TORONTO - When Canada's soccer teams take the pitch, it will be almost as if they're carrying the voice of Canadians with them.
In a move meant to connect with Canada's fans and inspire its players, the national team's new Umbro kits feature a sound wave graphic of "O Canada" sewn into the shirts and shorts.
"A group of fans at a pub one day were singing the anthem at the top of their lungs and (Umbro) took a sound bite from that, what it looked like and they put it on our new kits," said Carmelina Moscato, a defender on Canada's women's team. "So our fans are kind of always with us.
"It's a bit of a motivation, inspiration-type of thing, and I think it's a brilliant idea and it allows us to connect with our fans at all times."
The graphic — it's a couple of inches long and looks like something you'd find on a heart-rate monitor or an earthquake seismograph — is embroidered inside the neckline of the shirts and on the right hip of the shorts.
"It's our song, it defines us. It is traditionally and whole-heartedly Canadian," said Gerald Woodman, president of Umbro Canada. "We thought this was a great opportunity to combine sight and sound all in one really clever story, so we created this sonic wave, their sound embedded now into the garment.
"We think it's a really clever way to stay connected, to know that their voice is really on that shirt. And when they sign 'O Canada,' they sing with a little bit more lust, a little bit more passion to inspire our team on."
Canada's new kit, unveiled Thursday night at an upscale Toronto lounge, is a major departure from the previous jerseys that featured the large flashy V across the chest.
The new kits are more classic and understated, the home jerseys in matte red with simple white piping around the neckline and sleeves, and away jerseys the reverse.
The uniforms will be available in stores Monday and are already for sale online.
"We wanted to zig when everybody thinks we're going to zag," Woodman said of the return to a more simple design. "This is a real departure, smarter, more sophisticated, more style-driven, going away from shiny polyester to more of a matte finish — a real distinct look."
Woodman said the kit met with the approval of national team players when he visited training camps for both teams late last year.
"What I like about it is the fitting, it's always been a problem in the past with my sizing, me being a small guy and me liking my fitted gear," said Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman. "But this time it fits pretty well and I'm very pleased with it and the quality of the material as well, it's very impressive."
The cotton fabric is the same found in the Umbro jerseys worn by England and Manchester City.
"The new jersey is very sophisticated and kind of a new cotton, it's something we haven't had in a jersey before with the national team," Moscato said. "I think overall we're going to look really good, and I think when you look good, you play good. So we're really excited about it."
Umbro was brought in last year as a partner through 2014, replacing Adidas.