US uniform gallery 4 of 3

Unless Aaron and Ed come to their senses, I'll be stinking up their Fighting Talker podcast this week. Consider yourself warned.

More from US soccer prehistory! The first four are courtesy of the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York - the last two Kenn sent me from a USSF media guide.

If you can't play like Liverpool, at least look like them. This was the 1973 uniform. Note the country & western font on the "USA." There is no truth to the rumor that The Kinks earned US national team caps in the 1970's. Although I swear that if you gave a haircut to the guy second from left in the front row, he'd be a dead ringer for Brian McBride.

Another one in front of the majority of the US fanbase. Clearly no expense or effort was spared here, another 1973 look. No manufacturer, no logo - not even on the coaches' warmups. Don't know if this was red or blue, but if you buy a bunch of plain red shirts with white V-neck collars and sell authentic US national team retro shirts, who's to stop you? It's possible this was very early in training for qualifying, and they hadn't received the fancy duds yet. No names on these, at least until I do more research, but I'm pretty sure that's Pat McBride again in the far left on the front row.

Future Hall of Famer Bill Looby, this time modeling an actual US jersey. This was the 1956 Olympic look. Presumably this was taken in St. Louis, because he's wearing a soccer uniform in public in the 1950's and not being arrested as a Communist. Depending on your taste, the bright blue button-up collar either makes or ruins it (hint: ruins).

Another view of the 1930 team. I don't know what it says on the ball, but it's probably not "Hey, Argentina, we're going to kick the living crap out of you."

That Umbro fad of putting the opponent and date of the game on the jersey? Turns out it was traditional. Who knew? Through brilliant detective work, I conclude that this was taken before a 6-1 win over Canada in Brooklyn in November 1925 - surprised they didn't have the score on the shirts. Among the significant aspects of this game - this was the first time the US national team played in the United States.

Either the first or the second US lineup ever, from the 1916 Scandinavia tour. The oversize badge that Nike put on the 2006 jersey? Turns out it was traditional. Who knew?

About the crest. A big old shield is pretty much our history - but dirtskier had a great point in comments on the first post:

Um, okay, we don't endorse the last sentence. US Soccer's history of winning once in a god-damned while began in the 90's, but there were moments before then. Had the US played more in the 1920's, we might look a little more legit.

But yes. While you and I, and probably most of the world, know a soccer shirt when we see it, the vast majority of Americans don't. England can get away with a logo that betrays no hint of the sport they play (and until fairly recently, only subtle hints of which country they represented - their rugby shirts were even more unfathomable - but now it has to say ENGLAND, for no damn good reason at all), but not the United States, not really.

And what I considered to be one of US Soccer's most endearing traits turns out to be fairly recent. It's "United States," not "USA." Or, well, only occasionally "USA." Other national teams are "USA" or "Team USA" or (up until the NASL put it on life support, and Stone and Parker killed it) "Team America."

But the soccer team? "United States." I think it sounds classier - the difference between "Miller Lite" and "Lite Beer from Miller," if you will. (Sorry, boring tangent.)

But no, for most of the life of the program, it's been "USA," just like every other national team. I have a depressing theory - that the team calls itself "United States" in deference to Mexican, Central American, and South American sensibilities. Or, at least, to avoid confusing the US national team with the clubs in Cali and Mexico, DF.