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Atlanta United’s Five Stripes kit laid the foundation for their fledgling identity

You always remember your first.

Atlanta United v Portland Timbers - MLS Cup Championship Match Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s “Jersey Week” here on the SBN network. All around the different sites that make up this vast community, you’ll be seeing many different articles dedicated to jerseys in the world of sports.

This idea for content is great for most sites. If I’ve learned anything about sports fans in the last 20-25 years is that they consider themselves fashionistas as much as they do fanatics or supporters. Unfortunately for us here at DSS, Atlanta United has a very brief history with only five total full-time kits (not counting one-offs like the Parley Kits), which we will talk about later this week.

But I had to write about the OG Five Stripes themselves. I wrote about my favorite Atlanta United kit 14 months ago in probably one of my most opinionated posts on this site. I was a bit upset that the team was abandoning a look that I had grown to love after just two years.

A year later, I’m more understanding of the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect a soccer club in any league to keep the same look from year to year. Money rules everything and the world of soccer apparel is obviously no different. As much as I wanted the “Five Stripes” to become the team’s traditional look, I’ve accepted that’s just not an option.

For a club that was built from scratch, every single bit of tradition has to be formed somehow. Some of the things Atlanta United has tried to implement have felt a bit contrived. However, the nickname Five Stripes felt like it materialized organically.

Some didn’t care for it at first, but as a writer, having a nickname helps immensely. It was refreshing that the most popular jersey the team wore for two great seasons reflected exactly what the franchise attempted to produce. I remember rumors of what the first kit would look like, stemming all the way back to 2015 when Darren Eales said it would have an “AC Milan” look. The end product wasn’t anything spectacular, but over time it constantly grew familiar until you looked at it and it embodied “Atlanta United.”

I’ve seen some people say that the Five Stripes moniker came from the team’s crest and that’s preposterous. No one calls Celtic the “Hoops” because of their crest. No one calls Liverpool the “Reds” because their crest has some red in it. Supporters buy the kits that their favorite players wear because they identify with that shirt.

That inaugural shirt spawned the nickname that will likely live on for as long as Atlanta United exists, no matter what different designs they use in the future. It will have a special place in the club’s history and in the hearts of every supporter who was lucky enough to be here at the very beginning.

Long live the Five Stripes.

MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports