The United States men are getting a brand new kit to wear both in the buildup to and during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Gone are both the classy, much-loved centennial top as well as the hooped "Where's Waldo" kit that the squad wore on and off for the last two years but the good news is that the replacement look is far from ugly.
Two things are immediately clear about the new top: it's all white and it has a collar, something that the United States men have not seen on their shirts in nearly a decade. The last time that a fold-down collar took its spot on a USMNT shirt was with the (excellent) 2006 third kit. Prior to that, it was the 2002 home kit that carried a collar.
The neckline is completed by a pair of buttons that allow players to decide how they want to wear the top. They are reminiscent of the 2011 effort that Nike produced for France as well as Manchester United's current home shirt. The Americans will of course not be the only team with buttons at the World Cup with Germany's red-and-black away top also featuring them prominently.
While the new top is mainly white, it does carry a lot of somewhat subtle design details with it. Collar aside, the first thing that fans will notice is the red piping that runs around the bottom of the sleeves and around the outside edge of the collar. The centennial crest that adorned last season's wonderful kit is gone and has been replaced by the flying soccer ball USSF crest. The body of the shirt is comprised of a series of very thin hoops that run horizontally across the torso and sleeves.
Speaking about the new kit in the Nike press release, Martin Lotti, Creative Director for Nike Soccer said:
The new kit clearly showcases the USA's national pride and distinct sense of style, while also capturing the nation's eternal optimism.
The design largely brings back memories of the 2008-2010 USMNT top that the Americans wore in the run up to South Africa. For those that don't remember, the shirt featured alternating white and (very) light gray hoops broken up by thin red strokes. The shirt was not an instant classic when it launched in 2008 but it certainly grew on many, becoming a favorite after its time had passed.
For 2014, Nike have paired the white polo top with white shorts that carry the look through from head to toe. The red piping carries through to the shorts, running vertically down each side before joining up with a pair of mostly-white socks.
USMNT captain Clint Dempsey added:
It's always an honor to wear the colors of your country, and this summer we will be hard to miss in an all-white look. We will be traveling all over Brazil and playing in a lot of different conditions, so the innovative Nike designs will serve us well.
The technical side of the new top sees Nike bring over a number of the innovations that they introduced for Brazil's home kit with keeping cool being the name of the game. The Americans will get laser-cut side panels for added ventilation, something that has been a fixture since 2010, albeit with a re-engineered shape. The back of the shirt is made up of an engineered mesh that allows for breath-ability and partners with the Dri-FIT fabric to ensure comfort. The back of the shirt will also feature a "unique and specially designed font" for the players' names and numbers.
The women's team will, for the second time running, get the same kit as the men and to good effect. Apart from fit, the only major difference between the two is the fact that the USWNT's accomplishments are celebrated with two individual stars above the US crest.
Alex Morgan praised the look for the Women's National Team, saying:
The cut of the women's kit fits well and is comfortable, so I don't have to think about the uniform and can focus on the game at hand.
I'll admit that I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the top when I first saw it but it has grown on me in a big way. This is a good, completely inoffensive effort from Nike that opens the door for something that's a bit more "out there" for the change kit.