Last year we decided we wanted to do a shirt inspired by the "Denim Kit" that the US wore in the 1994 World Cup. There has been so much talk about this particular jersey, and it was 20 years since it was worn in the 1994 World Cup that it seemed impossible not to at least try and do something inspired by it.
Even though the jersey was a decisive topic of conversation among people, it represented a very specific moment in time. Both in soccer, in fashion and in America. As a country, we were hosting our first World Cup. A tournament that oozes tradition featuring countries that have a deep heritage within the sport. As a country where soccer had never really taken off, we were like brazen outsiders who had been given the keys to something that we were destined to shake up.
Our team consisted of a bunch of young players, many of whom didn't even play for a professional team. Instead, the team was holed up at a training center in Mission Viejo, CA and training together as opposed to training with their clubs and playing in top leagues. It was clear that we were doing things differently. We weren't beholden to the way other countries did things. And this was very apparent in this jersey.
This jersey screams America to me. The "denim" look of the fabric. The overly bold and overly large all over star pattern. It was an outsider in an insider's world. And that pretty much sums up the 1994 US World Cup team.
I love that about this jersey. It might not be classic or look like a soccer jersey. It was certainly way outside the lines of anything that we had seen before in a soccer jersey. But it was indicative of that time and that team and in many ways the ethos of America. We will make a statement and do things our way. I love that. And that is what we wanted to celebrate by recreating this jersey as a t-shirt.
When we were finishing up the first production run on this shirt, I had no idea what to expect. It had been a polarizing jersey for so many people that it was hard to have any sense of how people would feel about the shirt. But it has gone on to be one of our very best sellers. It reinforces that as a nation we like to do things our way, take some chances and have some fun along the way.