One does not simply wear the number 10.

Today is number 10 in 28 in 28. For that reason, I thought I'd have some fun and go outside of what is understood to be convention for soccer crest design. This one is called Stay Gold.

That's for a couple of reasons. First, I think "Stay Gold" is going to be something we return to several times, not just in this 28 in 28 project, but during the rest of the 2014 Columbus Crew season. More on that in the weeks and months to come.

Second, this design is based on the S.E. Hinton classic novel The Outsiders. More specifically, it's based on the cover illustration to The Outsiders that I remember reading back when I was probably around 14 years old. If you're not familiar with The Outsiders novel or the movie adaption . . . what's wrong with you? Please, go get a library card or a Netflix account or something. It'll take you about two days to read the book, or two hours to watch the movie. Go ahead. I'll wait.

For those of you who know what I'm talking about, you know that the most important line in the story is spoken to Ponyboy by Johnny Cade (played by Ralph Macchio in the film adaptation) when he says "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold." It's a reference to the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," and is crucial to the themes of perseverance and hope in the novel.

Lots of times over the years—especially since the advent of "MLS 2.0"—Columbus Crew supporters have had the feeling that our team has been treated like "Greasers"—the Outsiders of the title—by the favored "Socs" of MLS. The "rules" often seem arbitrary and weighted toward bigger, richer, more popular, more televised teams in cities of whose glittering major-league-ness we in our college town never hear the end. And of course, when we stand up for ourselves, pointing out the hypocrisies and inconsistencies, we're the troublemakers. But what we're doing is staying true to our city, staying hopeful for our Crew, keeping heart, not getting discouraged, and Staying Gold.

So, I wanted to do an image of the Crew based on The Outsiders, and, as I said before, with today being number 10 in 28 in 28, I decided to use our number 10s from the past and present in that image. Federico Higuain has changed his number from 33 to 10 for the 2014 season. He becomes the seventh player to wear that number for the Columbus Crew. Brian Maisonneuve (1996-2004) was the first. He was followed by Kyle Martino (2005-2006), Joseph Ngwenya (2006-2007), Alejandro Moreno* (2007-2009), Andres Mendoza (2010-2011), Milovan Mirosevic (2012), and now Higuain.

The number 10 traditionally signifies the top playmaker on the team. That hasn't always been the case with the Crew. Moreno and Mendoza were strikers who played with Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who was basically a number 10, but wore number 7. Mirosevic was more of a traditional number 10 than Mendoza, but the number suits Higuain probably better than any player to every wear it for the Crew. Expect him to wear it well in 2014.

For this image, I could only chose four of the Crew number 10s due to the bizarre approach I've taken for this entire design. It was hard to leave Kyle Martino out, but I'm happy with the four that I included—Maisonneuve, Moreno, Mendoza, and Higuain.

I suppose I should go ahead and say yes, I know this one is way out there. I don't recall ever seeing a soccer crest with a particular player's face on it—let alone four players' faces—and certainly not a player that's currently on the team. That would never happen. Such a thing would be outside of what's usual. I know. But it's happening here, because we're the outsiders. Stay Gold.

*Be sure to watch this video. There is much Columbus Crew goodness found within.