The U.S. men’s soccer team has come a long way since the early ’90s. Its players play for teams like Everton and Roma; no more scraping together a squad from indoor soccer teams with active verb mascots (Chicago Sting, Sacramento Sneeze, etc.). Major networks pay big money for its games, which no longer appear on TNT in between “F Troop” reruns and Ted Turner’s niece’s ballet recital. But one thing still lingers from that era: its crest. Our confusing, uninspired, culled-from-clip-art-from-Windows 3.0 U.S. Soccer Crest.
The crest stinks. It’s like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies: It confuses and over-explains at the same time. The worst part is that cheesy, flying soccer ball that belongs on the cartridge for Tecmo World Cup. We get it: a soccer ball because it’s a soccer team. Clever. And it’s flying — someone done booted it awful hard! It’s flying so fast that it italicized the “U” and the “S”! These are the main design elements of the crest for U.S. Soccer: a “U”, an “S”, and a soccer ball. Is it too subtle? Maybe it should say, “This is a crest for U.S. Soccer.” Or maybe, “You are currently looking at a crest for U.S. Soccer, which is a soccer team that plays soccer in the U.S.”
The rest of the design is confusing. Blue stripes, blue and white stars on a red field … what? Was the designer color blind, or is this some kind of anarchist anti-flag protest? Why three stars … what could that possibly represent? The three branches of government? The three games we can usually expect to play at the World Cup? (If so: harsh.) The only part of the design I like are the 11 vertical stripes; I’m tired of recognizing Delaware and New Hampshire.
It’s time for a new crest. Here’s how you do it: Gather the Nike design team that made the University of Oregon’s football uniforms. Lock them in a room, don’t let them out. Next, work with the rest of Nike’s staff to make a crest befitting a team that has qualified for seven consecutive World Cups. The crest should be powerful, patriotic, and generally intimidating. Maybe use a bald eagle. Or a buffalo. Or a grizzly bear driving a Pontiac Firebird. There are any number of ways you could go. Here’s my submission.
To be clear: I don’t have any strong opinions about what the new crest should be. I’ve learned from the Republican party that you can vehemently oppose something without having any ideas about what might be better. There’s a petition to keep the “centennial crest”. Sounds good to me. In fact, I’ve created my own petition. It reads:
US Soccer: change our crest to something that doesn’t look like it was made with an early ’90s edition of MS Paint.
I encourage you to sign my petition, or sign the centennial crest petition, or write to U.S. Soccer, or stange some kind of waste-of-time performance art protest if you’re that kind of person. We can take part in the great soccer tradition of forcing changes through noise and belligerence. The national team has moved forward from the days of denim jerseys and grunge goatees; it’s time for our crest to move forward, too.