spirit – Primary (Navy Blue) - The Spirit have made the change from red with navy vertical stripes to navy with grey hoops. They kept the red shorts and changed the sock color from red to navy. They also have a new primary jersey sponsor in CVS Health. This is a definite upgrade over the 2018 jersey and is a sneaky good overall look. The navy and grey look clean and keeping the red shorts ties this to the past.

Grade – B+

Sky Blue FC – Primary (Lightning Strikes/black) - Secondary (Lightning Strikes/white) - It is nice to see Sky Blue start to find some personality and professionalism as a soccer club, after primarily being known for the past several years as a wasteland and a club that didn’t take care of players. The jersey design is a continuation of this rebirth. Gone are the plain navy jerseys and in are black jerseys with sky blue lightning bolts. The personality alone in this jersey makes it a definite upgrade. The secondary kit (first photo I saw 6/7) is white with grey accented lightning bolts. It’s a really good secondary in my opinion. With the primary, it absolutely works

Grade – Primary - B, Secondary - B

Utah Royals – Primary (blue) - The Royals decided to switch their color pattern from gold tops and navy shorts to navy jerseys and gold shorts. In my opinion, this takes away from an overall upgrade in the jersey. I like the mountain design, but the fact that they are now one of several navy jerseys instead of the only gold jersey loses some points. The new sponsor fits in well because it does not detract from the overall design.

Grade – B

Houston Dash – Secondary (Luv ya Dash/white) - While it is a little weird adapting a jersey name (Luv Ya Dash) from an NFL team that left town over 20 years ago, this is a solid jersey overall and one of the better secondary kits. The powder blue and orange trim on the white works well together. Overall, a nice kit.

Grade - B

North Carolina Courage – Primary (Two-Star/navy) - Of course, the addition of the second star is the biggest upgrade for this jersey in 2020 if you are a fan of the Courage. The jersey itself sees the sublimated horizontal stripes removed, and thin gold vertical stripes added in. Overall, it is not really any better than the 2019 jersey, but it is not any worse either. It is a clean look, but nothing that really stands out.

Grade - B

Houston Dash – Primary (orange) - The new primary jersey is another Nike Vapor template jersey. I like that they embrace orange as a primary color, and even the sleeves look decent with the black stripe pattern, but this uniform gets a major downgrade for me because the Vapor template is tired and needs to be put out to pasture.

Grade – B-

Orlando Pride – Secondary (Plume White/white) – Goalkeepers (purple/black) - This jersey with the swan pattern shoulders is a flashback to the kit template used by seemingly all Nike teams in 2016. The pattern is cute, but the jersey overall is fine.

The goalkeeping jerseys, which had their own release, are a step up, but still have the same overall Nike shoulder pattern template, which gives me flashbacks. When the goalkeeping jersey is more hyped and better received than the player’s jersey, that doesn’t bode well.

Grades – Secondary – C+, Goalkeepers – B-

OL Reign – Primary (white) - Secondary (blue) – Per the report from Jacob Cristobal, the Reign change their primary color to white to match up with their parent club, Olympique Lyonnais. There is not a lot I dislike with this jersey, but not a lot I like, either. It is very plain, which considering how late the ownership change happened, makes sense. It is not awful, it is just not particularly good, either.

It appears the blue is lighter than usual this year. It appears to be a medium blue jersey with darker blue shorts. Like the primary jersey, it is remarkably simple. Nothing awful, but nothing good, either.

Grade – Primary C+ - Secondary - C

North Carolina Courage – Secondary (white) - It is white. It is VERY plain. The champs deserve better.

Grade – D

Here are the final rankings for the new kits.

  1. Chicago Red Stars - Elevated - A+
  2. Chicago Red Stars - Neighborhood - A
  3. Portland Thorns - Dark Rose/Untamed Thorn - tie - A-
  4. Portland Thorns - Untamed Thorn - tie - A-
  5. Washington Spirit - Navy Blue - B+
  6. Sky Blue FC - Lightning Strikes - B
  7. Utah Royals - blue - B
  8. Houston Dash - Luv Ya Dash - B
  9. North Carolina Courage - navy - B
  10. Houston Dash - orange - B-
  11. Orlando Pride - goalkeepers - B-
  12. Orlando Pride - White Plume - C+
  13. OL Reign - white - C+
  14. OL Reign - blue - C
  15. North Carolina Courage - white - D