U.S. World Cup kits miss the mark with boring white and awful tie-dye effort

A new World Championship is upon usMNT. After nearly a decade, the US will be taking part in yet another Men’s World Cup, meaning the nation is once again gearing up for the drama, intensity and, more importantly, fashion.

That’s right, a new World Cup means new World Cup kits, and the USMNT has them just like every other team in this competition. Previous efforts for the USA during the world’s biggest soccer tournament are among the best the team has ever received, such as the 2010 sash jerseys, the 2006 asymmetrical stripes and the affectionately “bomb pop” jerseys of 2014. Because a World Cup After all, a jersey isn’t just a jersey.

And so, in 2022, the Lords of Kit gave this CONCACAF conquering team… these things.

Oh boy. Let’s start with the primary kits first.

This is probably a homage to the primary kits from 2004-2005. If you don’t remember, those were the years when every country with Nike as kit supplier got the numbers with the circles around them and the thin, pinstripe-like shield framing the front of the shirt.

Puma stole this last design concept to make their own terrible kits for this World Cup, so it looks like Nike will just settle for the centralized federation crest and whatever we want to call that navy blue patch on the collar.

Overall, these kits are fine. It’s tempting to dismiss them as worse than they are, which is perfectly fine. The US rarely does anything interesting with their main jerseys anyway, and some of the most memorable of the past have been plain white shirts. Remember how much everyone loved the Centennial jerseys during 2014 World Cup qualifiers? Plain white shirt with navy blue trim and a beautiful federation crest in retrospect. That was all it really took.

These don’t draw the same amount of attention, however, and it likely has a lot to do with the centering of the new federation crest as the main design element here. It’s front and center, and it forces you to reckon with the fact that it wouldn’t look out of place paired with tapout clothing or be spotted on a hat at a Toby Keith concert. It’s not classic, and it’s not particularly bold either. Just a crest meant to appeal to most people whose imagination is the ketchup below the hot dog. If you put a crest in the middle of a jersey, it must be a great crest. And the US coat of arms is just OK.

Also, the USWNT will wear these jerseys, most likely to a more limited extent than the men, and the centralization of the federation crest has led to some…improvisations in the placement of the World Cup winners’ badge on their jerseys.

I think the greatest crime of these kits is a good analogy for this USMNT squad: They get the job done, but it feels like they can do so much more. We occasionally get a glimpse of Tim Weah charging on the touchline or Gio Reyna zooming past defenders, signs of how much fun this team can be.

In the same way, the USMNT primary jerseys can justifiably be great, and we’ve seen great US jerseys in the past, even ones that are mostly white. Kits that take a few risks and nail them create an instantly recognizable identity that’s interesting yet distinctive. In all honesty, the vibrant red and blue all-over pattern of the “Stadium Kit” worn by US teams for the past year or so comes very close to that sentiment.

This? They will be fine. And they will be better than the secondary kit.

The secondary kits look like they were dug out of the closet for a 1998 Hanson tour. They’re the child of tie-dye and stone washing that should only be available with Kohl’s Cash.

The only halfway decent argument I’ve heard for how and why these kits will be good relates to the famous 1994 World Cup denim jerseys, possibly the most American of all USMNT jerseys. They were considered ugly for a long time. The players themselves initially thought the jerseys were a joke. It wasn’t until decades later that they achieved something of a cult following, with many fans dying to get their hands on one.

And so, so the argument goes, maybe many years from now we will look back fondly on the tie-dye experiment and wish we had it back. Or maybe we’ll still hate them, as Weah and Weston Mckennie say the USMNT hates them when the secondary kits leaked online.

I can only hope that 30 years from now this particular version will only exist in thrift stores that David Lynch’s students invent as realms of purgatory from which their characters can never escape. You will lose yourself in the swirls of the pattern and be completely consumed by the depths of the design. They won’t know about Hell because they’ve experienced something far worse.

If the USMNT is eliminated in the group stage, I’ll blame this jersey. Whoever plays goalie accidentally hypnotizes themselves by staring too long or something.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-the-toe-poke/story/4747030/us-world-cup-kits-miss-the-mark-with-boring-white-and-awful-tie-dye-effort U.S. World Cup kits miss the mark with boring white and awful tie-dye effort

Emma Bowman

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