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Entries in Bruce Sholl (2)


Kit Happens: The Best, Worst World Cup Uniforms

World Cup 2010 Logo

England Tops The List;
Slovenia ... Not So Much

One Great Season

The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world, separated by four long, grueling years. In between you have qualifying matches, league championships, inter-league rivalries and friendlies, all of which afford you many opportunities to rock your favorite T-shirt, sweatshirt or cap while you cheer on your squad.

But the World Cup is the pinnacle of every nation's aspirations. First, you're lucky if your country even gets in the mix. And if your squad happens to be that lucky, it hires someone, or a team of someones, to take the colors of the country and design a home and away uniform for the national team.

BIO: Meet Bruce Sholl

Throughout the history of the Cup, there have been many iconic uniforms, objects of pride worn with heads held high. As often as not, these same kits are subject to ridicule and scorn, leaving you wondering just how people get paid to reduce the image of their country to fodder for global laughter in such a complete fashion. Other than an athlete's name, there is nothing more identifiable than the uniforms they wear:  Johnny Unitas eluding tackles on the field for the blue and white Colts, Babe Ruth  in Yankee pinstripes and the red and black that defined Michael Jordan

Team colors complete the image we associate with our heroes and, in an act which we think bonds us with our favorite players, we, too don the jerseys and team colors of our favorite squads, win or lose. Some famous athletes you wouldn't even recognize without their jerseys on, or wish you hadn't. Sometimes, you wish people would stay home and not support your team at all.

All of this to preface my picks for the best and worst kits in the World Cup:


England: From the land of Savile Row, these unis evoke a traditional feel worthy of the team that invented the sport. The solid red away kit is a throwback to the team that won it all on home soil in 1966, and fans are hoping these will help repeat the feat.

MORE: Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

Germany: Since Adidas is based in Germany, pride is on the line to deliver the best they can dream up. The home jersey has an understated black-red-gold stripe bisecting their patch, adding a touch of color without distracting. Well placed, it's a subtle way to inject the jersey with the national colors. The away blacks with gold numbering has a formal appeal, with red accents on the shoulders and neck. Tough to beat.

New Zealand: New Zealand may be best known for its stellar rugby squad, the All-Blacks. And keeping with this well-known look is a plus for what is sure to be one of the weakest eleven on the playing field. I'm a big fan of simple, solid color palettes and these do not disappoint.

Serbia:  I'm sure I'm not alone in my enthusiastic approval of the Serbs' home kit. A deep red with an offset white cross, and accented with a blue stripe on the sleeve, this look has to be a favorite for best kit. It's a perfect example of how a perfectly designed kit can draw in new fans for your team. Serb fans have something to look forward to when their team takes the field ... finally.

Ivory Coast:  Not quite sure if I love the textured image of the elephant on the jersey, but I can let it slide. Great use of color in both the home and away kits. The plain orange looks great and the green-striped aways are worth complementing. All around, the Ivorians rock a superb, well-rounded kit. The elephant in the badge is well designed also.


Slovenia: I'm not a fashion designer or expert by any means, but what kind of image does Slovenia want to project with these uniforms? Are the zigs and zags representative of something specific? Mountains? Is Slovenia mountainous? They're distracting and simply quite odd, like most Slovenians I know.

Chile:  The worst thing I can say about this kit is that it evokes absolutely no emotion from me. Kind of like that Chilean Rioja I picked up last night at the corner bodega: bland and left an unsavory taste in my mouth.

Honduras:  The big "H" plastered on the front seems odd to me. A smaller "H" somewhere else on the jersey would have served it better, giving the badge more prominence. I can only think it's so large because the Hondurans are trying to hide a larger, deeper secret: the Rain of Fish.

Japan:  I'm usually impressed with the Japanese. I love a good Ramen, flush with Udon noodles and fish cakes. Sushi and Sashimi are a staple in my diet, as they should be in everyone's, in my opinion. Akira Kurosawa was a brilliant director, "Seven Samurai" being one of my favorite films. Also, check out Battle Royale, a brutal tale of wayward kids in a battle for survival. Oh, and this kit is shameful.

Algeria: Maybe it's the shade of green that angers me, but I just can't find a way to like this kit. I do give the Algerians credit for not being afraid to exploit a national color, but I think they chose the wrong one. Perhaps the red in their flag with some subtle green striping would have been better. Anything would have been better.

For a fantastic look at the branding side of the uniforms, brand specialist Steve Susi wrote an excellent piece on who the real winners and losers are. Keep in mind that lots of time, money and testing went in to creating each team's uniform. Whether you love or hate the current look of your squad's kit, it's once again time to put personal taste aside and support your country. Even if you happen to look like this.


Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

One Great Season is proud to announce it will be covering World Cup 2010 from start to finish. Group previews begin Thursday and once the games begin, we plan to update at least twice daily with match coverage, analysis and other news and notes. Please take a moment to get to know the nine contributors who will make One Great Season the only online destination you'll need for outstanding World Cup coverage.

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is a New York-based freelance writer. He's worked as a staff writer covering English and international football at UK and has contributed to several publications over the years, including the New York Post, Scientific American, Seed, Entertainment Weekly, Draft and Star. On Sundays he can be found groggily galumphing around not-always-trash-strewn pitches in the city's Cosmopolitan league, thankful that he never tried to go pro because man that looks like a lot of running. Jeremy will be covering Group B.

Mike Dick

Mike Dick got turned on to soccer by Pele's arrival in the NASL. Living in a virtual soccer vaccuum in Terre Haute, Ind., Mike's love of the game grew via broadcasts of Soccer Made in Germany and the odd NASL match, BBC World Service football coverage on shortwave radio and traveling to see live matches on occasion. He got to see Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best and others in person in the NASL days, and as a semi-regular at matches of the Indianapolis Daredevils of the Amercan Soccer League, had the privilege to see an aged Eusebio as he pulled a Willie Mays at the end of his career. A former college goalkeeper, Mike enjoyed the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt. He supports Nottingham Forest and considers himself to be "the special one" when it comes to prowess on the barstool. Mike, a television producer in Louisville, Ky., will cover Group E.

Ben Jackey

Ben Jackey is an Emmy Award-winning former television news journalist from Louisville, Ky. He is a soccer addict who didn't pick up the game until World Cup 2002. Since then, he has travelled to watch and cover the USMNT and was producing a soccer documentary before he left the TV business this year. He is an avid supporter of Aston Villa FC of the English Premiership and may be the only person on the planet with cornhole boards adorned with the Villa crest. Up the Villa! It's important to note that Ben is a Leo, is fun at parties and is a great dancer. Ben, now a communications specialist in Louisville, will cover Group G.

Mike Marshall

Having played football continually for 28 years in some form, fashion or level in six countries — with teammates and competitors hailing from more than 50 nations — no other game could have given Mike Marshall a better perspective both on the human condition and how it might be changed for the better. With interests in history, international relations, anthropology, and design, Mike finds time for kick-ups whenever possible. Professionally he is the principal behind Marshall Arts, a graphic design and other creative works company. Mike will be covering Group F.

Mike Mudd, an assistant sports editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, is a lifelong competitive soccer player, coach and fan whose claim to fame was making the second team Indiana all-state team in high school in Jeffersonville, Ind. Mudd covered college soccer while a student at Ball State University in the early 1990s. He also gets asked a lot about the time he scored four goals in a varsity match back in 1990. Mudd has watched every World Cup since 1986 and is more of a fan of South American soccer than European, though he has a soft spot in his heart for England. Mike will cover Group C, and can be followed on Twitter @mudd4goals.

Wade Murray

Wade Murray learned to play soccer at an early age while growing up in Iowa. He was a Division III All-American player at Luther College, then played semi-professionally in Minnesota and New York. His favorite national team is the US side, of course, but on the club level he roots for Everton. Wade is currently a digital marketing professional in New York City, and his favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. Wade thinks Ronaldo is simply the smoothest son of a #$%^ he's ever seen, although he dives waaaay too much. Wade will be all over Group A.

Bruce Sholl

Bruce Sholl started playing pickup soccer as a kid on the dirty streets of Toledo, Ohio. He then went on to captain the Upper Arlington Golden Bears in Columbus, Ohio, and started for the men's club team of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He currently plays for The Barnstonworth Rovers third team, a New York City club group. Along with being a fan of his hometown Columbus Crew, he has traveled abroad to play and watch, most notably the Man U-Man City Derby in 2008 and Espanyol vs. Villarreal this year. His aggressive style of play has translated well to the pub when watching matches and head-butting. Bruce, a retail marketing specialist, is on the general assignment beat.

Steve Susi

Steve Susi is founder and chief creative officer of Brand Spanking New York, a NYC branding and creative consultancy. Steve has attended numerous Premiership matches over the past two decades — most of which involving his beloved yet hapless West Ham Hammers — attended the 2006 World Cup in Germany (watch the video) and is a devout Ohio State and all-teams-Cleveland fanatic. Mr. Susi will spend the second week of World Cup 2010 watching the national teams of Germany, Holland, Denmark and England at pubs located in those countries' respective capital cities, and reporting/photographing the proceedings for One Great Season. Check out for more about Steve and follow him on Twitter at @brandspankingny. He'll be covering Group D.

Jake Yadrich

Jake Yadrich has worked in the video production industry since 2004, spending mroe than five years as a videotape editor for FOX 4 News in Kansas City. While at FOX 4, he and the station's film critic earned acclaim at the 2009 and 2010 LA Press Club National Entertainment Journalism Awards for their weekly interview segments with Hollywood's biggest stars. In January 2010, Jake obtained what he considers a dream job in becoming the head of video operations for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. Jake is an avid soccer fan, his favorite team being Barcelona, and brings an industry insider perspective to One Great Season's coverage of the 2010 World Cup. Jake will be covering Group H.