Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Strip Club—LFK Edition

See here for definition:

I am an American. Not by choice, but by birth. For that, I feel I should support my homeland in their quest to join the rest of the world at the feast of football. The country has made great strides since my birth (1974), actually qualifying in 1990 for the first time in 40 years and for every World Cup Finals since, peaking with a quarterfinal loss to Germany in Japan/South Korea.

I really started watching soccer in 1994 when the USA hosted the event. Wynalda’s fantastic free kick against Switzerland at the Pontiac Silverdome and the epic win versus Colombia at the Rose Bowl. I watched as Meola got beat at his near post against Brazil and was sickened. France 98 was a disaster as Sampson and the squad were shown to be overmatched. Japan/South Korea was a roller coaster ride of emotions. The absolutely amazing opening half against Portugal, which was followed by a tense draw with South Korea, before a shambolic finale against Poland. However the US progressed and controlled the match against arch rivals Mexico before falling to some questionable calls against Germany. Germany 06 was France all over again, this time with terrible marking, red cards and poor play. The summer of 2010 in South Africa was very disappointing despite the US winning the group. Poor starts to matches, poor personnel choices and poor performances led to an early exit against Ghana.

The 2014 cycle will interesting to watch develop because the old guard—Donovan, Onyewu, Dempsey and Howard—will be in their 30’s, and I’m not convinced that there are younger players of quality to replace or supplement them. But a lot can change between now and then.

I wore this kit watching every match of WC 2010, not that it helped, and it is far superior to 1994 choices from adidas. In a bout of World Cup fever, I bought the T-shirt version of the striped jersey which I did like much more than the stars version, because I couldn’t pony up for the real jersey. 1998 was drab for me with the large band across the middle. Plus they had that light aqua variation that was terrible. 2002 was ok. Nice and simple, nothing extravagant. The 2010 World Cup kit was solid, with an homage to the 1950 team. The navy blue with white sash was quite cool and I plan to buy that when it goes on sale. (Editor’s note: I bought a personalized version on for 20% off the sale price. STEAL!!)

This jersey template from Nike was introduced for Euro 2004, and I have the Holland home and away from that edition. I love long sleeve jerseys, and the shirt breathes pretty well. It is great for a cool day in spring or fall, and I wish I had had it personalized but bought it before that phase of jersey purchasing. This leads to another tenet of purchasing: I recently decided to not buy jerseys from other nationalities (have one from Holland, Spain, France, Germany, Ukraine, and Croatia). I figure, I yam what I yam.

All in all, a respectable kit. The new one is about to be launched, and I hope that is it as dynamic and striking as the new Brazilian and French kits. I would really like to see a red jersey, something that stands out against the other CONCACAF countries. Stay tuned.

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