"Just do it"
It has finally happened; after years of poor design I'm done defending Nike. I stuck up for them when they developed the U.S. Women's Kit for the 2015 Women's World Cup because I thought it was neat and different because it consisted of black and green, but this is where I draw the line. Nike has come up with cool uniforms throughout the years for some of the biggest clubs around the world. One could reference FC Barcelona, PSG, and Manchester City to see exactly what Nike is capable of.
The atrocity they released for the United States Men's and Women's teams is just flat out embarrassing. It didn't strike me that the creativity was lacking until I saw the following image on the UK Bleacher Report Twitter feed:
Having attended the first match that Paris Saint-Germain debuted their away kits, I knew something looked immediately familiar when I saw the new U.S. kits...it's the exact same shade of RED. Come on Nike, you have to do better. I can't tell if Carli Lloyd is representing the United States, Portugal or playing for PSG. Just when you thought it couldn't get anymore interesting, the jersey even encroaches on the design worn by Great Britain in the 2016 European Championship.
This is how I imagine the conversation going down at Nike Headquarters:
Employee: Ok boss, it's time to design a new kit for the United States national soccer teams this year. What should we go with?
Boss: Surveys show athletes gain a mental edge when they wear red
Employee: But, we have done three kits in a shade of red already.
Boss: Yes! But do you hear anyone complaining?
Employee: Well no, but I have some great designs for you to look at
Boss: (still going off on a tangent) You know I'm really mad that Great Britain didn't do so well in the Euros. OH! Carli Lloyd signed for Man City today! Let's just make the U.S. kits look like Britain's no one will notice. Just do it!
Of course I am being facetious, but still the campaign that U.S. soccer is doing hurts to watch. With great companies like Adidas, Puma and Under Armour; Nike is going to have to step up their act considerably when it comes to jersey designs. Soccer fans are rabid and passionate, they will spend money on things that are comfortable and look good. You can't keep sending out the same design and try to fit a square peg into a round hole. It just won't work.
Time will tell if the jerseys will be worthwhile, and if U.S. Soccer fans will bite. U.S. Soccer star Allie Long held a Facebook live session where fans, including myself were able to ask questions. Long said that she really liked the jersey and feels that it will set the U.S. apart at the upcoming SheBelieves cup that will be taking place in March. When will you be getting your jersey? Will you be #RedToToe?