Over the past few weeks, MLS teams have been releasing new jerseys for the upcoming season with some of these jerseys being incredible works. With so many great jerseys that took risks, of course the Quakes would play it safe and release a simple jersey. This jersey release, amongst all the more impressive jerseys from other teams, is the perfect representation of the Quakes.

Since the start of February, teams from across the MLS have been releasing their new kits for the upcoming season. A yearly ritual, this is always a great time to see imaginative designs featuring iconic images relating to teams and their city’s icons and history.

Just this month, fans have seen the Portland Timbers release a beautiful white jersey adorned with roses and Orlando City produce a Florida state inspired kit. Looking back at last year’s jerseys, who can forgot the Sounders releasing their Jimi Hendrix psychedelic shirt that captured fans all over. It does seem that ambitious teams produce unique kits while unambitious teams play it safe.

Photo: Seattle Sounders

The Quakes, unsurprisingly, fall in that unambitious group joining the likes of RSL and FC Dallas, as those clubs had unimpressive offseason and jersey releases. A white jersey with a black pattern on the sides, the kit isn’t ugly by any means but is safe and lacks any risk taking.

In a way, this jersey release is a great representation of this current era of the Quakes, as their lack of ambition bleeds into their jersey designs. It’s not as if the team lacks inspiration for their jersey designs, a throwback to their days as the Clash or a tribute to San Jose like their previous kit would be a great idea. Again, as the league is growing and making itself more appealing to viewers, the Quakes feel stuck in the past, clinging to the early 2010 era of the MLS.

These past few weeks have produced some great kits, but the Quakes only managed to produce a white uninspired jersey. While it may seem like the Quakes don’t have as much inspiration to make creative jerseys, the team has shown the ability to create some interesting kits.

A beautiful rose themed kit, the Florida sun rising rippling across the chest and a stylish art deco inspired LAFC jersey are amongst the best in the league. In the middle of all these is the Quakes’ creator kit jersey, a white piece with black patterns on the side of the torso. A rather boring kit in a year where it seemed like teams were making an effort to go above and beyond with their jerseys.

Looking back at the previous iterations of Quakes’ kits, it appears that the team hasn’t ventured out of the classic black and white colorways often. While it’s true, past jerseys and special collaborations have shown that there are ways to make creative and stylish jerseys with the Quakes.

In 2020, the team released a new away kit using the San Jose flag colors to create a striking white away jersey, especially when paired with the great yellow shorts. Really making their debut at the MLS is Back Tournament, this kit stole the show and were the best colorway in Orlando. This shows that the team can still make something unique out of their traditional white away jersey.

Photo: Reuters

To celebrate the league’s 25th anniversary, the original MLS teams partnered with Mitchell and Ness to release a throwback collection for each team. As one of the original teams, the Quakes received some beautiful merch with a San Jose Clash jersey. This jersey quickly sold out and remains arguably the best jersey the team has produced since their move back to San Jose.

Last year the LA Galaxy, also one of the original teams, decided to make their new jersey fit that collaboration, with a nice throwback to their original away jersey. With teams already showing a willingness to pay homage to their past, there is no reason why the Quakes can’t incorporate their Clash background in the future.

At times it does seem like the Quakes are stuck with their color scheme and there’s little wiggle room, previous iterations of their jerseys have shown that there is room for creative kits. Paying homage to their past or the city of San Jose would be the best way to create memorable kits.

It may seem silly to use a jersey release as a representation of the Quakes’ struggles to stay relevant in the modern MLS. As the league moves away from cookie cutter jerseys and awful transfers of the early 2010s to a new era of MLS with stylish kits and acclaimed academies.

Since their move back to San Jose in 2008, the team has been reluctant to move away from their black and white colorway. Four years before, the MLS had struck up an exclusive deal with Adidas and in the early 2000s, every team was presented with the same templates for jerseys.

As the league grew, the Adidas partnership moved away from total rigidity and teams began to be more creative. This is more of a recent breakthrough, as the MLS has become more respected in the past few years. Much as the Quakes have remained stuck in the past with their transfer and development strategy, they have been reluctant to follow other teams lead in all manners.

The lack of any real ambition from the team is perfectly represented by the team’s refusal to move from the past in jersey creation. They have,of course, moved with the new Adidas templates, but aren’t creative with their designs. As teams, like NYCFC, produce top talent from their academies and stylish kits, it seems that the Quakes are not on their level.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

It’s not to say that the team is not salvageable, Cade Cowell’s rise and Chris Leitch’s moves have been welcome signs. These developments show that the team could soon be back to its former glory, so it would have been the perfect time to release a new defining kit.

Stuck in the early 2010s, the Quakes have yet to really move out of the mindset of that the league had back then, but there have been positive moves of late. That’s why it would have been incredible to see the team release a new era defining jersey, as the team enters a new stage of MLS history.

With another underwhelming jersey launch out of the way, the team’s lack of any real ambition is on full display, which is a shame considering the potential of the team. As the Quakes wallow in a state of purgatory, the MLS is quickly changing and becoming more respected across the world. It may seem weird to harp on a jersey, but it truly is a representation of a refusal to adapt in a changing landscape.


Featured Image: San Jose Earthquakes

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