The 2023 MLS season is almost upon us, and that means the 5 Stripes have a brand-new look to share with the world. Today, Atlanta United unveiled the 17s’ Kit, a fresh styling that celebrates the franchise’s inaugural design, as well as the supporters—dubbed the 17s—that have cemented the team as an Atlanta institution.
Last year’s mint green Forest Kit was a fun foray into new territory, but this year, it’s all about returning to the heart of the team, said Georgia O’Donoghue, VP of Business Operation for United. “It’s about telling our story,” she explained, “About our five pillars, Atlanta being a railroad town—really getting back to the roots of our club and our club story.”
The classic red and black stripes are swapped in the new kit, in a red-black-red-black-red formation that matches the team crest. Adding a little more glitz, the shoulder stripes and detailing are all in gold—“It just reminds us that we are always striving for that bar!” said O’Donoghue.
Two details on the front and back of the jersey celebrate Atlanta United’s devoted fanbase. “Our supporters are a huge part of how we got to where we are and where we’re going in the future,” O’Donoghue explained. The front sign off is emblazoned with the line “We Are the A,” the opening line of chant that has become a staple at home games. “It creates an atmosphere at Mercedes Benz Stadium that is unmatched across the League,” she noted. “We wanted to pay homage to that chant, and to our supporters.” On the back, a sign off on the neck reads “United 17” with an outline of the state of Georgia.
Within the MLS, Atlanta United fans are known for their exuberance. When the team launched in 2017, the enthusiasm that surged across the city helped catapult ATLUTD to their 2018 MLS Cup victory—and even though the team is still chasing that second star, their supporters haven’t wavered. The team still boasts the highest average attendance of any MLS team (and second-highest in all of North and South America).
And as the evolution from grassroots chant to an official jersey slogan can attest, ideas sparked by Atlanta United’s fans also have a knack for finding their way to the heart of the franchise. Five Stripes supporters turned the late Archie Eversole’s song “We Ready” into a pre-match chant, which the franchise then formally adopted into a video that now plays at kickoff.
It’s this love between team and city that ATLUTD wanted to celebrate with its new kit, said O’Donoghue. “Our ethos is ‘Unite and Conquer’ and we’re really bringing that to the forefront,” she explained. “’Uniting’ with the city of Atlanta is seeing a full venue at Mercedes-Benz Stadium full of screaming supports, and then the ‘conquer’ is what happens on the field. The two don’t exist without the other.”
Atlanta United will unveil the 17s’ Kit to the public tonight at the second annual American Family Insurance Cup, a friendly exhibition match against the Mexican team Toluca. The halftime show will be a chance for fans to see the new kits firsthand. A new feature on the Atlanta United app offers a virtual try-on experience, where supporters can upload a selfie to try on the full uniform.
The 17s’ Kit will also be on tour around the city over the next month, at locations around Atlanta:
- February 18 at Underground Atlanta from 12-6 p.m.
- February 22 at Hampton & Hudson from 3-7 p.m.
- March 2 at Plaza Fiesta from 3-7 p.m.
- March 6 at American Family Insurance Agency (3750 Palladian Village Drive, Marietta) from 3-7 p.m.
- March 8 at Avalon from 3-7 p.m.
Meanwhile, the team kicks off the 2023 season on February 25 with a home-turf match against the San Jose Earthquakes. This season marks a new era for the team: it’s the first without iconic forward Josef Martinez, who departed for Inter Miami FC earlier this year. But there are many reasons to be excited about United’s prospects this season, including two promising new additions to the roster, forward Giorgos Giakoumakis and centerback Luis Abram; the expected return of keeper Brad Guzan; and a new president, Garth Lagerwey, who helped lead the Seattle Sounders to multiple championships as a general manager. “He’s been digging in, learning everything he can, and he’s already making an impact,” O’Donoghue said of Lagerwey.
With Atlanta United supporters cheering in the stands, and their legacy now emblazoned on the franchise kit, the team hopes it will be a season Atlantans can be proud of. “Our supporters have shown that they’re here for us through thick and thin,” O’Donoghue said. “We’re excited to see where we can go this year.”