Friday, February 26, 2010

Soccernomics: Kits

The Oregonian has a nice article on the huge push Nike has made over the last 10 - 15 years to become a major player in soccer, once dominated by Adidas.  But the article does contain one absolute howler of a mistake that exposes how far the general population of the US still has to come:

At the World Cup this year, Nike will sponsor nine teams --its most ever -- including the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Holland.

United Kingdom!?! Dear oh dear oh dear.  Please don't let anyone in Scotland and England (not to mention Wales and N. Ireland) know that Nike has overruled FIFA has forced them to compete as one country. As far as England are concerned, the new Umbro strip is fantastic, a classic look harkening back to their lone world cup triumph in 1966.

Speaking of harkening back to history.  Nike has also given a nod to a strange moment in world soccer history in the new US world cup strip.  In 1950, the US beat England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil by the score of 1 - 0.  England was a dominant power then and the US team was a bunch of part-time amateurs, but funny things happen in soccer.

They wore shirts with a sash on the front and Nike (as seen in this picture) and Nike has reproduced this look for the world cup.  This is fitting given that the first US match in South Africa will be against the England squad.

One final interesting point on the local front: the Timbers are currently outfitted by hometown Nike, but Adidas has the contract to outfit the entire MLS.  So, as things stand, when the Timbers make the move up they will switch to Adidas uniforms.

The current uniform is now sponsored by SolarWorld, by the way, making for a nice little green economy tie-in with he local team dressed, appropriately, in green.

And, yes, this was a post about, basically, nothing.

1 comment:

Jeff Alworth said...

We'll never know who committed the howler you identify, but (to add a comment about nothing to your post about nothing) it wouldn't surprise me if this was a copy editor's bungle. Certain mistakes are so common that copy editors change them without really thinking. Let's imagine that in the article in question, writer Amy Hsuan wrote "England" instead of the UK. No doubt this is a very common mistake (one freighted with its own political trouble), and one copy editors look for. So presto change-o, England becomes UK and soccer fiends like you howl.

Since I'm not a soccer fiend, I blanched at "Holland." Is that a correct use of the Netherlands' national team? It makes the whole thing curiouser and curiouser to me.