One word: plastics.
That timeless line from The Graduate seems apropos this coming weekend in MLS as the league joins forces with adidas and Parley for the Oceans to address marine plastic pollution.
Timed to celebrate Earth Day and in conjunction with MLS's Greener Goals initiative, four MLS clubs – New York City FC, Orlando City, LA Galaxy, and Seattle Sounders – will sport special adidas MLS Parley club kits made with Parley Ocean Plastic, upcycled from marine plastic intercepted by Parley ocean clean-up operations in the Maldives. Each Parley jersey took 20 plastic bottles to make.
The kits will be worn on Sunday, April 23, when New York City FC host Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium (1:30 pm ET, FS1 and Fox Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada), and when LA Galaxy welcome reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC at StubHub Center (4 pm ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada).
"Every second breath we take is generated by the oceans. And still, we are at war with the sea,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, in a statement. “Now is the time to negotiate peace with our life support and to invent our way out of this mess. Soccer can lead the way. It shows what we can achieve with the right balance of creativity, collaboration and technology."
Once the original plastic material is collected, it's repurposed into performance material for use in either apparel or footwear – in this case, jerseys. The one-time specials – which all parties hope will lead the way to future collaborations – read "for the oceans" on the back neck tape to commemorate the occasion.
All of this comes as part of MLS's Greener Goals platform, which also includes MLS WORKS' Week of Service leading up to Earth Day.