In the rather insular world of people who care a lot about sports uniforms, U.S. national soccer team jerseys tend to create quite a bit of furor. Every time a new one is rolled out, opinions fly on how said look represents not only the team, but the entire country as a sporting nation, etc. On Wednesday, Nike unveiled the new home kits for the U.S. women’s national team to be worn at this summer’s Women’s World Cup.
The uniforms feature a white base, with clean lines and a neon green sock combination that is frankly quite gorgeous. But it’s a move away from the standard red, white and blue look that mimics the U.S. flag, which has a few people rather miffed. USA Today’s Mike Foss called the look “Un-American,” showing a stunning amount of jingoism on the matter.
More importantly, the jerseys will be sold in men’s sizes, eliminating the tacitly sexist notion that equipment worn by women is not to be worn by men, lest they decide to effectively cross-dress (a term which in itself holds its own harmful stigmas). It’s another impressive mark on the record of a team that’s been pushing the envelope of progressiveness for decades.
Their new uniforms are part of that, too. Designed by Nike, the scheme is sort of a reversal of a look the team wore last World Cup in Germany. By again eschewing the colors of the flag, the USWNT continues to distinguish itself as an entity that stands out, with its own identity and agency.
“This is a huge moment for these players and for women’s sports. It was a privilege to design this uniform for the best team in the world. When creating for this amazing event so close to home, we wanted to create real impact and make sure it was built for brilliance in every way,” Martin Lotti, global creative director for Nike Soccer, said in a press release.
As for the actual apparel issue, though, there’s history. Moves away from flag-related colors are really nothing new in the soccer world, even if that concept makes waves on these shores. Germany and Argentina have been rocking the look gloriously for years. Contrary to popular belief, the colors of this country’s flag are not unique, despite many people’s unflinching exceptionalism on the matter.
A move away from the same old colors of the Star-Spangled Banner is a great move for U.S. Soccer at this point. It’s no surprise that the women are leading the charge, per usual.
Here are some more reactions.
@clintonyates @davisjsn is this a trick question?— Keith Kokinda (@KeithKokinda) April 23, 2015
@clintonyates @cboehm I'm surprised how much I came around on the red and white stripes. Distinctive, and clearly American.— Brendan Cartwright (@Brendanukkah) April 23, 2015
@clintonyates @cboehm Certainly prefer that they be identifiable as representing USA w/o seeing the crest!— S. Davis (@whiteknuckled) April 23, 2015
@clintonyates I donut care as long as they win. If the cpolor scheme improves their performance, go for it.— Styx River Gynoid (@StyxRiverGynoid) April 23, 2015