The 2022 USMNT World Cup kits have potentially leaked online, leaving many USA fans (and soccer fans in general) hoping that the images that have surfaced are not the real deal.
The images surfaced on social media via the @usmntonly and @puertodelphian accounts, and show both the apparent home and away options for the Stars and Stripes:
One of the images shows the two shirts folded and surrounded with additional pieces of apparel, and this one certainly feels like a more professional promotional image:
While it’s certainly a better quality photo, there is still the question as to the authenticity of these designs. With no official word yet from US Soccer or Nike, let’s look at the clues we can sift from the leaks to make an educated guess:
USMNT World Cup Kits: Real or Fake?
Some of the details in these leaked images could lead you to either conclusion. The jersey cut with raglan sleeves and the curved trapezoidal shape under the neck on the front is right on par with several 2022 Nike releases, like the Brazil away or Tottenham away. And the centered crest, while not necessarily common, isn’t entirely unusual.
But then you have this additional seam on the sleeves, almost like a shoulder yoke on a hockey sweater, which I don’t think we’ve seen on any other Nike shirts recently. As you can see above, in the standalone image of the white home top, the truncated stripes on each side are uneven, with no red at all on the left side. And even on the right it doesn’t match up with the more even width of the stripes you can see in the cleaner photo, leading me to believe this could be an early, poorly-done, bootleg shirt. Of course, it’s possible they may have done an asymmetrical striping design, but it would be a very odd choice.
Visible in the second image you can make out a large Nike swoosh on the sleeve, which is a very unusual placement for a soccer jersey, at least one from Nike. While brands like Adidas, Kappa, or Hummel have made placing their logo (or elements of it) along the sleeves their trademark, it’s very unusual for Nike who tends to put their brand mark up front on the chest.
In fact, this swoosh placement and striping pattern almost makes the home top look like a certain gridiron football team:
Moving to the blue away shirt, the cut is another variant of the raglan sleeve layout we’ve seen before, as on Liverpool’s 2022/23 away top.
The tie-dye pattern is vaguely reminiscent of the 22/23 Leeds away strip from Adidas, but much less in-your-face with the psychedelia.
The most interesting detail is on the inner neck, the words “States United”. This might seem like a misprint and a telltale sign of a bad knockoff, but if you look back at some of the training and fashion gear US Soccer has put out recently featuring just the word “STATES,” this could be a cleverly-simple new marketing slogan for the 2022 USMNT World Cup run:
First off, do we think these are legit leaks? In this observer’s opinion: yeah, these are more than likely what the USA will be wearing come November in Qatar. Enough of the details are consistent with other recent Nike releases that it’s probable we’re looking at the real deal.
So, assuming these are real, what do we think? Well, to put it lightly, I hope I’m wrong and these are fake images.
A big, big disappointment. It should be noted we’ve yet to see the shorts/socks and name/number treatment that will accompany these shirts, but there is very little that can save these designs at this point.
Both of these look like training shirts. Swap out the crest for a generic “USA” mark and these would make fine knockoffs you might see for $10 hanging on the rack at Ross Dress For Less™ (no offense to the fine folks at Ross – I’ve personally stocked my collection with many authentic kits at a very nice price over the years there).
The silver lining to the USA not really having a defined look (think Argentina’s stripes, the Dutch orange, Croatia’s checkers, etc.) is that you have the freedom to do something a bit different each time. Considering the wide berth of creative freedom at their disposal, it’s disheartening how often Nike (USMNT outfitter since 1995) outright misses with the Red, White and Blue.
While the USA has had put out a few notable novelty acts over the years (1994 denim, 2012’s “Where’s Waldo”, the 2014 “Bomb Pop”, among others), nothing has ever really stood out as a truly great look. For me the closest they’ve ever come was the 2010/11 sash collection, and the refined, simple beauty of the 2013 centennial kit and its gorgeous large, embroidered crest. But even amongst the hit-and-miss library of USA looks, the apparent 2022 tops are definitely towards the bottom of the pile.
What do you think? Are these the real thing? And if so, do you like ’em? Let us know where you’d rank them among the USMNT’s all-time closet in the comments.
And check out the official World Cup shirts for Qatar 2022 to see what you think of the confirmed jerseys.
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