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A Silver Anniversary: Ranking 25 years of LA Galaxy Primary Kits

We take a look at the best primary kits the LA Galaxy have worn during their 25 years in MLS. Which one is your favorite?

On October 15, 1995, a fashion show was held at The Palladium in New York City to launch new kits for the inaugural season of Major League Soccer. If you wanted a glimpse into what 90’s style was all about, this fashion show is a perfect time capsule. Included in this kit launch was the now-iconic Teal and Black Nike LA Galaxy primary kit.

25 years later, the league has grown in leaps and bounds, but they still are not afraid to put their kits on display on a New York City runway! During the FORWARD25 event on February 5th (get it, 2/5…25…for the 25th anniversary) the league officially unveiled their special 25th-anniversary edition team jerseys outfitted by Adidas. MURS was tapped to represent the LA Galaxy at the event. But if you are a supporter of the biggest club in Major League Soccer, you know that the LA Galaxy like to play by their own rules. When the club announced the signing of Mexican superstar, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, they included a detail that did not go unnoticed. Chicharito was shown in promotional videos and photographs wearing the 25th anniversary 2020 LA Galaxy primary kit.

Courtesy of LA Galaxy

The new kits show a clear nod to the 25th-anniversary theme by including silver details to the primarily white jersey. The LA Galaxy will continue to don a diagonal sash on their kits, which is a look now synonymous with the club. While the concept of the sash is debated upon by some fans, I enjoy the sash because it gives the Galaxy a unique identity in their uniforms that separate them from the rest of the clubs throughout the league. In addition to the sash, three shoulder stripes were also added to commemorate the league’s 25th anniversary. It’s easy to see how the 3 stripes identity is reminiscent of classic Adidas kits of the early ’90s.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Not only did the LA Galaxy get a head start at releasing their new primary kits, but they also officially debuted the new font that will be featured on the 25th-anniversary kits. The new font is also reminiscent of the retro Adidas kits.

Courtesy of LA Galaxy
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Courtesy of LA Galaxy

The last detail of the new Galaxy kits that needs to be noted is the MLS 25th anniversary patch. During Media Day, various accounts posted photos of Galaxy players in their new threads and we got a pretty clear look at the new patch. The patch is similar to the regular league patch, which debuted in 2015 prior to the league’s 20th season, only it contains the number “25” in the new league font with a radiant effect.

Courtesy of LA Galaxy
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Now with all of the semantics of the new kits out of the way, I want to look back on 25 years of LA Galaxy primary kits dating back to 1996. On our trip down memory lane, I will be ranking the kits from worst to first. The LA Galaxy have worn 14 different styles of primary kits and 18 total variations of the primary kit. Let’s get started!

N/A: The 25th Anniversary Silver Sash Kit (2020)

When I was ranking the secondary kits last season, I left the “Night Navy” kit off the official rankings as I believe that occasionally on-the-field play can be a factor when ranking the best kit ever (aesthetics aren’t everything). Additionally, there is always a recency bias when a new kit is released and fans are usually polarized by either loving it or hating it. I’m sticking to my guns with the 2020 primary kit and only time will tell how we will look back at this kit.

That is to say that I won’t share my initial reaction: While I enjoy keeping the “sash” identity, the hue of the silver does appear to wash out and get lost when giving the shirt a quick glance. The last interesting detail to note is the new design for the shorts. I was trying to think of a creative way to describe them, but I just keep coming back to the word “weird”. Lastly, the “This is LA” tag at the bottom of the kits is no longer, as the “Since 96” slogan now takes its place on the front end of the jersey.

Not the most inspiring release from Adidas, but remember, it could be worse.

14. The 96 (1996)

Hot take: This is not a good looking kit. Yes, it is fun and reminds all of us who have been here #Since96 of some of our first memories tied to the club, but it is extremely dated and LOUD. Don’t get me wrong, I own a replica version of this kit, but when you look at how aesthetically pleasing Galaxy kits have been over the years, this falls pretty quickly down the rankings when comparing them like for like. It’s an iconic piece of nostalgia for the club, but it’s also the worst looking kit in history. Things can be two things at once.

13. The First Star (2003/2004)

After winning their first MLS Cup final after 3 previous attempts, the LA Galaxy finally got to add a star to their kits to commemorate a championship. Additionally, this was the debut kit worn for the first official match at the Home Depot Center (now Dignity Health Sports Park). Lastly, this is the first year that the Galaxy introduced a sash into their identity. While I do love the green and gold colorway (spoiler alert), I think the brand and badge placement make for an awkward-looking kit. The black part of the sash is also easily lost in the shuffle. The last detail that puts this kit at the bottom of the rankings is that during this time, Nike kits featured a mesh section at the bottom of the kit that looked strange whenever kits became untucked.

12. The Dynasty (2010/2011)

This kit will be linked to the beginning of an LA Galaxy dynasty starting with a Supporters Shield in 2010 and MLS Cup in 2011. The design was simple and looked crisp on the field but, to me, really lacked character or any unique quality to it. The navy shoulder accents are the only aspect that separates this from any other cookie-cutter design that could be found in 2010/2011.

11. The Teal and Black 2.0 (1998/1999)

Not much to say about this kit as all it did was take elements of the 1998 kit and slim them down. Rarely is the sequel better than the original and this case does not present an exception to the rule. After the need to create a third kit in 1998 due to there not being enough contrast from the primary kits, you can see why Nike opted for a thinner stripe in the following year. The thicker striped version of this kit was much more visually pleasing (more on that later).

10. The White, Blue, and Gold (2016/2017)

This is essentially a rebranded take of the 2003/04 gold and green kit updated with current club colors. As much as I like this kit, I couldn’t bring myself to rank it much higher because of the lack of creativity. It’s a duplicate. A nice duplicate, but a duplicate nonetheless. Throw in the fact that this kit is linked to the worst season in club history and it’s hard to look back on this one fondly.

PS: The powers that be would not allow me to call this kit “The João”.

9. The zLAtan (2018) & The 5 Star zLAtan (2019)

When you look back at the first El Trafiíco and stare in awe at the Zlatan brace to seal the 4-3 comeback win, this is what you’ll see. This kit will forever be linked to Zlatan years. That means something. As mentioned on last year’s away kit rankings, 2019 saw the return of the 5 stars above the crest and that detail bumped this up in the rankings just above the 2016/17 kit. If I knocked the 2016/17 for being a duplicate, then I have to do the same for this one. It is a copy of the 2006/07 style with an updated colorway.

8. The Beckham (2007)

A bit of an interesting kit simply for the fact that it was introduced during a mid-season rebrand when David Beckham announced his arrival to MLS. This was one of the first times that it became commonplace to see LA Galaxy gear in your big box sporting goods retailers. You no longer needed to find a niche soccer-specific shop to get your Galaxy gear. This kit along with the away kit was everywhere, bringing notoriety to the league and making the LA Galaxy the glamour club of North America. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it’s a fun kit that fits in with the era. The curved detail fell in line with the Beckham brand and it was easy to see how Adidas used this to print money with the sales of this kit. It does need to be noted that critics of this kit will see it as a time when the club “sold their soul” by ditching their historic colors and crest in conjunction with the introduction of the Herbalife sponsorship. Looking back at other teams around the league, a rebrand was probably on the horizon at some point, the Beckham signing just sped up the process. Personally, I have come to love the current club colors and crest.

7. The Teal and Black – 1997

An iconic looking kit. After the initial introduction of the teal and black colors in 1996, this is where the club perfected the use of these colors. It is a bold look with thick stripes and brings back memories of some of the early years of success with the club. During this time, Nike used this template with various clubs around the league making for lack of variation between clubs outfitted by Nike. Some clubs kept the striped identity, but it didn’t stick for the Galaxy. 

6. The Return to Greatness (2008/2009)

After a few of the club’s off years, this was the kit worn when the Galaxy made their triumphant return to an MLS Cup Final. Again, in this instance, the Galaxy opted for the less is more approach with the kit. The bright spot of the kit is the collar. At the time, Beckham’s signature look worked best with a collar and it really saves a pretty simple kit. The gold piping detail adds a nice touch to tie it all together.

5. The Landon – 2005

Over his 9+ years with the Galaxy, Landon Donovan gave us some of the best years of his illustrious career. There were a number of kits that I could’ve nicknamed “The Landon”, but I chose this one because it marked the beginning of something special. Landon Donovan joined the LA Galaxy on March 31, 2005. On November 13, 2005, the LA Galaxy won their second MLS Cup final. It was no coincidence that Landon was a key part of the club’s success that season. Even though the club may not have been dominant, but they had the knack for pulling it out in the big moments. To me, that sums up Landon as a player. As you’re probably starting to pick up, the love for this kit probably comes more from the memories linked to it than the kit itself. That being said, this is a good looking kit. The gold kit with green sash really maximized the appeal of the club crest. The Nike templates of this time included some colored piping that gave the kit some sharp cutoff points for the sash and curved lines near the shoulders that complimented the athletes well.

4. The First To Five (2014) & The Fifth Star (2015)

There were a lot of unique details added to the 2014/15 kit that made it one of the best the Galaxy have ever worn. The first detail was that movement away from a solid colored sash. The sash featured a gradient blue design that tapered off toward the bottom to mimic upward movement.

Furthermore, the sash was made up of 11 stripes to represent the 11 players on the field working together to form one unified group. 2014 also marked the introduction of the “This is LA” slogan featured on the bottom of the kits. The slogan was included in the jerseys from 2014-2019. Away from the charm of the kit, this was the kit worn when the Galaxy separated themselves as the MLS club with the most championships as they were “The First to Five”. The final factor in ranking this kit that scores some bonus points is that this was worn in Landon Donovan’s (first) farewell season.

3. El Pescadito (2000-2002)

You never forget your first. Of course, the kit worn during the Galaxy’s first MLS Cup win was always going to be somewhere near the top of the rankings. The LA Galaxy teams that donned this kit were some of the club’s most dominant. The kit represented the progression of the experimentation with primary kit colors that were pulled from the club’s crest. The primary teal worked for me and gold stripe on the shoulders and sides accented it perfectly. If third kits are ever introduced again, I think moving to teal would be a good call. 

2. The Return of the Sash (2012) & The Fourth Star (2013)

After the absence of a sash from 2007-2011, Adidas brought back the concept to the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy in 2012. As an aside, the team debuted a sash after winning their first championship in 2002. I would not be opposed to the team only donning a sash after winning silverware. This kit also featured the final iteration of the MLS Scudetto which included the image of the MLS Cup trophy and a large star indicating a championship from the previous year. This was also the first time that some “texture” was added to the sash. This version of the kit features a blue tartan pattern to give the club an elegant look while winning back to back titles. This also gets some added points for being the final kit David Beckham wore with the Galaxy. Truly the end of an era.

Fun fact: Due to winning back to back championships, the club never wore a kit with 3 stars above the crest. Technically, the 2012 kit has 3 stars (one is included in the scudetto), but above the crest, it jumps from two to four from 2012 to 2013.

1. The Gold and Green Scudetto (2006) & The Pre-Beckham (2007)

This kit checks all of the boxes for me. Stars and emblems representing championships. Check. Good looking sash. Check. Gold and green color combination. Check. The gold kit is always something that FEELS like Los Angeles to me. It brings up memories of the Lakers’ legacy and early years of the Los Angeles Kings. Something about it also speaks to the warmth of the city. This classic kit also features the best version of the sash identity, love it or hate it. The solid green stripe with black accents really pops on the gold background. Another detail that takes this kit to another level is the scudetto worn during the 2006 campaign. The Galaxy marked the beginning and the end of the MLS scudetto era in 2006 and 2012 respectively. While the idea obviously came from Italy’s Serie A, the American flag background and old MLS Cup Trophy adapts it enough to make it stand on its own. The one strike against this kit is that for the first half of the 2007 season, the Herbalife partnership began and the sponsorship design looked like a cheap aftermarket modification. So the 2006 kit signifies the end of the original crest and Galaxy iconography from 1996. It also represents the next evolution of the club as elements from the club’s history were utilized in future designs. To me, the 2006 kit is perfect.