USMNT Kits 1984-1998

1984       White

Austin:  Grade   F

Not a good place to start as this shirt is awful.  A very basic template ruined by the diagonal pin stripes.  Plus the USA on the chest is so low rent.

Tyler:  Grade F

Agree with Austin on this one. Just bad from top to bottom, nothing really left to say about it.

Gianpy: Grade D-

Do think the jersey template and colors are terrible, but something about the simple USA logo gets me. My OCD also hates the poorly aligned Adidas logo on the left. Nothing memorable.

1984       Blue

Austin:  Grade   D-

Ugh.  So plain, so ugly.  Just a NO all around.  When reviewing this shirt, I remembered that the Germany Euro 2012 home kit brought the diagonal pinstripe feature back.  Not sure if that’s a good thing.

Tyler:  Grade D

The blue away kit is a bit better. The white home just looks very cheap, but the blue pulls it up a little. The shirt also looks better with long sleeves. Anyone who complains about the current US Soccer crest just needs to look at the shirts from 1984.

Gianpy: Grade D

As Tyler said, this is a step above the White version. While it isn’t pleasing to see the use of this template, the United States probably did not deserve a custom jersey in the 80’s.

1984       Red

Austin:  Grade   D

Who knew that third kits existed in 1984?  My comments about the other 1984 shirts combined with the all red strip make this an eye sore.  And don’t forget the John Stockton nut hugger shorts as well.

Tyler:  Grade D-

Once again, kit isn’t very great. I think the blue away works more than the third, but either way all three kits are bottom line.

Gianpy: Grade D

Similar feelings to the blue jersey, the color adds to the jersey and makes it better than the White version, but the plain look and feel remains.

1988       Home

Austin:  Grade   C-

Decent but nothing special.  Not sure how I feel about  the accents over the collarbone, and the badge screams 1980’s youth soccer, with bare penalty areas, taped up nets in the goals and orange slices at half time.

Tyler:  Grade D

First off, an actual crest is a huge improvement, but this shirt is easily forgettable and most people have never saw it before for good reason.

Gianpy: F

Hideous. The improvement on the logo is helpful, but the collar and longsleeve look doesn’t do it for me. This is even worse than the 1984 White jersey, as it only uses white and aquamarine blue accents.

1988       Away

Austin:  Grade   D

Not as bad as the Manchester United away shirt from the early 90’s but bad.  Sublimated images and weird design just make a plain jersey effin terrible.

Tyler:  Grade D+

Not going to lie, I like this shirt. The crest really pops. Like Austin said, most people will hate the design on the shirt, but I don’t really mind it.

Gianpy: Grade D

Bleh. While the template’s design isn’t all that bad, I’m not a fan of that shading of blue.

1990       Home

Austin:  Grade   D+

The shirt takes future US shirt elements (V neck collar, pin stripe across the chest, centered crest) and makes a complete hash of it.  Add the short shorts and the result is a traveshamockery.

Tyler:  Grade D

I’m not a big fan of the crests centered and especially not as low as they are in this shirt. However, compared to the first kits on the list it’s a big improvement and a turn for the better.

Gianpy: Grade D-

The way everything is positioned on this jersey reminds me of the 2004 Home/Away jerseys, with the manufacturer’s logo on the top left and the logo front and center. I find the placement of the blue accents to be weird, with thick bars on the shoulder areas and thin lines across the chest.

1990       Away

Austin:  Grade   D

And it gets worse.  What’s happening in the armpit area?

Tyler:  Grade D-

The crest is in a better position than the home, but other than that, this shirt is a mess.

Gianpy: D+

The lighting on this image makes the jersey look worse than it is in person. While the template is horrendous, the blue color goes well with the crest.

1992       Home

Austin:  Grade   C

I really like this template and remember it fondly from the early 90’s.   The home strip does just enough.

Tyler:  Grade C-

Best shirts so far by far. New US Soccer crest. Think it would look better without the stripes on the shorts.

Gianpy: D+

The redesigned US Soccer logo saves this jersey, as the 3 colored stripes seem more of a way to market Adidas’ trademarked logo.

1992       Away

Austin:  Grade   C+

The blue is not quite right and the bulkiness of the shirt, especially in the sleeves, does not help matters, but upon taking a second look, I actually prefer this one to the home.

Tyler:  Grade C-

The away shirt uses the same template and it looks fine too, but nothing more than that.

Gianpy: B

Despite what I said above, this one looks fairly decent to me. The combination of the darker blue jersey with the pearly white nameset goes well.

1994       Home

Austin:  Grade B

The World Cup 1994 kits are the subject of a lot of derision but adidas made an American Jersey for the American World Cup.  For instance Scotland did a tartan shirt for Euro 1996 and Manchester United is trying something similar with recent releases.  These shirts scream ‘Murica! and took the standard vertical stripes and created a flag.

Tyler:  Grade B+

HUGE leap forward in the currently nonexistent kitnerd standard. Fantastic shirt for the 1994 World Cup and I would personally love to see something similar to this again in the future.

Gianpy: Grade C-

While this one scores points for originality, the collar and shoulder hems look terrible. The jersey definitely screams “AMERICA”, which gives it bonus points.

1994       Away

Austin:  Grade C

Not as good as the home shirt.  A denim look was used for this shirt and captures a specific moment in American soccer.

Tyler:  Grade C+

This infamous denim kit has risen to cult status and people’s opinion of the shirt are inflated. The shirt was nice in a tacky, ugly way. You can’t deny that this is an iconic shirt though.

Gianpy: Grade B-

Nostalgic. This one is extremely popular amongst US Soccer fans simply because of its iconic American look (and feel!). I wouldn’t be caught wearing this except for on gameday and the Fourth of July, but on those days, it is the perfect kit.

1995       Home

Austin:  Grade C+

The mid-90’s saw the transition to Nike who, as the Project 2010 post rightly mentions, “changed the color palette. . . Both the red and blue are darker than on previous jerseys.”  The bands across the chest gave the Nike kits a good foundation moving forward.

Tyler:  Grade C

The first US Soccer Nike kit of the 90s. I personally love the band across the front, but I think it works even better on the away shirt.

Gianpy: Grade D

Nike’s first attempt at outfitting US Soccer was rough. While a step above Adidas, the 1995 Home jersey left a lot to be desired.

1995       Away

Austin:  Grade B-

I’m a big fan of navy blue so prefer it to the white.

Tyler:  Grade C+

Once again, the band looks good on these set of shirts and even better on the navy. A good solid shirt.

Gianpy: Grade B-

Something about the blue makes this jersey so much better than the Home version, but it might just be Balboa wearing it.

1995       Third

Austin:  Grade D

The third jersey is a horrible color.

Tyler:  Grade D-

This shirt is just ruined by the light blue, would have much rather saw a red third kit.

Gianpy: Grade C

Without a nameset, this one is bad, but having the original stitched nameset on the jersey adds quite a bit to it. The way this template was designed led to the US Soccer logo replacing the front numbers on the replica jerseys.

1998       Home

Austin:  Grade B

The kits for the 1998 World Cup are decent.  The thinner accent higher up the chest is a nice touch although I would not have gone all the way onto the sleeves.  The home version is a solid kit, and, with the slight design change mentioned above, this could have gone higher.  Not helping the cause is the sizing of the shirt which made it look like the sail of an America’s Cup boat.

Tyler:  Grade B-

I like the nice simple design of this shirt. The thin strip across the chest gives just enough detail to make a good kit.

Gianpy: C

Similar to the 1994 Home jersey, the collar and shoulder hems ruin the jersey. However, t he combination of the contrasting nameset with the similarly colored chest stitching makes this an okay jersey.

1998       Away

Austin:  Grade B

Like the red shirt but unfortunately it will be upstaged by the 2000 offering.

Tyler:  Grade B

I like the red away shirt more than the home. Either way, Nike gave the US National Team two good shirts for the 1998 World Cup.

Gianpy: Grade C+

Tad better than the home jersey simply due to the red/white/blue colorway which shows all 3 colors brightly.

——

Many thanks to the following blogs:

Project 2010.  Their post on US kits, which opened my eyes to the history of USMNT kits, was the inspiration for this project.  Follow them on twitter at @project2010usa.

Chariots of Fire Sport Blog. This blog covers sports in general and the post on US kits was informative and helpful in the formation of this blog.

Contributor Gianpy Belaunde has an amazing set of photos on instagram.  We used a couple in our posts and for reference.

We hope that you enjoy our thoughts and please visit our About the Writers page to learn about our individual projects.

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