When designing a Team USA jersey — in any sport — there are three pretty basic things you want to avoid (aside from fishnet or LED sequins or impractical things like fur).
1) Making it look like military gear. Sorry, but as cool as camo is, we’re not winning any friends by reminding them of our recent escapades policing the universe as “the good guys.”
2) Just making it a version of the flag. Once again, totally obnoxious, ugly, unoriginal, AND a desecration of a national symbol. No eagles, either.
3) Avoiding the Harlem Globetrotters look. Similar to the second rule, with the distinction that bold vertical striping on the shorts will turn your team into the Ringling Bros. Gotta stay classy, America.
Nike managed to avoid all of these design pitfalls, which should mean the USMNT away jersey — which was released well after the home kit — was pretty cool.
Twas not so, soccer fans.
Three huge horizontal red, white, and blue bands which will be paired with red shorts. Not only does it look like a Play Skool version of the Washington Wizards road uniform, it is exactly the flag of, like, 10 countries (two of which are Russia and France, by the way). Unlike the other uni — which we like and would wear in public — the away kit has about as much subtly as a Ted Nugent album cover. What’s more, it’s MOSTLY RED. Despite being an integral part of our flag (though least represented on the freakin’ thing), red has always been our enemy color. What the hell, Nike? The Redcoats, the Soviets, the Chinese (sort of, right), the Canadians (not really), Darth Vader’s lightsaber (definitely) — we’re stunned that this is the design they went with.
Compared to the rest of the world’s apparel heading into Brazil 2014, this one’s definitely in the bottom tier of what you could call “wear-ablity rating.” Hey, this is America, you can decide for yourself if you like.
We’ll just be in the corner exercising our first amendment right to free speech, making fun of your popsicle shirt.