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A brief history of MLS jersey fonts

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A look through the looks over the years.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In 2006, MLS went to Adidas kits full-time, around the entire league. One way to look back on the history of jerseys, as part of jersey week here at SB Nation, is looking at the fonts used for numbers and names.

So let’s look at the last decade and a half of MLS jersey fonts, and see how the design has evolved.

2006-07

MLS - 2006 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution Photo by Allen Kee/MLS

This font gets the job done. No frills, it is legible, straightforward and workmanlike.

2008-12

MLS Playoffs - New York Red Bulls v Houston Dynamo Photo by Thomas Shea/MLS via Getty Images

In 2008, they switched to this “futuristic” font, and kept it around for a very long time, through 2012. I think in some ways this font is pretty popular because it was the time a lot of folks got into MLS, but the further we get away from this font, the more dated it looks, in my humble opinion.

2013-19

Real Salt Lake v Portland Timbers - Western Conference Championship - Leg 2

In 2013, the typeface became modernized, the tilts were straightened out, and the letters became more legible. This is a big improvement, and never looked old while it was used.

2020-

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Los Angeles FC Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

So if you get to a nice, clean modern design, the next step is to mix it up and go bold, which they have done for this year. It has a disco vibe? Very retro-futuristic. I’ll be honest, I’m still on the fence on these. I think the numbers look pretty good but I’m not thrilled with the letters showing the same bisected font. Time will tell how this font ages.

Which font is your favorite? What do you think about the new jersey fonts for this year? Let’s chat about them in the comments below!