With Jersey Week in full swing here at SB Nation, it’s time to clear out the ugly from the closet. Routinely, fans of the United States men’s and women’s national teams will gather around to debate which look is the best in program history, which should stand as our identity, and other looks that rank among our favorites. However, it’s time that we discuss some of the worst that U.S. Soccer has had to offer. While there have been some beautiful jerseys, there have been some terrible ones too. Let’s examine some of the worst that we’ve seen from U.S. Soccer
The Cop jerseys. That’s how these jerseys were referred to when they were released in 2016 just before the 2016 Copa América Centenario. A black jersey with one red sleeve and one royal blue sleeve, both with mini black stripes through them, is one that was universally panned by soccer fans. In the quest of many for U.S. Soccer to stick with a theme of the American flag colors (red, white, and navy), black, red, and royal blue just wasn’t hitting with many people. These were shelved after 2016.
2014 Home (The “Polos”)
We took the Polos to the 2014 World Cup. The idea was for us to dress to go to work in an all-white kit with royal and red trim. However, we saw more of these jerseys worn by fans as actual polo shirts in the office than we did in the stands. They were too plain, and fans really didn’t care for them. When given the choice between the Polos and the Bomb Pop jerseys that were our away jersey at the time, many people opted to leave these on the shelves. It got so bad that you could get a polo jersey for under $30 before the 2014 World Cup, even though they were introduced earlier that year.
2008 Away (The “Anthracite”)
U.S. Soccer really tried it when they came out with an all-charcoal look in 2008. “They’re not gray, they’re anthracite,” Nike would repeatedly say. Well, the Anthracites were a forgotten jersey among diehard fans, and for good reason. When you watched matches on TV where they played, you couldn’t see them. They were just dark blurs on your television screen, even in the era of HD. And they have remained blurs in the memories of American soccer fans.
Back in the 90s, everything had to be either teal or light blue. So, U.S. Soccer attempted to fit in with a 3rd jersey that took their 1995 template and made it mostly light blue. Nope, no thank you. Most fans opted to go with either the home or away (which were white and navy) instead of spending their hard earned money on this travesty.
I’ll cut U.S. Soccer some slack here. In 1990, we went to the World Cup for the first time in 40 years, so they were probably worried about playing well on the field way more than looking good. While we didn’t play well in that tournament, we also didn’t look good whenever we wore this attempt at a jersey. This was when we were with Adidas (which was the case until after the 1994 World Cup), so Adidas probably didn’t recognize the potential. They would eventually put their focus on the USMNT and USWNT, but it was too late for 1990.
Remember when we replaced the 2016 Cop jerseys because they were so bad? Well, we replaced them with this 3rd, which wasn’t much better. Fans love red jerseys, but red with black trim just was a head scratcher for a fanbase that already decided overwhelmingly that it didn’t like black on the national team uniforms. We wore these regularly throughout World Cup qualifying in 2017, which as Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm famously said in Jurassic Park:
Now, it’s your turn. Do any of these jerseys make your Worst of All Time list for U.S. Soccer? Is there another one that carries the torch? Hit the comments and discuss!