Atlanta United’s third kit celebrates city’s growth in 1990s

Documentary film about Atlanta in the 1990s also debuts Thursday
Detail elements of the 404 kit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Ga., on Wednesday August 9, 2023. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Detail elements of the 404 kit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Ga., on Wednesday August 9, 2023. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United’s new “404 Kit”, which supporters who ordered one will begin to pick up Tuesday, pays homage to the city’s growth during the 1990s when the Olympics and rap music helped it became known globally.

The kit, more than a year in the making, has a base of black with ATL in graffiti-like lettering above the sponsor’s log in blue and UTD below the logo in green. The kit was the product of a collaboration with the club, the brand Atlanta Influences Everything, and Adidas. A 30-minute documentary, produced and directed by the club, will also debut on the team’s YouTube channel Thursday that tells the story of the growth of Atlanta in the 1990s.

“Third kits are supposed to be a little bit out there, are supposed to be a story about your club, about your city,” Atlanta United VP of Business Operations Georgia O’Donoghue said. “And this is so true to who our city is, everything that happened in the 1990s.

“It’s Freaknik. It’s the music, it’s the Olympics, the Braves, the Falcons, all those moments and trying to celebrate them and talk about how it moved Atlanta from a small little town in the Southeast to a global city.”

The kits were supposed to debut this week. Instead, members of famed Atlanta musical group Goodie Mob wore them on stage two weeks ago during a performance. Though the premature debut wasn’t intended, it seemed to also reflect the purpose of the kit. Rap music. Concerts. Celebrations.

The process of designing the kit was long.

Adidas typically requires teams to sell a certain number of kits over a two-year period before it allows them to have a third kit during a season. The German-based company tried a new approach 18 months ago and asked several clubs what stories might want to tell if they were to have a third kit. Atlanta United, which also had a third kit during the 2021 season, was among them.

The club wanted something to reflect how the city grew during the 1990s, how it became a progressive and unifying space that set the stage for many things, including Atlanta United, to eventually be founded.

The club reached out to Atlanta Influences Everything, which also has been trying to tell the city’s story.

Part of the design process includes creating a “mood board” and story to help Adidas with the design process.

Adidas latched quickly onto the story Atlanta United wanted to tell with Freaknik, the Olympics, the Braves.

“They came back and said we know exactly what to do,” O’Donoghue said.

Adidas developed an iteration of the kit, which goes through editing. Clubs can get as many as two iterations.

The final kit was decided a year ago.

In addition to the graffiti-like lettering on the front, it features white stripes on the shoulders and white lettering and numbers on the back. There is a necktag inside the collar featuring a small piece of art of three people in a car and another tag on the back of the collar featuring Atlanta Influences Everything.

The kit will be worn four times during the final nine games this season. The team will wear it for the first time Sunday against Nashville. The match may also feature a special halftime event honoring Atlanta in the 1990s. The other matches in which the team is scheduled to wear the “404″ kit are Aug. 30 against Cincinnati, Sept. 20 at D.C. United and Sept. 23 vs. Montreal.

Production of the documentary started in April and will feature interviews with several people who helped make Atlanta famous during the 1990s.

Scenes from the 404 Kit shoot in Atlanta, Ga. on Saturday, July 22, 2023. (Photo by Diwang Valdez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Diwang Valdez/Atlanta United

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Credit: Diwang Valdez/Atlanta United

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1

May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0

May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3

May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3

June 7 Atlanta United 0, LAFC 0

June 10 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 1

June 21 Atlanta United 2, New York City 2

June 24 New York Red Bulls 4, Atlanta United 0

July 2 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 0

July 8 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

July 12 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

July 15 Orlando City 2, Atlanta United 1

July 25 Miami 4, Atlanta United 0 in Leagues Cup

July 29 Cruz Azul 1 (5), Atlanta United (4) 1 in Leagues Cup

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 5 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA