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Archive for June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007 — A golden chance

The United States women’s national soccer team has always had the Anson Dorrance ethic of “Play for each other” since the first World Championship for the M&M’s Cup in 1991 (retroactively recognized as the inaugural World Cup).

In 2007, as the team gears up for the fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup, the team has taken the old adage “Playing for the shirt” to a whole new level.

gold_2007_wnt.jpgYesterday, in New York City, the U.S. women’s national team brought out a new uniform by Nike. The color: gold. Not the bright yellow of Brazil, Colombia, or Ecuador, but a metallic gold matching the color of the World Cup trophy. The jersey serves more than one purpose: since FIFA wants to minimize color clashes as much as possible in its World Cup tournaments, and since the United States has a red kit already along with Norway, China and Canada (three teams in the world’s elite), it was a simple matter to get the Americans to change its uniform, since its preferred color has been white.

It’s not the only time FIFA has made teams switch long-standing colors for their second-choice uniforms in World Cups. England’s men wore powder blue instead of red in 1986, Paraguay wore a copper-colored jersey in 2002, Mexico wore a red-accented white jersey in 1994, Spain wore black in 1998, and Holland wore navy that same World Cup.

Then there was the time when the South Korea field hockey team, in the Asian Games eight years ago, came out wearing mint green.

pinkwnt.jpegNow, while the United States has had a winning tradition in soccer for the past two decades, putting the team in gold kit is being seen more as a statement than an attempt to comply with FIFA’s rules on kit clashing. Thankfully, however, the team isn’t recycling its fundraising pink jerseys from earlier this year. Otherwise, our proud women’s national team might be thought of as a collection of Easter eggs.