If US Soccer’s new crest was a badly-kept secret, then the new shirts were probably an even worse-kept secret. However, the secret is officially out now, as US Soccer has now unveiled their new kits for 2016 and beyond. For better or worse, the designs that we’ve seen leak out for the past few weeks have officially been confirmed.
The home kit is mostly white from head to toe, with red stripes and blue sleeves breaking up the mass of white in the kit. There was no mention of the small blue-and-white stripes on the sleeves giving off a denim effect in tribute to those funky kits from the 1994 World Cup, so this is probably just a small coincidence.
On the actual shirts that the players are going to wear, there’s actually a detail on the cuffs of the sleeves: The phrase “1 Nation” and “1 Team” adorn the cuffs, and this was done to make the shirts feel as patriotic as possible. Vice President of Nike Football apparel Scott Munson explained as much to Sports Illustrated.
“It is always non-negotiable that the home should be undeniable American with a strong patriotic read,” Munson says. “It will be there with all the right balances of color and aesthetic. The away frees us up to maybe push it. We wanted to do it unexpectedly patriotic, to be strong, bold and confident just like we want the players to feel when they pull it on.”
Nike and US Soccer have always tended to push the envelope a bit with their away kits, and this one is no different. The away kit is black from head-to-toe, with the breaks in black coming in the form of alternating red-and-blue sleeves. Again, Nike felt like outfitting the US Soccer teams in black would be “bold,” and it must be working because it’s definitely been a hot topic since the leak. Here’s more from Munson:
Nike—which brings about four designs to the players and federation for a “gut check” before settling on final iterations—felt black was the boldest representation for the pitch.
“When we looked at black and started to play black off the red and blue, that is a super strong statement,” Munson says. “We felt like the U.S. is ready for that. When you look at the balance of the two (kits), it is extremely patriotic and fresh and unexpected and really prideful.”
I’m still not thrilled with the US going with black, and the alternating color sleeves are even weirder. It’s a bit of a muddled kit in my mind, and it’s not one of Nike’s stronger efforts in my view.
If you want to take a look at all of the Nike kits that have been unveiled for international teams in 2016, then click here. You’ll notice that Nike is going with a very template-y look with most of the national teams this season, and the design for the Turkish National Team is pretty easily the most interesting thing that’s going on here. Other than that, I’m not particularly thrilled with most of these designs, and that goes doubly for what US Soccer will be wearing this year.
What do you think of the new kits now that you’ve seen what appears to be the final product from Nike and the US Soccer Federation?