Tuesday, June 28, 2011

USWNT Plays Women’s World Cup in Team Wear Akin to Nurse Uniforms

Sport is a passion a lot of people share. Me, aside from the players and the sport itself, I have always been interested in the team wear, sportswear, sports apparel and other sports gear.

More often I have blogged about Rafael Nadal’s sports wear sponsored by Nike and the kits of my fave mens soccer team. Every now and then I write about the outrageous sports outfit of tennis siblings Serena and Venus Williams. But I haven’t been blogging much about women in sports or the women’s team until today.

What got me reading on the article I saw was the title itself saying that the U.S. play Women’s World Cup in kit resembling nurse’s uniform. My love for sports and team wear combined with the recent win of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) over North Korea made me one to take a closer look.

When the new uniform for the USWNT was unveiled by Nike and the U.S. Soccer Federation sometime in April there was hullabaloo from critics. They said it looked like nurse uniforms and probably the ugliest soccer jersey ever seen.

Popular soccer blogger Jennifer Doyle in From a Left Wing summed up what the critics felt in:
A USWNT shirt can always be distinguished from the USMNT shirt by the two stars that the women's shirt prominently displays over the USSF badge - one star for each World Cup trophy they've won (1991, 1999). That difference is not enough for Nike and the USSF. They want you to know, for sure, that this is a not a man's shirt. So the FIFA #1 ranked women's team will go to the Germany in a nurse's uniform.

This is quite simply the ugliest women's football jersey I have ever seen. Its 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.

And it does look like a nurse uniforms at that…I like it though but not as a soccer kit.

Nike and the US Soccer Federation defended the design of the team wear saying:
The kits were designed to keep players drier, cooler and more comfortable, allowing them to maintain an optimum body temperature and perform at their best. The kit is designed specifically for the female athlete, to enhance the range of motion and create a uniquely feminine silhouette. Capped sleeves and a high neckline with v-neck piping were added to create a striking aesthetic.

Improved Nike DRI-FIT fabric, now 15 percent lighter than previous Nike kit fabrications, also helps keep players dry by drawing sweat to the outside of the garment where it evaporates. Ventilation zones have been strategically placed in those areas that are physiologically the most important for cooling. Each side and back of the jersey features enhanced breathability increasing air flow by up to seven percent compared to previous kits.

The away kit features a black bodice and red piping inspired by the beautiful but deadly Black Widow spider.

The home kit design is white with black piping and the goalkeeper kit will be worn in night purple, wolf grey and vibrant yellow.

And for those who don’t like design or feel that these team wear is more divisive than unifying (well, instead of football as a sport, it seems that this kit inspires fans to cheer on football for women or football for men), the only consolation is that these “jerseys are Nike’s most environmentally-friendly and technologically-advanced uniform yet. Each kit is made entirely from recycled polyester, produced from up to eight recycled plastic bottles per jersey.”

And though I have always believed team wear plays a role in the game, USWNT has shown that it cannot deter a win as they won over North Korea on Tuesday. And the FIFA World Ranking No 1 remains to be a medal favorite.

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