As much of a supporter of the USMNT as I am, it's pretty pathetic that the only show of support my wardrobe can provide is a tattered old US Soccer t-shirt. And with the big 2-0 Border Smackdown on the horizon, it's with much relief that I greeted the arrival of our friends over at SoccerPro.com, riding to the rescue with the Nike USA Away Jersey 2008.
While I'm not a huge fan of the "hooped" home kit, I've always had a bit of a hankering for the modest simplicity of the away shirt. Of course, I freely confess that I'm probably more of a fan of minimalism and subdued, perhaps even dour, colors, than the normal soccer fan. With that qualification, let's take a look at some pros and cons of the shirt . . .
* The gray is a bit darker than the pictures or TV would indicate, but that's fine by me.
* I've never had occasion to wear a "Dri-Fit" (or Fit Dry or Nike-Fit, or whatever Nike is calling it these days) shirt before, and I haven't had a chance to work up a sweat in it yet, but the shirt feels lighter than most soccer jerseys I've worn, almost to the point of feeling like it's not even there. I'll be interested to see what it feels like when playing in a downpour, but given the sub-freezing temperatures around these parts, I'm unlikely to run around in a wet shirt any time soon.
* The stitching on the badge and logo are solid--better than most other replica jerseys in my ensemble.
* While I don't mind the red on the back of the collar, the red + lighter gray trim on the sleeves (it's tough to see in pictures) offends my minimalist sensibilities. If only they'd stuck with just the red (or better yet, no color accent at all)! Still, that's a fairly minor quibble, and while we're talking quibbles . . .
* Does the Nike logo have to be so large? Make it a little smaller and push it a bit higher on the shirt and it would be perfect.
* While the stars and stripes with the "Don't Tread On Me" slogan on the inside of the collar are a distinguishing and patriotic touch, they feel a little gimmicky to me. Horses for courses, I suppose.
So while the shirt isn't perfect by any means and has caught flack in some quarters for its dour color scheme, I'm really pleased with it. In addition to making it my regular couch-wear for US games, I can also head out to the grocery store or kick the ball around in the yard with my daughter without feeling like a peacock in some garishly hued or striped shirt, though if you're into that sort of thing, our friends at SoccerPro.com can help you out with a more ostentatious selection of replica soccer jerseys as well.
February 11th is fast approaching. What will you be wearing? A Touch of Grey, perhaps?
Product(s) for this review were provided to FBF by SoccerPro.com.