It is not uncommon for soccer fans to cook up concept kits in the lead-up to a new season or a huge major tournament. One such tournament is around the corner, as the World Cup is slated to kick off in November of 2022. This means fans are making their own renditions of what they’d like to see players wear on the biggest stage in the sport while they wait to see what they’ll get to buy for, like, $90.
A very strange thing happened a few weeks ago, as one concept kit made it around the corner of the internet inhabited by USMNT supporters that drew a reaction from Tim Weah, a winger for the team who is known for being an extremely fashionable guy. The kits were unique, but Weah decided to hop into the comments on IG and say “Wait till y’all see the real ones” with a few unhappy emojis. His comment was liked by another American, DeAndre Yedlin.
Well if these kits are, indeed, the ones that got leaked on Monday, we completely understand their dismay. Multiple posts on social media indicate that the USMNT are going to have two shirts in Qatar. Both of them are so bad that one friend of mine recommended the team advocates for playing shirts vs. skins at the World Cup and demands they are skins.
A fan just DMd me these pictures of the 2022 USMNT World Cup kit. pic.twitter.com/u7nDwp6iXB
— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) August 15, 2022
More leaks + some confirmation from a handful of trusted folks.
Your 2022 USA World Cup shirts everyone. pic.twitter.com/oVUmSmhgmK
— Thomas Hill (@puertodelphian) August 15, 2022
Btw these are how a player described them months ago, i told everyone they were gonna be bad https://t.co/gvpwNsXw5H
— Jay Hernandez (@JayAH985) August 15, 2022
Things are so bleak that Weston McKennie, perhaps the team’s best player and one of the five or six guys whose name is written in ink in a best XI, commented on an IG post for the leaked kits and claimed that either he or his teammates (or both!) expressed their gripes with Nike over these. He did this several hours before his club, Juventus, played their first game of the season, which goes to show in my expert opinion that he thinks these really stink.
Weston McKennie on the USMNT rumored kits 😅 pic.twitter.com/srg0Bx8wA1
— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) August 15, 2022
Really the main reason for optimism is the lack of a super prominent Nike logo on the shirts anywhere means maybe, just maybe, these are training tops or something. But otherwise, these are terrible. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, there is no better time to put your best foot forward than when the eyes of the world are on your product. That is especially true for Nike and the USMNT, as the brand is based out of the Oregon and the team is viewed as one of the brightest up-and-coming sides in international football. It served as an opportunity to truly make something special as part of the perpetual effort to make soccer more popular in the U.S.
Instead, the white kit is the most boring thing this side of watching paint dry, while the blue kit follows the weird camouflage pattern that Nike’s done recently and — my experience here, certainly might not be that of others, if you like it I’m sorry — I’ve never heard anyone say they enjoy. A friend of mine posited that the white kit is meant to be a nod to a previous set, although if I were advising them to do a nod to a previous kit, I’d recommend making something that was good, as opposed to whatever this unseasoned potato salad of a jersey is. Putting the crest centrally is something that can look great if it works, which it does not here.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing here is that the USMNT is getting back onto this stage for the first time since missing out in 2018. The kits they wore in their previous World Cup appearance — the beloved “bomb pop” shirt and a crisp white jersey with a collar — were both spectacular. The most recent white kit, worn by the MNT during World Cup Qualifying and the WNT at the Olympics, was sensational, while the red and blue kit they wore was unique and grew on me.
It is certainly possible that the 2022 World Cup kits will likewise grow on me, and everyone I know, and the players who say they stink. I would venture to guess, however, that if these are indeed what the Americans toss on in Qatar, they will be extremely available for sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods after the tournament ends … unless, of course, Nike listens to the players and fans whose opinions matter here.