Bugeaters FC: The Simple Things
One of the best secondary things about the return of soccer across this country is the debut of all the kit rebrands and releases going on all over the country. Of course, we track those as they happen and so far we’ve seen some strong contenders out of the box. Last week we saw another redesign from an up and coming brand (one that we’ve written about in this very column) and we were thrilled to be able to head back to the great state of Nebraska to double dip with Bugeaters FC.
We usually begin out Uni-Formity pieces by talking about the brand and what’s going on with the club, but because we’ve written about them already, we can skim that subject just a little. Bugeaters have had some big announcements in the last 6 months. The biggest of those announcements was their exit from the UPSL, after a single season of competition, and their decision to join the brand new expansion division of Gulf Coast Premier League, the Great Plains Premier League. While Bugeaters had only played a single season in the UPSL, they have a larger footprint in the national conversation due to their creative approach to marketing, advertising and strategic partnerships. So their exit from one league and eventual (GPPL plans to kick off in 2020) entry into another league made a big splash, even with the most passive of lower league followers. Paired with their league transition, Bugeaters announced they would be playing a season of friendlies, rather than participating in league play in 2019.
Then three weeks ago, Bugeaters announced a partnership with Creighton University to play in Morrison Stadium for their home 2019 matches. The drive to find a place to play matches had been a tough one for Bugeaters FC owner Jonathan Collura. But having a home in Omaha had more benefits than just a field to play on. “We are excited to be playing at Morrison Stadium. This venue has all of the amenities that we have needed. We expect it to be multi-season, but we need to focus on being good tenants. Omaha has two top division one programs and we are excited to have ties to both of them.” Playing matches in a college field is sure to attract some potential players to the eye-catching Bugeaters brand.
And that brand was taken up a notch last week with a kit reveal that had social media buzzing.
Jonathan Collura always thinks about the details when it comes to his branding and these kits are no different. The black home kit features a black background with a zig zag pattern in a barely seen gray. All the elements of the kit are white, with piping on the neck and sleeves. Over the shoulder, there’s two parallel lines, almost football (American) in style. Those really stand out on this all black kit, giving definition and shape to the shoulder area. Those lines can also be be spotted in the red away kit, which is a red kit with three white stripes. That white extends to piping on the collar, sleeves, and shorts. The badges, unlike many kits at this level, are actually woven versus sublimated, it’s a classy touch, particularly at this price point. But in the end, both designs are simple, through and through. And that approach by Collura, who partnered with CustomFC on this kit, is on purpose.
“I have been collecting kits since the mid-90’s and my style is based on what I have found to have wide appeal. Unique simplicity is what I think does well. Last season’s kits did well and we used simple elements with solid kits. This season, we again use simple elements but in a unique way. I like unique designs and as you have seen, we have had bespoke kits both last season and now this season. There are simple things that can be done to enhance the look. We put the shape of the state on the back neckline as an example. We are not tied to an academy and required to use stock kits. This allows us to have the flexibility to do what we want.”
With such a buzz around the release of the kits, the Bugeaters owner could have jacked his prices a bit, but he broke the mold on this subject as well. “I believe in giving fans a sub-$50 kit. Let’s face it, no club makes much money on kits (at this level anyway), so why not do what you can to get them in to the hands of the fans?” Why not indeed.
With the kit release announced and the preorders rolling in, Collura’s vision is turned to what’s next. “We have an amazing season lined up. We’ve had one ‘tune up’ match which went well and we fully expect this season to be a step up to last. The team will boast a squad with all Nebraska connections. My new coach, Scott Robertson, buys in to the philosophy of building a community based club. The next couple of weeks will be a big challenge. We have both Little Rock Rangers and Chattanooga FC back-to-back weekends. I’m excited and confident that we can complete against such top sides.”
If not on the field, certainly in the way they are dressed.
- Dan Vaughn