"We're playing for Columbus this year," owner Anthony Precourt said as Columbus Crew SC introduced their new alternate kits for the 2016 season on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.
The Black & Gold - yes the team is still the Black & Gold - will be wearing a jersey representative of Columbus, "For Columbus" kits is what they will be called.
The new uniforms are different, featuring the colors of the Columbus flag, as opposed to the clubs' traditional colors, but they are more representative of the city this team is proud to play for.
"It's a different vibe with the blue and the red mixed in, but I think that's indicative of the flag, which is so cool to have Columbus being represented on the jersey," Gahanna native and Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp said at the presentation. "It's here and it's exciting and being a Columbus guy, you associate with that and it resonates a little bit more within you."
Aside from the Columbus colors, the jersey features 17 stars on the inner neck line, mirroring the number of stars on the Columbus City Seal, symbolic of the 17th state to enter the Union. Inside the jersey is the Columbus City Seal which is placed directly above the players' hearts.
"It's huge," Trapp said of the seal. "I think it's really cool to have that over our heart. The symbolism of it is fantastic."
The new jerseys will compliment the home black jerseys from last season as well as the tradition "banana kit," which were announced as returners at Tuesday night's Supporter's Summit.
There was a buzz of excitement before the kit was revealed. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke before introducing Precourt who said a few words about his club before revealing the players wearing the new kit.
Out marched some of the Black & Gold's marquee players. Winger Ethan Finlay led the way, followed by striker Kei Kamara, Trapp, playmaker Federico Higuain, midfielder Tony Tchani, and defender Michael Parkhurst.
"Excitement," Parkhurst said when asked his reaction. "It's unique. It's something different. It caught me off guard. I saw it for the first about 10 minutes before I put it on so I think it's special though. It looks really nice."
The jersey, which leaked earlier in the day, features light blue shorts, with the team logo and numbers on them, and white socks with blue and red Adidas stripes at the top.
After the rebrand a year ago put the name Columbus on the logo for the first time in team history, the focus has been on connecting more with the city. The new-look Crew SC will certainly do that.
"I think it's awesome. I think the fans will receive it extremely well," Trapp said. "I know we as players love it. It's a little different because you've never seen red and blue before on a Crew SC kit, but I love it. It's great to see the organic ‘For Columbus' thought behind the whole thing. I think people will receive that extremely well."
An unveiling of this new kit means the season is just around the corner for the Black & Gold. Crew SC begin the year on March 6 at the Portland Timbers before returning home the following weekend for the home opener against the Philadelphia Union.
Although the club has been in preseason for three weeks now, finally being able to put on a kit has the players even more ready to get back on the field.
"Any time I lace the boots on I'm ready to play and then you put a jersey on and you pull socks up, you want to get in on a tackle right away," Finlay said. "We were kind of joking around, if there were a ball in there, there might be a broken window down here at City Hall but thankfully no one brought one. It's really exciting."