This is quite simply the ugliest women's football jersey I have ever seen. It's central problem is the line someone has drawn down middle of the shirt - a purely decorous gesture meant to create the impression that the USSF would like its women to play in an open necked blouse.
For example, women fans are supposed to buy separate shirts to show support for the men's team and for the women's team. Fine - I like those two stars, and I also support the men's team with or without those stars. But men who support both? Unless they want to look like a female jock dressed like a nurse, and they happen to also be small enough to fit in the limited sizes on offer, guys who support the USWNT won't have an option. Which is just as well - because Nike doesn't deserve money from us, for this and a thousand other reasons.
Very few countries offer totally different "looks" for the national uniforms for their men and their women's teams. Part of this is because very few care enough about their women's teams to even consider this. But perhaps it is also because women playing for Brazil (for example) represent that country's futebol tradition, and their style is as much a testament to the legacy of players like Pele, Garrincha, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho as it is to their triumph over the sexism of the country's futebol structures. It's a reminder that one ought not divide the women from the men, as if they play different sports - as if they don't admire and inspire each other on and off the pitch.
Germany and Adidas have gone down the same road as the USSF and Nike, and launched a new "look" for the Frauen:
|Germany Men's Team, Away|
|Germany Women's Team, Away|
It is one thing to build a shirt to be more comfortable for a woman (women fans who want such shirts can buy them to show their support for men's teams). It is quite another to design a shirt whose primary design function seems to be not the declaration "We are our country's national team," but the anxious apology "We are not the men's team." There is no real purpose to the difference in look other than the re-enforcement of gender division - as if the difference between three and two stars (Germany) and zero and two (the US) were not enough. And this all has really crappy implications regarding male fans of national women's teams, who are completely ignored as active participants in the women's game - the implication is that being a fan of the women's game is basically a form of cross-dressing. Which, in a way (the way of gender and sports politics), I guess it is.
But at least Germany's kit still looks like a football jersey. This is not something I can say about the USWNT uniform.
Maybe we can recover our relationship to that look by imagining it as "heads up" to the competition: By the time the USWNT get through with them, they'll be calling for an ambulance. Not quite the spirit I associate with the squad - Abby Wambach, perhaps, excepted.