Worst to First: Ranking the L1BC 2023 Home Jerseys
With the first whistle going off on Saturday between TSS Rovers and Nautsa’mawt women’s side (followed immediately by the men’s division game), we thought now would be a fantastic time to rank the kits these teams will be sporting at home.
Here, I will be listing the jerseys which have either been explicitly stated to be a team’s 2023 kit – like Harbourside’s – and, if a team has not released anything regarding new kits, I will be working under the assumption that their 2022 kits will be making a comeback.
So, from worst to first, here are the 2023 League1 BC home jerseys!
8) Victoria Highlanders FC
Much like I wrote in my 2023 season preview, this team has underwhelmed fans and now jersey collectors alike. This kit makes it seem like the club needed to get something quick in preparation for the 2022 season, got a sponsor, and told Macron to just slap their logo on it. A plain white shirt with some thin black accents does not hold up for a team with such history and is a far cry from the fantastic black and gray hooped kit that the Highlanders used during their USL2 days.
7) Unity FC
Again, there are parallels emerging between this team’s performance in the 2022 season and how their 2023 kit turned out: Unity’s black and pink home kit really flies under the radar. The pink accents are a fantastic touch and provide great contrast to the black, however there is not enough going on to really catch the eye. Their sponsor, BEES Social, looks good on the top right of the torso rather than across the front like other soccer jerseys, but even that is mostly due to the attractiveness of yellow-black as a colour pairing rather than any actual design elements.
There’s nothing much to see here, but I sincerely hope that the pink gets utilized more in the future.
6) TSS Rovers FC
This might draw me ire from the Swanguardians and any other of the supporter-owners of this fantastic club. It’s rank at sixth is not a reflection of my admiration of the team on the pitch nor is it even a reflection of a bad kit, there are just some other really gorgeous ones in this league. The vertical stripes on the Pirate’s jerseys are great. You can never go wrong with this sort of design truly, and then when mixed with the Red and Black of the 49th Parallel Brewing Co. and club logos, the colour combos are hard to beat. Add in a dash of a futuristic look with the white squares on the shoulders and you get a classic and sharp kit!
5) Whitecaps FC Academy
Yes, yes, this team does simply share a jersey with their parent MLS club, but I have always had a soft spot for the Whitecaps’ jerseys. This is mostly based on the fact that the Caps’ jerseys are a callback to the original Vancouver Whitecaps jerseys from their NASL days in the ’70s and ’80s and I am a massive history nerd, so it checks out as to why I would like these.
The single navy hoop, outlined with red, the maple leaf on the sleeve, the red numbering on the back. All of it is a nice touch of the past in the modern era. Add all of this to the Whitecaps’ perfect crest, you really can’t get too mad at this side for sticking to what works, and works well.
4) Nautsa’mawt FC
The rebrand has served L1BC’s Point Grey outfit well and Nautsa’mawt truly brought their A-game with their inaugural kits. Keeping the yellow and blue logo colour scheme from their predecessors, Varsity FC – a look which made Variety stand out on the pitch in all the best ways – while adding the indigenous artwork of Maynard Johnny Jr, Nautsa’mawt’s new kits are all fantastic. The white home kit (pictured below, second from left) does itself leave a little bit to be desired in my eyes, but overall it is a fantastic uniform for the team and is even environmentally friendly as producers Oddball Workshop have used five recycled plastic bottles in the fabric of each jersey made!
🥉) Harbourside FC
The newcomers have come in with the heat this off-season. Nanaimo’s Harbourside FC branding has been fully inspired by the waters of Departure Bay and the Strait of Georgia with their logo even being shaped like the ferries which service Van Isle, and this has carried into their jersey design.
The 2023 HFC kit features a dual-toned wave motif with white accents and is nye perfect in my eyes. The lighter blue at the bottom of the kit makes it so the kit mixes nicely with the club’s baby blue shorts while the navy top half of the kit – and its accompanying wave design representing the dark waters of the bays and Strait – adds a nice contrast. In the end, this is kit has captured my heart, and most likely my wallet if they ever start selling them!
🥈) Altitude FC
As I wrote for my piece on the release of this jersey, Altitude seem to have this jersey design thing down to a science, with back to back years of stellar kits. Whoever is designing these things deserves an immediate raise and I hope they have the best summer ever because their new release, a blue jersey with a minimalist homage to the mountains which overlook Kinsman Field, is… *chefs kiss*. The navy accents help define the kit while their predominately-black crest on the left torso on the light blue background makes it pop. This is truly an Altitude kit through and through.
🥇) Rivers FC
I honestly feel bad for the social media team at Rivers FC, Not because they have done anything wrong, nor because of their team’s results on the pitch. No, I feel bad for them because since the 2022 kick off of L1BC, I have inundated them at least four or five times with requests to purchase one of these works of art. I always forget just how well orange and baby blue work together, and then I see what Adidas has done with the Rivers kit and am immediately reminded. The sponsor on the front is incredible in black and white on the orange/blue bars. The navy numbers on the front, while not the colour that I would have chosen, still look great. The classic black Adidas tri-stripe on the shoulders are a nice touch.
But what does it for me the most are those blue bars on the orange background. The way they fade near the top in a futuristic/tech-y way is great modern take on the tried-and-true bars we are used to (à là TSS Rovers for example). I just cannot get enough of this kit and, I hope with the opening of the Rivers FC online store, they will make this jersey available to purchase soon!
The 2023 League1 BC season started on April 29th with two doubleheaders with TSS Rovers hosting Nautsa’mawt FC while Unity FC go to Vancouver Island to visit Harbourside FC in Nanaimo. The season will culminate in early August on BC Day with the L1BC finals. You can follow along with your favourite team on Telus TV as well as at League1 BC’s YouTube channel.