No explanation is needed when viewing the Sounders FC’s new secondary jersey. The swirls of purple and black with orange and yellow accents can mean only that the design was inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
The Sounders provided confirmation Thursday with the kit’s formal unveiling. Paying homage to Seattle’s musical icon is part of MLS and adidas’ “Community Kit” line, which allow clubs to create secondary jerseys rooted in individual meaning for each team.
Like Hendrix’s music, there are layers and nuances to the Sounders’ look. Dubbed “The Jimi Hendrix Kit,” it’s meant to conjure up the artist’s consistent message of peace, love and giving.
A reproduction of Hendrix’s signature is emblazoned on the front left corner of the jersey, and part of the inner neckline is inscribed with the lyrics “We got to stand, side by side,” from Hendrix’s “Straight Ahead” song. Hendrix also speaks of giving power to the people, facing truths and being grateful to see a friend again because, “I don’t think I can make it alone.”
Unity is symbolized with the logo of the Puyallup Tribe on the right jersey sleeve. The tribe is not only an original steward of the land currently known as the Puget Sound region but a new Sounders sponsorship partner via the Emerald Queen Casino.
“Jimi was all about honoring the place you come from,” said Janie Hendrix, president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, LLC, in a news release. “This venture allows us to give back to the community he loved. That’s something I think would make Jimi proud.”
Day 1 sales of the jersey were the best debut for a Sounders kit in club history, according to a team spokesperson.
The Sounders plan to honor Hendrix’s notion of giving by stating it and EQC will donate up to $50,000 in sales made in the first 30 days of the Hendrix kit at the official team Pro Shop and MLSstore.com to five local nonprofits. The club didn’t disclose if Thursday’s record met the threshold.
The organizations that will receive the funding are The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation, Museum of Pop Culture, Northwest African American Museum, RAVE Foundation and Tacoma Public Schools Indian Education Program.
“Jimi’s legacy looms large,” Peter Tomozawa, a Sounders co-owner and president of business operations, said in a news release. “Not just here in Seattle where he was born and raised, or for the Sounders, where his iconic rendition of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ has been a part of matchday tradition for years, but across the entire world.
“In his short life, Jimi gifted us with his talent, and, even more so, with his generous and loving spirit. We wanted this kit to embody that colorful, creative personality, while also using it as a way to further good, just as Jimi used his own platform.”
The Sounders will open their season April 16 with a match against the Minnesota United FC at Lumen Field. Fans are expected to be permitted to attend after missing majority of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How tickets can be purchased will be disclosed at a later date. The club said season-ticket holders will receive first priority. Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan limits capacity to 9,000 people.