For my Marketing 301 Honors project I will be critiquing the uniforms of soccer teams. I enjoy looking at colors schemes and designs and deciding what works and what does not work as well as developing my own ideas for what might work better. This can be done for any sport at any level of competition, but, at least for now, I will be examining the uniforms of professional teams. It is important to remember that these are just my personal opinions. Some people would disagree with my stylistic choices and that’s fine. My goal is simply to provide analysis and express my own ideas. Having said that, let’s get this show on the road.
The team whose jerseys I have chosen to critique for my first submission is the United States Men’s National Team. Why this team? Two reasons: 1) of all the teams in all the sports that I love so much, this one is my favorite, and 2) their jerseys for the 2014 World Cup were disappointing at best. I won’t go as far as to say they were ugly, I just feel as though they are riddled with glaring problems and missed opportunities.
Here you can see the white, first-choice jersey, and the multi-colored, second choice jersey.
Let’s first take a look at the white jersey because I’m not even sure who should be wearing it: a professional soccer player or Bubba Watson walking up to the 18th hole at The Masters. The design is incredibly boring. While one can see that Nike was going for a sleek and classy look with the thin, horizontal lines, it comes off as lazy and resembles hardly more than a white t-shirt. Ironically, the only thing keeping that thought at bay is the collar which makes the jersey look more like a cheap polo shirt that any average golfer would wear out on the course, and less like like a soccer uniform.
Now onto the second-choice kit. While not terrible, it just opens the door for jokes.
My personal favorite:
But then again, who doesn’t love a good bomb pop?
In all seriousness, though, my biggest problem with this jersey is that it looks like we’re wearing the flag of another country. Why would we want to rep the Netherlands or France on a stage of international competition? I looked it up and this exact color scheme actually appears on the flag of a German state called Schleswig-Holstein, which might even be worse now that I think about it, but I digress. The bottom line is that I don’t want to be thinking about another country when I’m trying to watch my team play, which is why I felt the need to revamp these uniforms to give them a more American touch.
There was one driving motivation behind the design for the striped jersey. The United States has such a distinct, recognizable flag and it’s time we used that as a basis for the design of our international soccer jerseys. They’ve experimented with red and white stripes before but the design has never stuck, probably because of the manufacturer’s desire to produce different products that will force people to buy the latest model. I believe, however, that essentially wearing the flag is an excellent image and could be maintained with a few modifications. The sash, for example, is reminiscent of one of the USA’s first ever soccer jerseys, another feature that many fans like. In addition, the outlining of the stripes gives the jersey the sharp look that was originally sought after with the white jersey, and the blue in the collar and markings complements the red and white well and really pulls together the image of the flag.
Now, if you’re going to have a red and white striped jersey then it’s only logical to make the other jersey blue. The dark, grayish blue serves to differentiate us from the myriad of blue-jerseyed teams in the world and while the simplicity of the jersey may seem boring, it’s that color that really makes it pop. Additionally, there are some interesting features to note. Like the striped jersey, this one sports the sash, but in a more refined way by changing the shade of blue and outlining it in white. Also, this jersey has a raised collar which, in my opinion, makes a monochromatic jersey look better. It is important to note that there is no red in this jersey because it would create a focal point instead of complementing the jersey. By keeping it all blue, it creates the sleek look that the manufacturers tried to obtain with the white jersey.
Unfortunately, my opinion carries no weight and, as a result, there are plenty of people who would have to be persuaded to accept the uniforms I’ve proposed. To those people I would say that when evaluating a jersey, much like evaluating a player, you can’t ignore the intangibles, and you have to admit, when wearing our stripes, we’d be a nightmare to have to find in a crowd…