By Pat Gallen

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Over the past couple of years, the Philadelphia Union has given their fans a chance to determine what the team will look like on the field — not by allowing them to pick their players or their coaches, but the next best thing, their secondary kits.

The Union on Wednesday unveiled a new uniform that features a style and color template that has never been seen in the team’s 10-year history, and it was designed by a group of fans, the Union Creators’ Collective.

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“When you bring 20 to 30 people together and they debate, just like a jury does, it’s not about majority vote. It’s about watching them debate, watching them sell their own opinion and convert people in the room,” Union Chief Marketing Officer Doug Vosik said.

Vosik said the secondary uniform was influenced by the “flags of the Delaware Valley, a design inspired by innovation born in our city and they wanted to shock the soccer world.”

“They quickly gravitated toward the flags of our region and if you look at the flags of our region, all shades of blue, light blue and yellow that really informed and excited them about where they wanted to go with this,” he said.

Vosik added, “This kit is Philadelphia. The gritty, beautiful, diverse, creative place that we all love. As a Philly native, an original season ticket holder years before working at the Union, I have not had a prouder moment in bringing our community together to shape the future of our club.”

The group went with a color scheme of light blue and gold, adding lightning bolt silhouettes.

“To have a little piece of that and to have been in the room as we talked about representing the city and Chester and the region and all of the things that make Philadelphia sports authentic,” Chris Gibbons said. “It was a really big responsibility and I do take a lot of pride in that.”

The Union Creators’ Collective was formed in 2019 to build a group of fans that would participate in every step of the jersey design process.

The group includes season ticket holders, Sons of Ben members, Union superfans, members of the media and Union employees and players.

“We had some folks who were professional designers. We had some folks who were representatives from the Union supporters group the Sons of Bens, and we had writers like myself,” Gibbons said, “and we had fans just from the community. It was a pretty balanced group.”

Behind this bold and different look is a bold and different strategy other teams may try to emulate.

“To have a little piece of that and to have been in the room as we talked about representing the city and Chester and the region and all of the things that make Philadelphia sports authentic,” Gibbons said. “It was a really big responsibility and I do take a lot of pride in that.”

“This was about from Day 1, what is inspiring our fanbase and how do they become part of the process? And to me that what makes it truly special for this fanbase,” Vosik said. “That’s unique in sports, they get to be part of shaping the future of the club.”

The 2021 By|U kit will go on pre-order on Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. It will go on sale at the MLS store and Adidas website on Friday at 10 a.m.

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