The good, the bad, and the “Alpine Blue” – Part 1

Out of nowhere this week I logged on to my Google Reader and saw that Dan had done a full retrospective of USA shirts – and somehow I’d missed it. Needless to say, I starred the stories as I needed time to percolate on matters of this kind of importance.

And now, having come down from the mountain, I feel I am ready to discuss this matter of gravity and import. Queue up that Adam Carolla Show (RIP) “This week in rage” music and let’s go.

Starting with the first jersey I can ever remember US players wearing, we get to the big shoulder stripe model that Adidas was handing out left and right.

Combined with the baggy jersey style of the period, this shirt tended to make our players look like a spinnaker as the ran through the air. There always seemed a lot of extra fabric billowing around and that, combined with all the early-90s hair blowing around, made for quite a sight. Honestly, I only ever seem to remember this jersey on posters made to try and hype the US team going into WC 1994 (MIKE SORBER!!!). Finally, something about the stripes on the shorts annoys me. I dunno what, but they just don’t work for me.

Also, why is everyone trying to mess around with our crest? Folks always say it doesn’t look traditional enough. So what, it’s not ugly, looks vaguely patriotic and has been around long enough that we should stick with it and actually let it become traditional rather than dumping it in order to ape someone else. But back to the shirts.

Adidas, understanding that it would be dressing the hosts of one of the most historic World Cups ever, decided to go off template when designing jerseys for the USA at the tournament itself. This gave us…
I love these shirts – both of them, even the blue one. Believe it or not, if I had to rank USA shirts in the modern era, this set would probably finish third at the lowest. I know this is heresy to the traditional US soccer fan (“But these don’t look anything like England!”) but these were genuinely creative attractive design. The faux-denim color on the blue shirt is a bit much, but the idea is great, and truly unique and patriotic. I literally cannot find any fault with the red and white shirt other than the denim-colored shorts. It’s great. If we brought it back today, I’d have zero complaints.

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3 thoughts on “The good, the bad, and the “Alpine Blue” – Part 1

  1. The thing I hated about the red and white were the “wavy” stripes. They made the jersey look to me as if my TV was going on the fritz.

  2. Hating the ’94 shirts has nothing to do with anglophilia for me, and everything to do with understanding the difference between good design and just tossing whatever they thought had recently been “hip” (psst, it was Andre Agassi) into a blender with the american flag.

    Thanks Andre.

    Bad design. Bad shirts. Wanting to be different from Europe doesn’t mean you have to produce retina-burning piles of garbage.

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