Sept. 13, 2012
Before practice on Thursday afternoon, the University of Minnesota women's soccer team was surprised by equipment manager John Blackshear with two new uniform combinations. The team was introduced to the uniforms as redshirt junior Steph Brandt and undergraduate assistant coach Katie Bethke slipped off their sweat suits during a team meeting to unveil the flashy kits.
The jerseys (pictured below) feature hoops on the top half while the shorts and socks remain solid colors. The tops show similarity to the uniforms that the United States National Teams wore during the 2012 Summer Olympics as well as that of world-renowned European soccer club, Celtic F.C. On the back of each jersey, "Minnesota" is printed above each number, which is similar to the new Golden Gopher football uniforms.
"For us as a staff, we were designing a lot of different things and came up with about six or seven different looks," mentioned head coach Stefanie Golan about the design process. "We just thought that these jerseys looked sharp and gave us a little flare and uniqueness."
Golan was assisted by a number of personnel to make a final decision on the jerseys, including assistant coaches Krystle Seidel and Deana Waintraub and equipment managers John Blackshear and Kevin Criter. Input was also given by fifth-year senior and team captain Tamara Strahota, who was the lone player who knew about the unveiling.
"It was really hard because I was so excited, but I couldn't let anyone know," said Strahota. "Everyone kept asking me why we didn't have new jerseys this season, and I just had to make excuses for why we hadn't gotten them. I am just relieved to have this off my plate now, and these jerseys are a big gift for everyone heading into the Big Ten season."
The Golden Gophers usually switch jerseys every two seasons, but due to the change of the head coaching position this summer, Blackshear wanted to hold off on making a decision until a coach was put in place. Once Golan was named head coach, the group was established to come up with new kits for the 2012 squad, despite the anticipated late arrival.
"I really like the new jerseys, and I think they will give us a nice, new look," said sophomore Katie Thyken. "Hopefully, it will be like a new beginning for us as we enter Big Ten play and strive to win the conference title."
This weekend in Columbus, Ohio, the Gophers will be sporting the maroon jerseys with gold hoops as they take on Ohio State on Sunday at noon CST. The match against the Buckeyes will be the Big Ten opener for both squads.
"We are starting the conference season with new kits," Golan stated. "We will look good, feel good and play good. So we are excited about our new look, which is just another thing to be pumped about going into the Big Ten season."