~~ BACK IN STOCK AND AVAILABLE!
1994 was a pivotal year for soccer in America. We were hosting the World Cup for the first time and we legitimately had the eyes of the soccer world squarely focused on us. There was an excitement around the sport that had rarely been seen here in the United States. The best players in the world came Stateside to compete in the world’s greatest sporting event. This was the team that really helped build the foundation of the sport in the US as we know it today. Guys like Eric Wynalda, John Harkes, Tab Ramos, Marcelo Balboa, Cobi Jones, Brad Friedel (can you believe he is still playing today), Paul Cailguri, Alexi Lalas, a very young Claudio Reyna and so many others. This was Bora Milutinovic’s team. This was before there was an MLS. Most of these guys spent their preparation for the World Cup not playing in leagues around the world, or even one here in the US, but instead at a training camp in Mission Viejo. It was a moment in time that will never be duplicated. Things are different now. Significantly better. But what a great story the 1994 US World Cup team is.
It was in that 1994 World Cup that the US team broke out one of the most classic soccer jerseys of all time. The legendary denim looking kit with an all over star print. adidas got bold with this design and went for it. In a way it summed up a lot about that time. It embodied much about American soccer at that time. A bold attitude that was matched with an untraditional approach to the sport. And a very, very mid 1990?s design ethos. This jersey was the counter balance to the “wavy” striped jersey that the US wore in the 94 World Cup as well.
But it was the “denim” version that got people talking. So much so that people still talk about it today. Complex Magazine recently included it in their 50 best jerseys of all time – it landed in the top 10. With the 2014 World Cup just around the corner, the 20th anniversary of this famous jersey is almost upon us. We wanted to pay tribute to this jersey and re-imagine it as a t-shirt. So we went with a faded athletic blue color as the base of the shirt to give it that almost denim effect that the original jersey had. We re-created the patterned star print but switched the stars from white to a more tonal blue reducing the contrast from the original. We topped the whole thing off with the Bumpy Pitch crest. And we made sure to make this shirt as soft as we possibly could to give it the feeling of a vintage t-shirt that you have had for quite awhile (since ’94 maybe?).
This is a jersey that has both lovers and haters, but regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it still had everybody talking. And that’s what classic, iconic pieces do. They make a stand. They are bold. They demand that conversations take place.
It’s pretty crazy to think that it has been almost twenty years since we hosted the 1994 World Cup. Soccer in America was a very different sport then. Things will never go back to the way they were (and they don’t need to). But that era laid the ground work for much of what is taking place now. The DIY mentality. Finding other like minded folks who shared a love for the game. It’s much easier these days with the Internet, but the roots go back to these days. This was before the huge interest in the sport. Before the supporters clubs. Before big corporate dollars were coming in from everywhere. Let’s not forget we didn’t even have a major professional league. It was a time when many of us were ridiculed for liking and playing the sport. It certainly wasn’t a glamorous or cool thing to be involved in, but it gave us the backbone we needed to help grow the sport. We were and are still – but to a lesser point – the underdogs. We embodied the underdog mentality and I will always love that about soccer here in the US. We wouldn’t let the naysayers win. We went about things in our own manner and supported when supporting soccer was very much uncool. We will never go back to an era like that, but we can look back fondly realizing that each of us have played a part in growing something that we love so much.
It’s remarkable to think about how far the sport has come since 1994. And it’s inspiring and exciting to think about where the sport will be in another twenty years. And just think about how classic and retro the denim jersey will be in another twenty years. This t-shirt might even be considered a classic then.
The Stars t-shirt is available exclusively at Bumpy Pitch.