Hostile Makeover - American Soccer Edition

Steven Goff isn't one of my fans, but he does a darn good interview with Bruce Arena.  Well, basically, he plays Carl Reiner in a 2000 Year Old Man routine with Bruce Arena in the Mel Brooks role.  And it was the latest interview/improvisational sketch that made me feel much better about blowing an attempt at an MLS preview:

The season is just starting, but can you point to one or two teams that stand out?

“That’s an impossible task. Any person that actually takes themselves seriously in doing something like that lacks understanding of this league and how it operates.”


“Too many things change and so much goes into being successful on the competitive side. There are so much issues. At this point, I wouldn’t rule anyone out. You don’t know anything in this league until around December 1st.”

Anyway, back in the day we used to do previews in April, not March.  So MLS has started earlier.  Why should I change?  Because it's unfair to get to take into account things like my preseason MLS Cup favorite getting an interesting variety of crap stomped out of them by Houston?  That's LESS reason to change, not more.  Good, bad, I'm the one with the gun, as Gandhi put it.

Anyway, there's this crap to put up with.

This, as the hawk-eyed among you have gathered, is not the new logo.  I found this after a two-second image search for "USA badge."  Fraser Davidson created this in 2014

I don't know if he has a case for plagiarism - but like what we ended up with, it's unattractive and unimaginative.  (Sorry, Fraser, if you're reading.  I like yours better than the official one, if that means anything to you.)

I hate our new badge.  It's angled where it should curve, curved where it should angle.  We've swapped out silly for ugly.  Since we'll now have to put with this for the next twenty fracking years, let me just add two opinions before I suffer in silence, or at least barely audible grumbling.

If Nike had taken the speed lines off the ball of the old crest, everything would have been fine.  By the way, Nike was never really the villain here.  This was what the US National Team wore in 1990:

And here's a picture of the actual crest, from an ancient online auction:

What did the six stars and nine stripes represent?  The Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe and Everything.  How the hell should I know?

Eight stars, I guess, if you count the two outside the shield.  What I can tell you is that no, nobody thought the USSF was claiming eight World Cup titles.

It all went wrong when this set, which looks so much better than the garbage we have now I could literally weep with rage, was deemed insufficiently groovy for the hep cats of the 90's.  (That may not be authentic period slang.)  So either Adidas, or someone the USSF hired, came up with this:

This logo, honoring a Tony Meola goal kick going 80 yards in the air and 35 yards downfield, was seen as a step up.  Instead of merely boring, our logo was now boring and stupid.

So Nike outbid Adidas for the US national teams contract in 1995, and tried to make something useful out of what was still a new logo.  It's understandable that spitcanning the thing after only a year was not cost-effective.  So Nike tried to make it traditional.  Their big mistake was keeping the comet ball.  But I maintain that they did a good enough job to cover the transition from 1990's rad to something tolerable for the new millennium.

And then they stuck with it for twenty years, before downgrading to something less imaginative than a passport stamp. 

It would have taken literally no effort to come up with a "new" logo that would have been universally celebrated.  All they had to do was hit "Undo" twice!

Well, maybe in twenty years they'll hit "Undo" three times, and we'll have a non-embarrassing logo for the first time since Mike Windischmann was captain.

Here's the other thing that burns my oatmeal.  Here are some other national team logos, picked more or less at random.

You may love these designs, you may hate them, you may have no feelings towards them whatsoever.  But at least they reference the damn sport, even if only by an initial. 

There's no "A" in USSF.  That logo can mean whatever anybody wants it to mean.  I'm certain that was deliberate, too.  Finally, a soccer badge for people who hate soccer. 

But I guess people hated hated hated the old logo more than I'm crediting.  Here is a screenshot of the scarves page from the official shop. 

First of all, if I'm paying $50 for a scarf, that son of a bitch better have a certificate of authenticity from Rumpelstiltskin.  Second, you can put a price on love, and it's five times as expensive as hate. 

And, perhaps most important, the BigSoccer shop isn't selling US scarves (although we do have some for other teams) (hopefully this plug makes up for the blog post being late) so if you wanna buy six or seven of the clearance rack to help pay Klinsmann's salary, now's your big chance.