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June 11, 2010

Here in the U.S., soccer is low on the totem pole in terms of popular professional sports. However, most of us have – at one time or another – played the game whether on a rec team or a middle or high school team.

But soccer (more commonly, futbol or football) is the most popular sport in the world. And every four years, Americans who don’t normally follow the sport take interest. Kind of like the winter Olympics.

It’s World Cup time once again.

I’ve never claimed to be a soccer fan, but I do enjoy most sports. My boyfriend, however, is all about soccer – especially the World Cup. We’re even leaving vacation at 6 a.m. Saturday to make it back to Atlanta in time to watch USA vs. England at home.

So how does this relate to style?

The jersey above is the USA home jersey. It has a sash like the away jersey on the right, but it’s barely visible. In my opinion, the one on the right makes a much bolder statement, and the one above is a little weak. On first look, the away jersey might be a little goofy, but it is pretty strong as a full team.

To be honest, many of the uniforms verge on boring. Lots of solid colors with crests. There’s nothing wrong with this — they are uniforms, after all — and sometimes it’s better not to risk tackiness. I spent some time researching ESPN’s Uni Watch for the World Cup (which is where many of the photos are from). That being said, here are some that stand out.

A) Argentina has a classic look that has changed very little over time. I love the baby blue. And vertical stripes are far more slimming than horizontal — not that the futbol player need help from their clothing, but fans buying the replica jerseys might.

B) I’m a big fan of Mexico’s unis. The all-black is sharp, and it still incorporates red and green from the country’s flag.

C) When I first saw this one, I thought it was Switzerland. However, it works for Serbia and makes a strong statement, highlighting their football association crest in a classy manner. Also of note: This is Serbia’s first World Cup as a sovereign nation. So props for starting out on the right foot.

D) Love the collar and the cleanness of the design, which represents England to me. According to Uni Watch, “England’s kits are always better when they keep it simple and let history talk.” Couldn’t agree more.

A) Denmark’s design received compliments from the guys at Uni Watch as a “spiced up throwback.” It’s not terrible, but I don’t like the design. In fact, it makes me a little dizzy.

B) What are those lines for? To show where the player’s ribs are? To accentuate abs? Gills, as Kent for Uni Watch suggested?

C) I didn’t come up with the comparison to Charlie Brown, but it is uncanny. And the away option isn’t any better. Just different colors.

A) What is going on here? It looks Ninja Turtle-like to me. Or Uni Watch compared it to a tiki mug. Either way, it’s not good — doesn’t make me think of Italy or soccer. A key example of trying too hard resulting in tackiness.

B) This man is not muddy. Blue to brown gradient = terrible idea. This isn’t actually their World Cup jerseys — they were worn in a recent friendly, but this was too hideous not to share.

In addition, many of the African nations (including Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast) have shoulders that stand out. Some look cool, some don’t, but I do like the concept of the continent showing a sense of unity.

If you’re into uniform critiques, here is a blog that pays attention to attire worn in many different sports. What are your thoughts on these uniforms? How much do you think the design affects tradition, pageantry and possibly outcomes of the games?

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2010 3:37 pm

    I cannot get over that gradient uniform. Absolutely hideous. Why would anyone think that’s a good idea???

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