Commentary

U.S. World Cup jerseys spark outrage: 'Hideous,' 'Awful.' But will the views last?

Early on Thursday, U.S. Soccer and Nike released the jerseys the men's national team will be wearing at the World Cup, which kicks off Nov. 20 in Qatar.

Last month's leaks of the shirts — in particular, the home jersey — were met — not for the first time, it should be said — with highly unfavorable reviews on social media, where there is a strong anti-federation element.

Players chimed in with their own views.

• Weston McKennie wrote: "Tried to tell them."

• Tim Weah added: "We're just as angry as y'all!!!"

Yunus Musah, one of the four teenagers (!) on the national team, was the only player asked directly for his opinion of the jerseys before their release.

“I rate it in the middle,” Musah said during a media call ESPN organized to promote its LaLiga coverage in late August, preferring to avoid giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

The views did not change when the jersey release finally took place:

• USA Today's For the Win: "U.S. Soccer finally unveiled the hideous USMNT World Cup kits and fans were not happy at all."

• Independent: "People hate the new World Cup jerseys Nike designed for US Soccer: ‘Worst kit I have ever seen."

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

The home jersey is white with red and blue stripes on each sleeve similar to what you might see in an American football jersey. The away uniform is a blue and dark blue tie-dye shirt. A big U.S. Soccer crest -- as big as FIFA regulations allow -- appears in the center of both jerseys.

Nike referred to elements from other American sports it incorporated in the design of the home jersey: "Bold stripes, an enlarged center crest akin to basketball jerseys, double Swooshes on the sleeves reminiscent of those used on American football jerseys, the unique shoulder and sleeve cut-and-sew construction and pattern of a hockey jersey, and timeless block lettering.”



Other U.S. jerseys in the past were met with outrage. One of the jerseys for the USA-hosted 1994 World Cup was a denim kit. In 2014, one version was what became known as the Bomb Pop look.

One of the criticisms with U.S. jerseys is that there is no consistency or no classic look, like you might find with the jerseys of a team like Argentina, Croatia, France or the Netherlands.

U.S. jerseys have emphasized red, white or blue, the three colors of the American flag, or some combination. Their colors have been a matter of debate for decades.

When the USA went to Italia '90, appearing in the World Cup finals for the first time in 40 years, the primary colors were white and blue, the absence of red seeming to confirm the famous story that then-U.S. Soccer president Werner Fricker, who was born in an ethnic German section of Yugoslavia and fled Communist forces to Austria near the end of World War II, would not let the national team wear red because of his anti-communist views.

“People who want to embarrass me spread that story to the media," he told the Los Angeles Times at the sendoff party for the 1990 team. "I have a pair of shorts that I wear around the pool that are red with white stripes.”

Fricker said he liked the uniform color be all white or all blue or all red "because it makes the players’ numbers easier to identify." His preference? "All white because we play a lot of games in warm and humid conditions, and white is better for the players."

The USA wore adidas-designed uniforms at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups before switching to Nike as its uniform manufacturer.

Aaron Barnett, Nike's senior product director, global football apparel, has been with the company since February 1996 and seen how the U.S. World Cup jerseys have elicit responses since the 1998 World Cup in France.

“We’ve been doing products for multiple sports, not just soccer," he told the Associated Press. "And so we’re going to have some athletes that are super-excited about it and some they’re not excited about. And that’s just the balance that you always have in the process.”

He has also seen how views changed.

"People always hate the new jerseys at first," Barnett told Fox Sports at the media viewing held in New York. "Then your team wins its first game, and it’s the best jersey they’ve ever had."

31 comments about "U.S. World Cup jerseys spark outrage: 'Hideous,' 'Awful.' But will the views last?".
  1. Santiago 1314, September 15, 2022 at 10:31 p.m.

    Nike Sucks .. they Pay a Guy MILLIONS to Denegrate The US Flag by Kneeling and attacking Betsy Ross... JUST DON'T DO IT... DON'T BUY IT, DON'T WEAR IT.!!!

  2. Wooden Ships replied, September 16, 2022 at 1:54 p.m.

    Yep. But, USSF is sympatico. 

  3. Robby Conn replied, September 16, 2022 at 3:53 p.m.

    Thank you, Santiago.  I completely agree with you.  I stopped wearly Nike because of the exact event you described which was in total disrespect of our great United States.  The USA will never be a perfect country, but it is most-likely the world's best country, and we seek to improve year by year. . . . When Nike sought to make money by amplifying its disrespect for the United States, I had no choice but to stop wearing the Nike shirts being made for the college soccer team where I played.  Nike should not even be considered as a representative of the United States with respect to providing national team jerseys and/or equipment.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, September 16, 2022 at 9:31 p.m.

    All my Nike Stuff is IN Boxes IN Storage... Hopefully they will Wise Up and I will be able to wear it again

  5. Santiago 1314, September 15, 2022 at 10:45 p.m.

    1. It's "Plain Jane" Typical Blase NIKE
    2. The "Shield" "Crest" "Patch" is Supposed to be OVER THE HEART

    3. The Crest is High Up IN THE MIDDLE of the Chest/Neck..WTF.!?!?
    SO, When Pepi Scores versus England and Goes to "Kiss The Crest" ... He Won't be able to get his Lips Down under his Chin, He'll have to take Off his Shirt to Kiss the Patch, thereby getting a Yellow Card.!!!
    4. It Shows that our Sponsor and the USSF has already ADMITTED we are NOT Going to Win this World Cup.!?!?!?... (Why you say.???)
    **The Winning Team of FIFA Competitions gets to Wear a GOLD FIFA PATCH on their Shirt, RIGHT in the Middle of the Chest...
    These Shirts have a "Shelf Life" of 2 Years... The USA patch is In The Middle.!!!

  6. Kerry Solomon replied, September 20, 2022 at 9:28 a.m.

    Pepi won't be kissing the crest.  I hope I'm wrong but he's not that good.

  7. Santiago 1314, September 15, 2022 at 11:36 p.m.

    It's kind of a Cliche... But it's Something like:
    "When you Put on that Shirt, you have to be Earn it, thru Blood, Sweat, and Tears"... 
    So, you take a Bunch of u23s, Get them into Their First World Cup and then "Bum Them Out" with a "Debbie Downer" Uniform that THEY DON'T Like.!!!
    WTF are these Morons at USSF and Nike Thinking.!?!?!?

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, September 16, 2022 at 1:04 p.m.

    Or to Quote David Beckham as he was Standing 13 Hours in the queue, to pay his Respects to the Queen...
    "Every time we stood there and we wore those Three Lions shirts and I had my armband and we sang 'God Save Our Queen,' that was something that meant so much to us and every time that we did it, it was something special." 
    Wonder if our guys Gonna Feel the Same.!?!?!?

  9. Santiago 1314, September 15, 2022 at 11:39 p.m.

    Why didn't they put the Patch on the Pants right in the Middle, Right over the P e n h i s.??? 

    That would sell Millions.!!!!

  10. frank schoon, September 16, 2022 at 9:57 a.m.

    Look at these shorts, look at how they fit Dest's legs. I hate these shorts ,they are like stove pipe, no room ,tight , looks like if you lift your leg up too high or stretch the legs to a certain point , the crotch will tear...

    I have  not been a fan of these types of long shorts since Juventus introduced them,  as a new style in the late 80's. Up until that time I loved the cut of the adidas shorts which had lots of room for the legs and make those nice 'perfect legs structured legs like my own,  :) make the chicks get excited. Look at the 'WC'74 adidas style  shorts were the most popular, it  makes you like a soccer player.

    Even  in the late 90's when everyone thought it was cool to wear those long shorts , I will still wearing my '70/80's style adidas shorts. I got laughed at ,but that's ok. Each year when I visited Hennie Cruyff in Holland , Johan's brother, and go in the back of his store and go through his old stock of shorts which he couldn't sell any longer to find some 70/80's adidas shorts...After running out, I would go to the tailor and have shorts made of the old pattern adidas...

    I can live with the new white USA shirt but the socks need to be white also, no dark or colored socks. White socks makes you look faster.
    The blue kit is awful, but at least it is better then previous dark red kit......

  11. Gordon Holt replied, September 16, 2022 at 12:39 p.m.

    Shoon, you've at last written something I agree with. Next step: Retire Nike. 

  12. humble 1, September 16, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

    Calm down.  Ugly is the word for this coming WC. Look at the ghastly Puma jersies, they also have crest in the middle.  Wrong time of year.  Wrong place for many, pretty well documented why, that was
    pretty ugly but did not stop FIFA.  Kinda
    like the Olympics, money runs it, corporations have most of the money, and the corps with the most are the state run enterprises selling black gold.  Take it for what it is, b*st*rdized WC, off season, off on many other fronts, but still, entertainment. 

  13. Ross Stewart, September 16, 2022 at 10:55 a.m.

    Will the hate really last? - the Nike literal senior product director says and all the soccer blogs willfully re-print for them as if the overwhelming consensus from plugged-in soccer fans in this country has not been completely united in their distaste in these awful jerseys has been some sort of miscalculation. yeah, bro, your market research from 1996 is totally useful here and i'm sure all these opinions will change.
    not to mention the FIFA patch on the USWNT jerseys is an total disgrace and shows how they didn't even consider the WNT in these designs. but keep printing their product directors uncontested little defenses instead of asking them if they did consider such things. top content. 

  14. Anthony Petgrave, September 16, 2022 at 10:59 a.m.

    ...I dont see the issue. Wolverhampton Wonderers has been wearing the same kit this season, to my eye....(sarcasm)

  15. Anthony Petgrave replied, September 16, 2022 at 12:15 p.m.

    https://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2022/9/15/23354678/world-cup-kits-2022-uniforms-best-and-worst

  16. Kent James replied, September 16, 2022 at 2:13 p.m.

    Thanks for the link.  Nice to see all of the uniforms.

  17. Vic Flegel, September 16, 2022 at 11:18 a.m.

    Best outfits in years!

  18. Kevin Leahy, September 16, 2022 at 11:29 a.m.

    Kind of prefer the simple styling

  19. Kevin Sims, September 16, 2022 at 12:01 p.m.

    Plenty of substantive concerns surround the World Cup in Qatar. This ain't one! Will proudly wear my USA gear. 

  20. Alan Goldstein, September 16, 2022 at 12:48 p.m.

    1) the views are correct, these uniforms suck. Especially dark socks with all white shirt and shorts 2) why not a USA design that becomes a tradition? Because new versions of the same basic idea won't sell? BS. Other nations and clubs have traditional looks with tweaks each year and the new versions sell like crazy anyway. The advantages of an identifying look are many. 3) Nike needs to get better or the USSF needs to get off its ass and look for someone else. 

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, September 16, 2022 at 1:14 p.m.

    SHIRT; Red and White Hoops,(13 of them)..with Blue Arms( with White Stars in the Blue)
    SHORTS; Blue... With Red, white Trim..
    SOCKS; Red/White Hoops with Blue Top(with white Stars in the Blue)

    Took me about 30 seconds to Visualize that !!!!

  22. Jim Paglia, September 16, 2022 at 1:11 p.m.

    I imagine the creative team at Nike sat around saying "Since every respectable and attractive design in the world seems to be taken, we're left to do pre-school worthy scribbling by splashing paint on fabric as a design for the U.S. jersey." The people behind this at Nike and U.S. Soccer should be ashamed of the mockery they bring to the National Team. 

  23. Kent James, September 16, 2022 at 2:24 p.m.

    This is a tempest in the teapot, the uniforms are fine.  Not exactly how I'd design them, but not hideous.  And of course, what matters more is who's wearing them and how they play; they go far, people will love the uniforms.

    It's a fair debate as to whether the US should establish a traditional look (like Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil etc).  If it were the right look, I'd be in favor of it.  I tend to prefer solid colors (not a fan of all the prints).  I do like having dark socks (or shorts) with the white uniforms; for me, all white looks good, but only on Santos (and maybe Real Madrid).  

  24. Billy Logan, September 16, 2022 at 6:10 p.m.

    A white jersey and shorts over dark socks always looks like a businessman in a wool suit saw a pickup game and jumped in after taking off his jacket and wool trousers to play inhis underwear.

    I'm agreeing with Frank up there :-)

    Now I want the statisticians to run a risk/reward analysis of the weak-side backstop: a player out on the left, facing the play, everybody in front of him or her, when, for example, your team has a corner from the right corner.

  25. Santiago 1314 replied, September 16, 2022 at 9:33 p.m.

    Perimeter player on the 18 is what I think you are Describing.???

  26. Billy Logan replied, September 17, 2022 at 3:03 a.m.

    Santiago 1314 - Yes "Perimeter player on the 18" sounds close to describing what I'm talking about. I'm thinking that a player fairly close to the touchline WAY on the other side of the pitch from where the ball is MIGHT end up getting the ball more often than is imagined.

    Yes, that player woud be out of position for defending in case of a turnover; that's the risk/

    the /reward could happen whenever there's 1) a completely overhit cross 2) or the ball glances off crossbar 3) or the goalie's punch loops over to the flank 4) imperfect header by your team 5) imperfect header by a defender 6) the ball pinballs around and rolls out wide

    This backstopping player would keep the play and the ball in front of him. If your right winger is dribbling and making good progress a teammate on the opposite side of the field would be thinking "I'll go be the backstop" anticipating the cross.

    I never see anybody backstopping, but I do see players scurrying out from the penalty area trying to catch up with a ball heading into touch, and their momentum and vision direction is all wrong.

    Backstopper OTOH would be stepping towards the ball and have perfect vision of the penalty area.

    And they could be wearing a snappy outfit or a weird one :-) Portugal and Spain have good uni's.


  27. Wooden Ships replied, September 17, 2022 at 6:12 p.m.

    That's always the way it's suppose to be Billy, why it's not is one of the reasons are scoring is anemic. Vines knows how. 

  28. Billy Logan, September 16, 2022 at 6:25 p.m.

    btw If your team has dull, no flair uniforms, like washed-out Navy blue that isn't very blue anymore? Get 20 white wristbands and 20 white ankle bands. Then call yourselves the Bloomington Blur. Mesmerize your opponents :-)

    Did USA consider THAT for WC '22?????

  29. James Madison, September 16, 2022 at 7:25 p.m.

    The home whiites are OK.  The away darks are a mess.  In either event, why not put the crest over the heart where it belongs!!

  30. Bill Smith, September 16, 2022 at 10:19 p.m.

    The US MNT has five World Cup Finals wins in my lifetime.  We win a game in one of these and I am buying it that same day, so in that respect Barnett of Nike is correct.

  31. Marshall Mac Euen, September 16, 2022 at 10:59 p.m.

    Al least at long last they dropped the Cuban star and stripes. That bugged me for years.

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