The Portland Thorns unveiled their new kit for the 2023 season Tuesday, and the design has NWSL fans talking.
The alternate kit features a white jersey with a tattoo-inspired design across the chest and shoulders, paired with dark green shorts. The jersey design received a decidedly mixed reaction, with fans either loving or hating the kit.
“I wasn’t surprised by people’s reaction because people love to hate Portland,” star forward Sophia Smith told The Athletic.
“And honestly, we love that.”
Some responses have likened the jersey to an Ed Hardy-esque design, bringing in early 2000s fashion elements. But Portland defender Kelli Hubly appreciates the fashion choice.
“It just takes me back to middle school,” she said. “But Y2K fashion is coming back. You never know, like low rise jeans are coming back.”
Bold. Unique. Undeniable. This is Portland. Introducing The Thorns ’23 kit. 🌹#BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/4UeTPEtWWg— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) March 14, 2023
Bold. Unique. Undeniable. This is Portland. Introducing The Thorns ’23 kit. 🌹#BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/4UeTPEtWWg
The jersey also features the phrase “Rose City ‘Til I Die” across the chest, with the Thorns logo front and center on the kit.
The photos do not show what the back of the jersey will look like. And while fans might be divided, the players who spoke with The Athletic seemed to love the new kit.
“You’ve never seen a jersey like this before. It’s really out of the box,” Hubly said. While she acknowledged that players were initially confused, she also said she has grown to love the look.
“Once we actually looked at it and all the tiny little details that went into it, we were like, ‘Wait, this is actually really cool,” she added. “I knew it was gonna send everyone in spirals because it’s so insane. Honestly, we deserve a wild jersey because we’re just so different.
“The team’s been through so much, we came out winning last year. We deserve to have a statement jersey — there’s no other place like Portland.”
Star player and reigning league MVP Sophia Smith called it “unexpected.”
“It’s crazy and it’s wild and it’s unexpected,” Smith said. “But it’s sick and it’s different, and I think that kind of describes us.”