Match Fitness: big fits, bigger column

Match Fitness: big fits, bigger column

It’s been too long — almost two months — since the last time we did this. Sometimes life gets busy, what can you do? In the time that has passed the players from OL Reign and the Seattle Sounders have only continued to dress up and show out when they roll in for home games. Whether it’s grizzled vets, highly-paid stars, or the bevy of talented teens that have been making themselves known in recent weeks, everybody’s making sure they put their best foot forward when they walk into the stadium.

In that spirit, let’s start with one of the best tandems in the Puget Sound. Ella Dederick and Sofia Huerta are, if nothing else, having more fun than almost anyone else on either the Reign or Sounders when it comes time to put an outfit together. Both players have clearly defined personal styles, and they’re consistently leading the way in a group that has really embraced the runway aspect of the player arrival picture experience. Claire Watkins recently wrote about that culture that’s grown up in NWSL, and particularly at OL Reign and Gotham FC, for Just Women’s Sports. The culture of dressing for that runway atmosphere has grabbed the attention of people outside of the sphere of NWSL and WoSo fandom, with players routinely being featured in GQ Sports’s Instagram polls. This particular look from Dederick got some recognition in their Biggest Fits In Sports This Week feature. The look is definitely strong, bringing incredible ‘70s energy from the denim vest/tank top/halter and patterned bell-bottomy pants to her hair and sunglasses.

Dederick getting a nod from GQ Sports took a little shine off of Huerta’s look, and it feels worthwhile to give her some time. There’s something magical about how nonchalantly Huerta’s outfit appears to have been put together. I’ve said it many times before, but the essence of “coolness” is effortlessness. This look is pure “rolled out of bed and ran to get coffee” with almost comically elevated details. The outfit is a bit of a mish-mash, and it works because Sofia Huerta clearly doesn’t care if you think it does or not. She’s having fun, and her comfort and confidence pulls it off. It doesn’t hurt that the key pieces are a pair of Muay Thai shorts from Human Made (the label from Japanese fashion designer Nigo, who also started the brand Bape, and launched Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream with Pharrell Williams) and some Balenciaga Triple S sneakers. The rest of the look is finished off with simple details in a way that, while most of us don’t have and can’t afford the exact items, almost anyone could replicate — at least in spirit.

Speaking of duos, we could all do with a friend as supportive as Lauren Barnes and Kelyn Rowe. The two players crossed paths when they both were playing at UCLA, and now that they’re both playing in the Puget Sound their friendship seems to have been rekindled. Lu Barnes and a group of her fellow Reign players showed up to support Rowe at a wine tasting event he put on, and now with so many eyes on what the players wear to games they’ve both made sure to rep each other’s jerseys. Barnes was the first one to do it, pulling up to Cheney Stadium in a Kelyn Rowe Sounders Parley jersey — an almost perfect confluence of her passions: putting on for her friend and rocking a shirt made with sustainability in mind. She paired the jersey, with its shades of blue, with some ripped and incredibly light-washed jeans and a pair of white Air Force 1s. The look is simple, clean, but also fully complete with the addition of some clear framed sunglasses and what looks like a Jas It Up scrunchie.

Rowe then followed up with his own spin on the look. It’s hard to imagine the similarities beyond just wearing the other’s jersey weren’t intentional. Rowe wore a pair of similarly ripped, light/acid-washed jeans — admittedly the fits of their jeans couldn’t be much less similar, but you work with what you’ve got — to go with his white Barnes Reign jersey. While Barnes went with a blue jersey and white shoes, Rowe flipped it. His white jersey and blue Converse Chuck Taylors allow the same color story to be told without the whole look having to be completely identical.

As an added bonus, we’ve got Brad Smith doing a lot. I don’t know, he clearly likes what he’s wearing, so I don’t want to rip on it, but it doesn’t really feel like it fits with his personality? Does that make sense? I’ll give him some credit for doing some fun proportion play, rocking the oversized tee with a super slim silhouette with his pants and Balenciaga sneakers.

Sounders FC Digital

Speaking of Balenciaga sneakers — I didn’t intend for that to become a theme, it just happened — the injury list has been particularly full of drip kings for the Sounders this season. Jordan Morris and Nouhou are among the players with the most distinct personal styles in the Sounders locker room, and this particular look from Nouhou might be one of my favorites from him in the entire time I’ve been writing this column. The guy loves a loud look, but he found an incredible balance with this fit. The black and white styling throughout makes the red of his Balenciaga sneakers all the more impactful, and while his shirt is just white and black the shape and movement of the text provides a graphic element that really pops while also fitting perfectly into his aesthetic. If you want that particular shirt, you can find it at Zara. The accessorizing from Nouhou is immaculate, as well. There’s probably not another player on the team who could pull off a bucket hat like this, and the watch and jewelry are excellent. I also want to note that while he and Brad Smith above are doing similar things with regards to shape and silhouette, it just feels more natural and effective here. I can’t really explain why, it just does.

Morris is also on the oversized shirt, slim pants wave. I personally like it, and think it works, but I get that it’s not for everyone. He’s been rocking this Fear of God Essentials polo for a minute now, and he’s not the only one in the squad who’s a fan. Fredy Montero’s got the same polo as well. JMo’s also rocking some sneakers from what seems like his favorite brand, a pair of Converse x Comme des Garçons. I appreciate him growing the facial hair out, but I personally think he should try just rocking the mustache. Think of the fear it would strike in opposing defenders!

Goalkeeper Andrew Thomas is the player walking along with Nouhou and Jordan Morris. I love the suit — the color and pattern are great, and the fit is textbook — but I’ve got some concerns with the rest of this look. First and foremost, that tie is no good. It looks like it’s been in a suitcase for months, and everything about it screams “cheap.” I want to be clear, not paying a lot for things is great, but you still want to try to find things that are well-made. The tie doesn’t fit with the rest of the outfit. To make matters worse, the knot is strangely large and askew, and the tie is tied too short; it should be at least a couple inches longer, so that the point at least touches the belt buckle. He’s also wearing square-toed dress shoes, which I had just assumed the government banned a decade ago. Thomas clearly has potential, but he might need some help to reach it.

Sounders FC Digital

Thomas could do a whole lot worse when looking for a style mentor than fellow GK Spencer Richey. Richey has shown himself in a short amount of time to be low-key one of the most stylish Sounders. In this look Richey’s flaunting some incredible daddy energy; he could just as easily be making all the teachers swoon when he’s picking his kid up from preschool as heading into the stadium to serve as backup GK. This look, and Richey’s look in general, is a different iteration of Sofia Huerta’s effortlessness. Clearly thought is being put into the outfit — a shirt doesn’t magically get perfectly tucked with the sleeves rolled, buttons left undone and collar spread on its own — but it’s all put together in a way that doesn’t feel the least bit fussy. Even the way his hair and stubble are groomed suggest that, yes, he shaves and takes care of himself, but he doesn’t spend a ton of time on it. To finish the whole look off, the pants are a great fit that’s not too skinny with the definition of “no break” and he’s paired them with my favorite kind of dress shoes, the double monk-strap. Bravo.

If Richey should take Thomas under his very fashionable wing, he’d seemingly be following in the footsteps of Raúl Ruidíaz. The Sounders striker is a profoundly confident player who’s clearly comfortable in who he is as a person. It comes through in how he acts with his kids, how he dresses, and the way he’s come to be seen as something like the team dad. He has a way of accomplishing the audacious and seemingly impossible, both on and off the field. He pulls off super-skinny jeans in a way that doesn’t look strange or overly tight. He can wear sunglasses that wouldn’t look out of place in steampunk cosplay, and he makes them look cool in a way that makes you think maybe you could pull them off. This striped yellow shirt is simultaneously oversized and fitted, and nearly just as unbuttoned as it is buttoned to expertly give a glimpse of both his tattoos and his chains. He’s exquisite, and it seems like his personal style is rubbing off on the teens in the organization.

Juan Alvarez is a young kid, so it’s not any surprise that the look he put together for his first chance to pull on the Rave Green for a first-team game has some strong “touring a college campus” vibes. The overall outfit isn’t anything to set your heart aflutter, but the sneakers he pulled out are, quite literally, fire (red). This pair of Air Jordan 4s probably immediately propel Alvarez into consideration for the best shoe game in the club.

Alex Villanueva and Obed Vargas both showed a sense of individuality and flash — characteristics that set them apart on the field — that we’ve rarely seen from a teenager making their first appearance at Lumen Field as part of the matchday squad. Villanueva’s black-and-white look is wonderfully accented with matching leather tones in both the backpack and dress shoes, and the pattern of his shirt is fun and bold without being overly busy. Vargas couldn’t possibly look any more like a Seattle kid, even if he’s actually from Alaska. The plaid shirt and leather loafers (they could be boat shoes, but the shape’s not quite right for that) are an iconic combo. Plenty to be proud of from both of these kids.

Danny Leyva’s been spending a lot of time with Ruidíaz, and probably the biggest sign of the impact that might be having on him is this polo. Like Nouhou’s shirt, this is also from Zara. In the past Leyva has felt a little too buttoned-up. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it’s good to see him try something a little different. I like the shirt, and I hope he keeps exploring his personal style.

Jane G. Photography

Nothing quite says “personal style” like wearing clothes that you had a hand in designing. In this picture Madison Hammond is wearing a few pieces from Nike’s N7 collection, a collection inspired by and designed to increase the visibility of Indigenous traditions. The shorts and jacket here are both from the collection, and while you can’t see them in this picture Hammond is also wearing a pair of Kyrie Low 4s that she helped design. You love to see it.

The brothers Roldan have been away for some time, with Alex representing El Salvador and Cristian repping the US at the Gold Cup, so it’s been a little while since we’ve gotten to appreciate their style sense. Before they left Alex gave us this funky number featuring matching socks and polo from Sounders minority owner Macklemore’s clothing line, Bogey Boys. The golf and lifestyle brand’s stuff is pretty fun, with most of it prominently featuring the “Dalmatian” print seen here. Fresh from his time at the Gold Cup, the younger Roldan was again in the building with what feels like a classically Alex Roldan look. I wouldn’t usually advocate for cargo pants, but he makes them work. The similarity in shape of the cargo pockets on the pants and the utility pockets on his jacket go a long way to make the look cohesive. The whole look is done in a nice, neutral pallet, with the one pop of color coming from the light blue Jordan 1s he’s rocking. It’s a lot of fun to watch him grow in confidence.

The last look from the Alex and Cristian isn’t the height of either’s style, but it’s an excellently executed matching pair of outfits. They’re wearing the same pair of Adidas, black tees, and shorts. Don’t overthink it.

There’s been a lot more great fashion and style from both teams over the last couple months that just didn’t fit, but we’ll all be back to do this again soon. I promise. For now, enjoy this collection of looks from the Reign, highlighted by some absolute fire from Tziarra King.

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