D.C. United is the latest professional sports team in the D.C. region to create cherry blossom-inspired uniforms, releasing a new light pink away kit Thursday night for the upcoming MLS season.
According to a news release, the soccer club created a cherry blossom-themed uniform due to the flower’s status as D.C.’s most recognizable and natural landmark. The jersey displays tree branches with cherry blossoms “in their truest form” running across the front of the jersey.
The kit — including the jersey, shorts and socks — is meant to honor the District’s iconic trees, which were gifted to the United States from Japan as a sign of friendship and unity, according to the release.
Fans got their first look at the new kit during a reveal event for season ticket holders at Audi Field as club legends Jamie Moreno and Marco Etcheverry joined current players and their families and Washington Spirit midfielder Sam Staab in showing off the new jersey.
Its official with club legends Jamie Moreno and Marco Etcheverry on hand, @dcunited unveils their new cherry blossom away kit. @WTOP pic.twitter.com/7yAEq2tDto
— José Mauricio Umaña (@Jose_M_Umana) February 16, 2023
The cherry blossom-themed kit had been rumored for years. Club spokesperson Zachary Abaie told WTOP that United began working with Adidas, Major League Soccer’s jersey provider, on the concept two years ago.
“This was for both us and for the fans,” he said. “We know the fans wanted it, but we also know that for us, when we design merchandise, jerseys, apparel, that it needs to embody our city represent our city, and the cherry blossoms do that.”
“The club [D.C. United] advised about how important the cherry blossom trees are for Washington, the whole story around them, and their uniqueness,” Adidas said in a statement. “We all agreed this narrative would make sense for the community and went for it.”
United’s new kit comes after the MLB’s Washington Nationals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards released cherry blossom-styled City Connect jerseys by Nike last year. The Nationals reported having the highest-ever Day One sales for the City Connect uniforms, “beating the previous record by +58%.”
The new cherry blossom kit is available to purchase at the D.C. United’s Club Shop at Audi Field, the league’s online store and MLS-partnered retail stores in the D.C. region. The Club Shop — open on game days and non-event days — will feature a cherry blossom section with other themed merchandise, including hoodies, sweatshirts and short-sleeved t-shirts, Abaie said, adding that more apparel options are being announced in the future.
United opens its season at home against Toronto FC on Feb. 25. The new cherry blossom jerseys will make their Audi Field debut during D.C.’s March 25 match against New England.
See photos of the jersey and the event below.