As there is little media crossover between the golf and soccer worlds, allow me to relate one such news nugget re. the sartorial tempest now brewing over what the U.S. soccer team will be wearing when they take the field at June’s World Cup, in Brazil.
See above. Apparently this is the new U.S. Men’s National Team home jersey for the upcoming tournament, soccer’s quadrennial world championship. Notice anything familiar about it? Yep, it looks remarkably like a golf shirt — and early returns from soccernistas the world over have not been positive. See here some of the chatter the new shirt has generated online.
One could reasonably argue as to why anyone should care. But considering the blockbuster sales opportunities represented by futbol jerseys, here and abroad, it was an odd choice by U.S. Soccer and its official outfitter, Nike. There are undeniable similarities between traditional soccer jerseys and modern day golf shirts, namely the collar and button-style placket. But it’s odd that U.S. Soccer and Nike would appear to have missed the mark by two years — this looks like something Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson would wear to Brazil in 2016, when golf makes it return as a bona fide Olympic event.
Maybe you’re like me, in that you’re a bit sensitive about golf’s less-than-stellar track record in the duds department. We’ve made some admirable progress in this regard, I think, as it wasn’t that long ago that outsiders considered golf a game for rich white guys in bad pants. It’s unfortunate enough that a) the good folks at Loud Mouth are trying to bring back utterly ridiculous trousers; and b) white belts have successfully wheedled their way back into the golf couture (somewhere, Greg Brady is laughing).
Now we have soccer fans ragging golf, indirectly, for the plain-vanilla, markedly uncool nature of golf shirts, which, thanks to clothiers like Nike, have actually come a long way.
The whole thing is a bit mystifying, and it’s hard to see how golf gains . Nike is known for pushing the envelope with its golf stylings. What could possibly have moved them to put forward something so lacking in flash? If this was an attempt at something retro, I, as a soccer fan, don’t see the reference point. I think it’s safe to say that if one can plausibly wear a soccer shirt for a round at dad’s club, and it doesn’t look out of place beneath a blue blazer, the youth market will not be impressed.