“It’s so important for us to get the Indigenous community involved in what we’re trying to build. This jersey helps in that.”

Valour FC has consistently scored with its kit collection since its inception in 2019 and has found the back of the net again with its 2024 uniforms.

The Canadian Premier League club held its kit reveal event at Trans Canada Brewery Thursday night and the two jerseys offer a salute to Winnipeg’s professional soccer history as well as honouring the rich Indigenous cultures of Manitoba in the Anishinaabe, Cree, Anisininew, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Deene, Inuit and Red River Métis people.

The primary white kit features two maroon stripes across the chest along with the current Valour FC badge and pays homage to Winnipeg’s first professional soccer club, the Fury, who played in the Canadian Soccer League from 1987-93, winning the league title in 1992 with a massive upset of the four-time defending champion Vancouver 86ers. That ’92 team has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and was represented at the event by former Fury captain Tony Nocita, teammate Constantine Ignat and Ralph Cantafio, an absolute soccer icon in this town.

“They’re phenomenal,” said Nocita of the Fury-themed kits. “I thought I had a game later on and had to be ready to put it on. It brought me back. It was so close to the real thing, and it brought back a lot of memories. I just pictured myself wearing the jersey and it brought me back instantly.”

The Fury, FYI, will be honoured at Valour’s June 9th home date against Atlético Ottawa and Nocita said a number of his former mates, many of them in Europe, are hoping to make it back to Winnipeg for the event.

“We put our best foot forward back then and did the best we could,” he said. “To see it recognized more than 20 years later after all the things we went through as a club… it’s just so great to be recognized by the next generation of a professional team in the city. I hope they realize the shoulders of the players who represented the city before them because we left a pretty good legacy.”

Valour FC’s maroon, it should be noted, was originally inspired by the Fury and is a tribute to the story of three soldiers from Winnipeg’s Valour Road – Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall and Lieutenant Robert Shankland – who were all awarded the Victoria Cross for their heroism during World War I.

The secondary kit is without question the most-unique and colourful look in Valour’s six-year history. The brainchild of Winnipeg Football Club graphic designer Amanda McWha and with input from the organization’s Director of Indigenous Relations Niigaan Sinclair, the black jersey is dominated by a sunflower at its the centre, with the Prairie Crocus featured on the kit’s four corners. Featured throughout the jersey are patterns and lines which recognize ‘the dynamic and deep contributions to art, science, and knowledge by the first peoples to our home province.’

“I love it,” said Valour veteran midfielder Raphael Ohin. “As soon as I saw it, I recognized the Indigenous themes. My girlfriend’s background is Indigenous. I had seen it earlier and told her, ‘As soon as you see it, you’re going to love it.’ When I showed her a pic her first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, this is lovely.’

“It’s so important for us to get the Indigenous community involved in what we’re trying to build. This jersey helps in that.”