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Do and do nots of personalizing a jersey

Tips to help you make wise jersey-purchasing decisions.

MLS: New York City FC at Columbus Crew SC
It is not easy to pick out the right name on a beautiful new kit. We’re here to help.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

As Massive Report continues SB Nation’s Jersey Week, something has to be said: some sports fans do not like jerseys. To a few, the notion of jersey importance holds no meaning. I have a friend that I will call David, because it’s his name. One day there were sports being discussed and the topic switched to player numbers. David was clueless about who wore what number on his favorite team. This shook me. It was the first run-in with someone that did not pay any mind to numbers, jerseys and names.

The shock that followed did not leave David apologetic for his slight. All of the players on the team were important to him, and he could rattle off stats, but everything else just fell to the wayside.

This story is important because there are people out there that wish they could live this life. A life where sports were strictly about the game being played on the field. There are those that hold jersey’s colors, fonts and overall stylings to such high regard that entire websites exist for the pursuit of all things jerseys. If you find yourself in this category, the staff of Massive Report has quite the collection to read through.

A difficulty for the non-Davids of the world is the decision to purchase your own jersey. If you need help, Massive Report is here for you with the do and do nots of purchasing a new Columbus Crew SC jersey. Luckily for you, this list is not conjured up from educated guesses. These come from personal experience.

Do: Choose your favorite player

This first suggestion should come as no surprise, so let’s get it out of the way early. Choose the player that you love the most. If you are reading this and can’t get enough Artur, then a No. 8 jersey is what you need.

MLS: New York City FC at Columbus Crew SC
If you love Artur, just pull the trigger already.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Even if that player has left the club, go for your favorite. Certain club legends stand the test of time. If reading the names and numbers on kits is one of your people-watching best practices, you have likely seen a “McBride, 20” kit on a jersey while roaming MAPFRE Stadium. These are not throwback jerseys; they are on jerseys from seasons past 2003, when he last played for Columbus.

Do not: Make an emotionally charged, new player, purchase

If you are a relatively new supporter of the Crew, listen up. A lot of fans have been in your computer chair: looking online for a new jersey to show off your newfound fandom. If you are not familiar with the players at the club, or in the league, hold off for a few games before you submit that order. You could end up wearing a Mario Balotelli Liverpool jersey.

Get to know the players before you buy. For every Jonathan Mensah, there are dozens of Emmanuel Pogatetzs: players that do not end up making a huge dent in Crew history.

Do: Be careful with non-player related jersey personalization

Getting a jersey with a non-player name and number is completely fine. If you search online for other views on this topic, people will try to persuade you, or shame you, to avoid “jersey fouls.” One example is putting your own name on a jersey. Your name on a jersey is just fine. It’s a harsh rule for supporters to impart on someone who is spending their own money, so you do you.

There are a few areas to watch out for if you go down this route. First, talk about it with a trusted supporter friend. Putting a funny phrase and a nice number on the back may make you laugh, but by the time the jersey gets delivered to your house, the joke could be old or was not funny in the first place. Having a friend share their feedback is like having a coworker check a harshly worded email draft. More than likely, you will cool down, think about it and change your mind. If you don’t, hopefully, your friend will.

Second, please proofread your jersey request. The Major League Soccer store, or wherever you order your jerseys from, will not reach out to you if you spell your own name incorrectly.

Lastly, the only Crew jerseys that use No. 15 have Urso above it. If you want it because it’s your lucky number or your birthday: get a new lucky number or birthday. Some things in fandom are sacred. (And if you don’t know the Kirk Urso story, click here.)

Forever Massive
Jamie Sabau

Do not: Go for the suspiciously cheap option

Some online retailers offer two styles of personalized jersey: basic and authentic. Go for the authentic personalization. There may have been a time when someone bought a Steve Clark kit, went for the basic customization, and it looked like someone found numbers and letters from the local hardware store that are normally reserved for mailboxes on the back. Do not be that person.

While I have you here, and we are talking about authentic things, here is a bonus “do not” for where you purchase your jersey. Trust me, I get no commission from you buying a jersey from the official team shop or the Major League Soccer online store. With that out of the way, when it comes to buying a new jersey, stick to the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When you go to less than verified online shops, you do not know what you’ll get delivered. The size that you normally wear may be two sizes too small or big. There are no rules when you take a chance on the too-good-to-be-true prices, and there may also be no returns.

Do: Own up to your jersey mistakes

For us that take our chances on player names and numbers, sometimes we strikeout. If you buy a jersey with your favorite player, and they leave within a month or two, wear your kit with pride. You worked hard to buy it and life is about learning from your mistakes. It will at least strike up a conversation or two at the tailgate or in the concession line.

If taking responsibility for a poor jersey is not your thing, there are other things you can do with it:

  • Donate
  • Get an autograph on the front and frame it
  • Wait for the holidays and use it in a white elephant gift exchange
  • Repurpose it
  • Burn it in effigy (please burn responsibly)

These are a few do and do nots that you can think about the next time you purchase a Crew jersey. If you struggle from indecisiveness, or can’t choose between Gyasi Zardes or Milton Valenzuela, find beauty in simplicity and buy it blank. You can always customize it later.