Home Sweet Home – CPL Home Kit Power Rankings
It’s April 2023, and this means that not only is the fifth season of the Canadian Premier League upon us, but once again, fans can come together to argue, debate, and invalidate eachother’s opinions on this season’s CPL jerseys. This article will try and serve as a neutral ground for the discussion of which CPL jersey is the best.
Everyone has their preferences about what makes a jersey good and what makes a jersey deserving of a trash bin. In this article, I will attempt to remain as neutral as possible, but hey, what’s a Power Ranking article without a bit of drama?
8th Place – Forge FC
While Forge may be a powerhouse on the field, off the field when it comes to jerseys… they tend to miss often. This year is no different. While Forge fans will be clambering to defend this year’s home kit, the rest of the CPL has already agreed that it is by far the worst kit this season.
The idea behind this kit design was to ‘pay homage to the chain around the Cinquefoil on the city of Hamilton Flag… and represent the regional municipalities and symbolizes Forge FC’s eternal link with the steel city of Hamilton.’
I mean… the idea is fantastic; I love kits that pay homage to the city and where fans can feel represented. However, while the concept was great, the execution was horrible – a trend that will be noticed in other new kits this year.
The jersey is simply too busy: there are three different shades of orange and multiple styles of chain links present on the kit. From afar, the jersey looks ok, but when you look at it closely, it is the perfect example of what word vomit would look like. The idea was great. The design wasn’t. Therefore, Forge, you are the wooden spoon winners for home jerseys.
7th Place – Halifax Wanderers
This year, Halifax wanted to make Nova Scotia feel represented more. They decided to design their kit off of ‘Nova Scotia’s famous landscape and passion for sport… with a sublimated pattern that represents the black granite rocks that have been sculpted by the sea.”
Entering their fifth season in the CPL, Halifax has built an identity when it comes to home jerseys. While their designs may have changed each year, the colours have always remained the same. Every kit has had some form of light blue mixed with their famous dark blue combo. This light blue, whether it is the primary colour or just an accent, has become the identifying factor for Canada’s east coast team. However, this year, they’ve decided to move away from it.
What used to be an identifying jersey has now become a boring copy-and-paste kit. While the granite rocks are a great touch, removing the light blue accents and replacing them with grey has turned this kit into a FIFA Jersey Template. I mean, look at these Everton jerseys. Takeaway the sponsor and logo, and they are practically the Halifax jerseys.
I am disappointed in Halifax this year, and hopefully, next year, the light blue will make its return. For now, Halifax can sit in seventh and think about what they have done.
6th Place – Atletico Ottawa
As one of the Capos for ATO, choosing whom to put at 6th was difficult. It was between ATO and Cavalry, and based on the header, you can see who lost.
When Atletico de Madrid owns you, being creative with your home jerseys is tough. This is something you may have noticed with the 2021 and 2022 kits. However, they decided to try something new this season, and no, I’m not talking about the sponsor (which I’ll get to soon). ATO chose to focus this season on the city of Ottawa and the roots the club is trying to plant in the Nation’s capital. If you look closely at the stripes, the weird camo is actually the outline of the city of Ottawa, and if you look even closer, you can even see the boroughs outlined. On the back of the jersey, the map of Ottawa is full scale, and there is the letter “W” on the small of the back, paying a nice homage to Section W, the home of the (arguably) loudest supporters in the league.
So why did this kit lose out to Cavalry? Well… it’s the damn sponsor. Fans were so happy when they found out that ‘ComeOn!’ would no longer be the sponsor for ATO. However, when they saw the Maple Lodge Farms logo… the excitement quickly faded. Now the logo itself is not bad. In fact, I like the chicken; it’s unique. My biggest gripe is the weird oval around the sponsor. It’s a bizarre shape that also clashes with the red and white stripes, making the kit a little too busy. My second gripe is that the stripes don’t go all the way down to the bottom. They stop above the cuff, giving it the look of a priest wearing a stole (a joke taken from a fan online).
In my books, the sponsor separates ATO from Cavs, and although I may be called a traitor, Ottawa sits in 6th for me.
5th Place – Cavalry FC
The graphic that was posted for this jersey deserves the wooden spoon. When I first saw the graphic, I was ready to dive deep into the design and annihilate Cavalry, and I was confused about why everyone loved the kit. From the graphic, it looked like the kit was primarily black with a skinny red sash. However, it’s a solid kit after seeing it on players.
“Our majestic mountains stand tall and proud, framing our skyline as a testament to our unwavering strength and resilience,” said the Cavalry release.
Being from Ottawa, I’m a suck for red and black kits, and Cavalry did an excellent job with this year’s jersey. There is enough red on the kit to keep the iconic identity of Cavalry, while the black allows the design to be outlined in red. A more subtle nod to the region without taking over the entire jersey (*cough* Forge)
I only wish the black on the Macron logo side of the jersey would be reduced just a little to allow more red.
4th Place – Valour FC
There are a lot of mixed feelings about this kit, but in my opinion, I’m obsessed with it. Yes, it is another map kit and that concept is overdone, but this jersey’s colours and design easily place it in fourth place.
The map on the kit is a map of the Winnipeg area. However, what makes it perfect for me is that the Valour badge is right over where the stadium is on the map. It’s a unique and subtle design that helps me appreciate the kit more. I appreciate that the map design isn’t strong and in your face, making the jersey easy on the eye.
As for the colours, I love the red palette that Valour has gone with. It is different from the one that Cavalry and ATO use, and it is one they have used before. The usage of gold on the jersey brings the entire kit together and makes Valour look like a club of high quality
Valour’s new home kit is a solid kit, and I hope they continue to use a similar design moving forward.
3rd Place – Vancouver FC
It’s hard to make a black kit exciting. When Vancouver FC announced what their team colours would be, CPL fans were worried that their jerseys might be the worst kits ever to exist. Boy, were we wrong.
Vancouver’s home kit is easily top three in the league. The all-black kit features the names of the 53 cities and municipalities that make up the area, and the repeating fashion of the words gives the jersey a clean design. The grey contrasts nicely, and as the only team wearing black as their home jersey, they will quickly build a recognizable identity in Canada.
It’s hard to make a black jersey look clean, but Vancouver has gone and done it. Well done.
2nd Place – Pacific FC
Every league has that one team that specializes in making nice jerseys. Pacific is that team for the CPL. Last season, they came out with the gorgeous Indigenous kit. This year, they came out with another gorgeous jersey… this time, a home kit. The purple diamond pattern gives a beautiful 3D look to this jersey that helps keep the identity of Pacific but also makes it unique compared to previous Pacific jerseys.
My only gripe is the bear that is featured on the kit. While many seem to love that element, I think it’s a little tacky and takes away from the jersey. I believe if they had kept the pattern going all the way down and then moved the bear to the back of the jersey, this kit would have been perfect. Alas, it’s a beautiful kit and in the top two in the league.
1st Place – York United
This pains me to write this, but York has outclassed the rest of the league and has delivered the best kit. All the CPL was missing was a white kit, and boy, did York provide.
The white jersey mixed with the green and blue stripe going down the middle is a class kit, paying homage to previous jerseys, including their York9 kit. However, what makes this jersey class is the sponsor.
There is something about Carlsberg because any kit that has the glorious opportunity of representing Carlsberg automatically makes their kit a legendary one. The Carlsberg logo gives the jersey a retro look and automatically reminds Euro Footy fans of one of the world’s biggest clubs: Liverpool FC. A nod of respect must also go out to Carlsberg using the non-alcoholic logo. Whether they legally had to do this or not, it means kids can wear these jerseys, helping advertise York to the vast Toronto region.
This is by far the best home kit of 2023, and as an Arsenal/ATO fan, I find it fitting that my biggest rival once again wears white!
This wraps up the Home Jersey Power rankings. I assume my rankings will not sit well with everyone, which is ok. This year I was disappointed with most of the jerseys. I felt like the ideas behind each design were great, but the execution was poor. However, the top four kits really nailed the idea and execution and fans of those teams should be rushing to buy kits.
Stay tuned for the away jersey ranking, too!