US Soccer pays tribute to 100 years with Centennial kit

Written By:  •  Friday, March 1, 2013

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The US Soccer Federation turns 100 this year and to celebrate, have released a new kit, inspired by the earliest US teams. The jersey is white, with a large sewn crest at the player’s left chest, reminiscent of the large central patch on the 1916 team uniforms.

1916 team - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

US Soccer began in 1913, here is the 1916 team photo

The bold, thick navy V neck and thick cuffs also represented from the old squad. The remaining details are all new.

This is a design that can grow on the observer. At first very plain, there are more details than are first noticable, and with the call back to US Soccer’s past, it becomes almost impossible not to like.

chest detail - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

Note the texture detail and the stripe stitching in the patch

The shield patch is huge. But the detail and 13 stars and 13 stripes can’t help but bring out a sense of pride for the Americans who wear or see it. The jersey is, of course, lighter and wicks sweat better than anything before. Interestingly, it is made from largely recycled poly, an individual jersey can contain up to… you guessed it… 13 bottles worth.

detail - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

Details at the underarm and the tail of the shirt

Under the arms, ventilation holes allow the moisture and heat to release. At the bottom hem, one side shows blue with 13 white stars.

Stripes detail - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

Tail of the jersey stripes on one side.

At the other side, 13 stripes in red and white balance the flag inspiration.

Clint Dempsey - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

Clint Dempsey exits the tunnel, in his new duds

Unfortunately worn in an all-white kit with white shorts sporting a shield and navy number and white socks with a navy band, the team will look a bit monotone. Shame they didn’t go with the navy shorts of their forebears. Apparently the inspiration could only go so far.

Equally strangely, the women’s team has their own version, despite the women’s game only having been associated with the US federation in 1985.

Alex Morgan - Nike USA Centennial jersey kit us soccer new

Alex Morgan shows off the women’s version

This author finds it impossible to find fault with Alex Morgan when it comes to appearance, so of course, the unis look great. Notable is the inclusion of their two stars above the shield, as is the tradition to represent their two World Cup victories. Seems like a bit of a non-sequitor above a hundred-year-old shield  but when one has two Cups, they should always show them proudly.

If you like it, you can buy it today at the US Team Store

The look is clean, and honors their 100 year history (at least of the men’s team.) But the question begs to be asked;

What is US Soccer’s visual identity?



The answer is not easy. And when one looks at the uniforms worn in the team’s past it becomes absolutely impossible to answer. But the question is easy for soccer fans when asked about different countries. What is Argentina? Brazil? Hell, do you know anything about Croatia OTHER than their red checkered soccer jerseys? The Netherlands is the best example here; We all know they are orange. Always. Its not even in their flag, but they ARE orange in soccer. What is US Soccer? I mean, other than gimmicky and ever-changing?

This uniform doesn’t help resolve this question. M Willis has delved deeply into this subject and has some brilliant observations. Even better, he has a simply perfect solution, with beautiful kits that would give the US the look they need. Highly recommended.

Nike does their best work for US Soccer. I know, being damned with feint praise and all that. Nike has absolutely destroyed sports int he past with templated garbage. But this uniform is clean and solid. Normally not used to describe Nike creations. They really put good looks into their home country’s soccer team. But they really need to stop. Settle on something. Tweak it, craft it, get it perfect. They change too much for the good of the team.

But this uniform is nice. Its just not in line with giving the US a distinctive, consistent look.

How does this kit strike you? Does it look like US Soccer? Is it OK to relinquish your grasp on identity to pay tribute to teams from your past?

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JR Francis

JR Francis is an actor, writer, director, graphic designer, UX guru, father, comedian, and craft beer snob. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JRFrancisSLN*One of several full-time uniform reporters this site has including its founder, Chris Creamer, who started his site in 1997

  • Stephen


    • Andrew

      Wrong country, Stephen.

    • If I had a nickel for every damn time someone posted the “football, not soccer” thing I’d be a millionaire.
      Association football –> assoc football –> soccer. It’s a corruption/shortening of the same damn term.

    • NN

      In US is “Soccer”

  • Josh

    They look very bright. Maybe a softer white would’ve worked better.

  • Charger77

    Very simplistic, I love it.

  • Damon Selman

    Great jersey! By the way, Mr Francis, it is only fair that our killer ladies team should wear this. Not to wear this would be a crime against US soccer fans and players.

  • bill

    About that blue triangle at the bottom of the side: the photo shows only 11 stars, not 13. I like the stars and stripes shield, but the rest of the kit is boring and the blue looks black. Wake me when US Soccer goes back to wearing red white and blue and gets a good visual identity.

    • Josh

      At the bottom of this jersey the side hem triangles have 17 stripes and 11 stars…. whats up with that

  • DJ

    Equally strangely, the women’s team has their own version, despite the women only having started up as a federation in 1985.

    No, there are not two soccer federations in the US; only one. That federation sponsored its first women’s national team in 1985.

    • Well noted. I will clean up the language to be correct. Thanks.

  • Nathaniel Melvin

    They changed the pants! They’re now navy blue.

  • F19

    Love it. Perhaps add an interlocking “US” over the stripes in the crest and bring back the sash, and that should be the permanent look for US Soccer. Sash has history with many of the teams from the past, including the famous 1950 squad that defeated England in the World Cup.

    So much classier than the flying soccer ball early 90s cliché crest they still use for some reason, with the wrong colored stripes and field of stars.

    • SoccerLifer

      @F19: USA Rugby (?) actually owns the rights to the ‘All-American shield’ and any alterations to it would have to be made with their approval. As is, Nike and US Soccer are paying royalties for this look, or so the folks in Chicago say.

  • ingmar66

    Nice uniform. Much better than the headscratching, puzzling stuff adidas put together for the MLS teams this season (except for the Union’s third kit which I really like). The simplicity of this set really works. That Nike is able to mess up traditional uniforms, just take a look at the Holland away kits of the past few seasons. Yech. Even worse, the Dutch federation’s logo has been changed a few seasons ago to include the Nike logo, disguised as the tongue of the lion.
    But anyeay, this uniform is really nice. Simple does not always mean boring.

  • Nick

    Great looking.

    I’m talking about Alex Morgon, of course.

  • Steve

    I’ve just about had it with these things soccer leagues are trying to pass as “uniforms”. what a disgrace to all sports.

    • musyarofah

      and so does Walter Camp