Tuesday, April 01, 2014

By their shirts shall ye know them. Or not.

In keeping with our national philosophy of "let's see if we can sell more of this crap..." the Nike corporation has designed a new jersey for the U.S. national soccer teams for the upcoming men's (2014) and women's (2015) world cups.

Almost every commentor on this thing has observed how it looks like a "bomb-pop", the dildo-shaped red-white-blue frozen thing you can find in most 7-Elevens and almost every ice-cream truck. And, yeah, there's something to that.

Frankly, as both a soccer fan and a U.S. soccer fan the whole business leaves me vastly "meh". It's not a bad kit. It's not a classic one, either.

And - bomb-pop or no - it's far from the worst thing the U.S. National Team has ever ran out wearing.

Anyone remember the infamous "denim stars" shirt from 1994?

Yeah. That shirt.

To me the way the jersey looks isn't such of a muchness as it is that the damn jersey has never looked the same way twice.

Soccer.com has a nice review of how the U.S. men's team has looked since 1994 here. Check it out. Some variation of red, white, or blue or a combination of the three, but always a different combination. Stripes. Hoops. Solid red, solid white, solid blue, sashes, bands, cutouts, panels.

Now the bomb-pop.

I tried to find the article where a much better soccer writer complained that the problem was that nobody could recognize a U.S. national shirt if you soaked it and whopped them over the head with it. As opposed to pretty much the rest of the soccer world.

Argentina is light-blue-and-white stripes. England red. Holland orange. Germany white. Italy blue, and France a darker blue. Brazil yellow. Mexico green. There are variations, of course - none of those federations are immune to the "let's see if we can sell more of this crap..." - but every nation has a basic shirt color and design that is nearly instantly recognizable in its basic form.
I can recognize a Mexico "El Tri" jersey from across the length of the pitch and know something about the wearer. Same-same with Spain's dark red, or Sweden's blue-and-yellow.

The U.S. jersey? Tell me again...what color are we this week?

So I'll be rooting for the bomb-pop this summer; it's our national team and I support them whatever colors they wear.

But in the back of my mind I'll be wondering what color that will be next time.

1 comment:

Big Daddy said...

I guess there is something to be said for the solid red design from the late 90s which is the only US soccer jersey I have at least it was clearly football kit and not re-purposed track & field or tennis wear. Then again I'm probably the only guy in the Portland metro area with a Newcastle United jersey that isn't black & white stripes.