By Phil Hecken
It seems like only last weekend I was back with Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck…*what’s that? I’m being informed it WAS only last weekend when CJ & Kyle brought us the Kits of the Copa AmÃ©rica Centenario, and you may recall did some pretty nifty critiques of the new MLS kits for this year (Part I is here, and Part II is here)*. Well — the latest tourney has just gotten underway (Euro 2016), and Kyle & CJ are back to give us the rundown of those kits. So, without further ado, I’ll turn it over to the boys now (you can click on the pics to enlarge) …
The Kits of Euro 2016
By Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck
While the Copa AmÃ©rica Centenario continues to be played in the United States, Euro 2016 kicks off this weekend and is likely to receive more attention on a worldwide basis. The European Championship is held every four years in the middle summer between World Cups and this year’s edition will be played in France and will include 24 teams (expanded from 16) for the first time ever. As a result, 16 teams will advance to the knockout stage of the tournament which means a total of 51 games will be played rather than the 31 total games of years past ($$$) and 5 countries will be appearing in the tournament for the first time. More teams also means more kits, so let’s get straight to what we will be seeing on the fields in France over the next month.
Kyle: Albania are in the Euros for the first time and enter with three different color variations of essentially the same jersey – a red home, a white away, and a black third. The top of the sublimated stripes seem to cradle the jersey number, and overall, I say these could be better but could be worse too. Rating: 3 stars across the board
CJ: Count me in as a fan of all three, especially the simple idea of having a third. The stripes could be a bit more prevalent, but otherwise good.
Kyle: The hosts of the tournament, Les Bleus enter with a blue home jersey with navy sleeves and a white away with contrasting red and blue sleeves. The Nike template strikes again as I can’t get past the different color sleeve look, and the away is too USA-esque which isn’t a good thing. Really unfortunate since the French have had some of the best-looking uniforms in the past. Rating: 2 stars home, 2 stars away
CJ: Kyle makes a great point; France usually possesses some of the better uniforms among the national teams, but the Nike template kills them. USA or France? France or USA? Stupid.
Kyle: Romania introduced two new jerseys – a primarily yellow home and an away which inverts the yellow and red. Simply inverting colors to create a home and away pair always feels lazy, and I can’t tell if these jerseys have too much going on, or not enough going on. Rating: 2 stars home, 2 stars away
CJ: Joma sighting! Romania going by the old standby of keep it simple, stupid. In this case, however, I have to give it a push (if that doesn’t break the rules). Blurring the line between overly simplistic and classic subtlety.
Kyle: The Swiss enter the Euros with a simple red and white home, and a white away that incorporates the cross from their country flag. While the home is a Puma template, it doesn’t look bad at all and I appreciate the use of the flag in the away. Rating: 4 stars home, 4 stars away
CJ: I love, love, love the away. Unique, charming, and indicative of the country. Can’t ask for much more. The home is good too.
Kyle: The Three Lions have a new white home jersey with light blue sleeves and a red away jersey with darker red sleeves. England have a tradition of simple and solid kits, and let’s just say these do not continue that tradition. Rating: 2 stars home, 2 stars away
CJ: I cannot stand that home. Red socks? Light blue sleeves? Why? Why? The away is equally atrocious. Stupid, forever and ever.
Kyle: The hosts of the next World Cup in 2018, Russia will wear a maroon home jersey and a white jersey with an eagle emblem on the front. This year’s Adidas template is especially present in the home, and while the emblem doesn’t do much other than maybe sell more jerseys, I do like how the white jersey was designed to be paired with blue shorts and red socks to match the colors of the Russian flag. Rating: 3 stars home, 4 stars away
CJ: I do like the flag motif that Kyle mentions, but I’m a sucker for Russia’s maroon and gold. They consistently use that color combo and it’s very unique. Less a fan of the emblem usage, though bonus points for including a coat of arms. Good.
Kyle: Slovakia make their Euro debut with a white home jersey and a blue away that uses an almost neon blue as its accent color. No problems with a simple home, and for whatever reason I’ve always liked the way different shades of blue complement each other. Rating: 4 stars home, 4 stars away
CJ: Simple, solid, good. Though it could have used some red accents from the coat of arms.
Kyle: Another team making their Euro debut, the Dragons carry over jerseys from last year which include a red home and a black and gray striped away with neon green accents. Again, can’t go too wrong with a simple home, but you can most certainly go wrong with that away jersey. Rating: 4 stars home, 1 star away
CJ: Their away looks like something you’d buy at the team shop for fashion reasons. Stupid for sure, but the home gets a good.
Kyle: The defending World Champions bring a simple white home jersey and a busier away jersey featuring black and grey horizontal stripes and dark green sleeves. Count me as a fan of the simple but effective white and black home kit, but there’s no way I can get behind that away design or that olive green color. Rating: 5 stars home, 1 star away
CJ: As an admitted Germany fan, I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick here. Germany has worn white shirt/black shorts/white socks for decades. These black socks are jarring. Though your average person may classify this look as a simple good, I have to say stupid for bucking tradition. Double stupid for the away monstrosities.
Kyle: Another country making their first Euro appearance, Northern Ireland will wear a green home jersey that also includes navy sleeves and a horizontal stripe with two shades of blue and a white away jersey with a similar horizontal stripe but with two shades of green. Once again, I don’t think different colored sleeves look good when they run up to the neckline, and the horizontal stripe doesn’t look great on either jersey. Rating: 2 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: Kyle and I differ here: I love the stripe. Execution could have been a bit better on the home, but kudos for making the effort. Good.
Kyle: Poland enters the tournament with a pair of new jerseys that each feature a sublimated wavy line pattern on the bottom half of the jersey. The pattern is more noticeable on the red away since it gives the jersey a gradient effect, but why take away from a clean look? Rating: 4 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: Odd sublimation can’t keep Poland from scoring a simple good here.
Kyle: Ukraine bring yellow and blue jerseys to the tournament which also include a sublimated plaid style pattern. My question is: how often do sublimated patterns actually make a jersey look better? Rating: 3 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: More sublimation! This time, a poor choice. I think I’d have to see how distracting it is on TV before I’d truly call it stupid though, so a solid push.
Kyle: Croatia bring back their classic red and white checkerboard look (taken from their flag) and also have an away jersey in the same design but with blue and navy as the colors. The “squares” are also slanted creating a “waving flag” effect, which is something I could do without but this is Croatia’s signature look and I don’t mind the more reserved away jersey. Rating; 3 stars home, 4 stars away
CJ: Always a huge fan of Croatia’s checkerboard pattern modeled after their coat of arms, but why the wavy pattern? It screams 90s design, and that is not an era that soccer should be going back to. Still, call it good.
Kyle: The Czechs enter the Euros with a repeated chevron home design using two shades of red as well as a simple white away with blue accents. I’m not a fan of that home design at all or the color combination of the reds, but the simple away works. Rating: 1 star home, 4 stars away
CJ: Chevrons or poorly placed arrows? I report, you decide. Stupid.
Kyle: La Roja have a new version of their classic home kit and a white away kit with small triangles colored in different shades of red and orange. Adidas template aside, the home kit is beautiful and while a jersey with a loud design isn’t automatically bad, this away is strange to say the least and not exactly visually appealing. Rating: 5 stars home, 1 star away
CJ: Home? Classic, good, all that is wonderful with Spain. Away? What did I just say about the 90s? Never again! Stupid.
Kyle: Turkey has a pair of new jerseys each featuring criss-cross lines that get thicker towards the bottom of the jersey to create a gradient effect down to the shorts. This is certainly different and while I think it works better with the red and black home than the white and sky blue away, I’m not sold yet on the look. Rating: 3 stars home, 2 stars away
CJ: Gradients? No, just no. Though I somewhat appreciate the sky blue and red. Still stupid.
Kyle: Belgium have a pair of new jerseys that each use their flag colors of black, yellow, and red in different designs. I like the colors but not the way the black and red are split on the home, and I love the use of flag color stripes on the away even if the sky blue base is not my favorite. Rating: 3 stars home, 4 stars away
CJ: The home is good, but the away is a glorious display of flag and color. Why can’t the United States do something as wonderful? Oh, right, Nike. Good great wonderful.
Kyle: The Irish will be wearing a green home that includes diagonal stripes in alternating shades of green, a collar, and side panels and piping and a white away with horizontal green stripes on the sleeves and the sides. Collared jerseys are almost a thing of the past these days but this looks nice and I could do without the number font and the designs on the sides of each jersey. Rating: 4 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: Love the collar on the home, love the stripes on the away. Good.
Kyle: Gli Azzurri have a new version of their home blues which include sublimated pinstripes and a white away with blue down the sleeves and a center vertical stripe using the green, white, and red from their flag. The pinstripe effect doesn’t work for me, and while I love incorporating flag elements, the away could have been executed better. Rating: 3 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: You can’t beat Italian simplicity, though the away is slightly busy with both the center and arm stripes. Good.
Kyle: Sweden enters the tournament with a return to their classic yellow and blue home kit, and introduce an away with horizontal sections of white, gray, another gray, and navy. The home is Sweden’s signature look and I can’t find anything remotely positive to say about the away. Rating: 5 stars home, 1 star away
CJ: The Swedish home is a classic, and beautifully done. The away is a travesty of design. Good and stupid, respectively.
Kyle: Austria’s home jersey is red with darker red diagonal stripes that get progressively thinner as they move down the jersey and their away is white with black accents. The red stripe design is strange and unnecessary to me, and although the away is fine in and of itself, it’s frustrating to see so many national team kits being reduced to a template (whether Puma, Adidas, Nike, etc). Rating: 3 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: Austria’s away is what Germany’s home should be. Get it right, Adidas. Good overall.
Kyle: Hungary actually held a vote to determine their jerseys for the tournament and a simple red home and white away won over the alternative which featured pinstripes on each jersey. With white shorts and green socks, I like how the home kit mimics the colors of their flag but again, it feels like there’s something to be said about the presence of the Adidas template. Rating: 4 stars home, 3 stars away
CJ: Another flag motif, another good. It’s becoming clear I’m a sucker for certain designs, isn’t it?
Kyle: Iceland are also making their Euro debut and will do so in a pair of color swapped jerseys featuring an off-center vertical stripe design. While I am generally don’t like that design element, I like it a lot here since it mimics the design of their flag. Rating: 5 stars home, 5 stars away
CJ: While I’m an admitted fan of single vertical stripes, the Icelandic execution falls a bit short. The thicknesses are wrong in ways I’m having trouble articulating. Either way, both home and away make the grade for good.
Kyle: Portugal enter the Euros with a red home jersey that includes darker red sleeves, and a mint green away jersey with darker green sleeves. The home is good but would look great if the sleeves were the same red as the jersey and I apologize to viewers around the world when Portugal takes the field in that away kit. Rating: 4 stars home, 1 star away
CJ: Nike, I quit. Go away forever. Between the Copa AmÃ©rica Centenario and the European Championship, I cannot stand your template. Stop it with this. It’s ridiculous. Countries have unique opportunities for designs, and you come up with the same bogus idea for all of them. Portugal home is good, away stupid. Nike has broken me.
Thanks, CJ & Kyle! Another set of kits in the books. Don’t forget, we’ve got the Rio Olympics coming up in a couple of months, so they lads will be back for that. Great job, guys. Readers? What say you?
Our Fathers In Uniforms…
Next weekend is Father’s Day and as I have in the past, on this special day I will be running photos and stories (with some great memories) of our Dads in Uniform.
I’m again inviting readers to submit a photo (or photos) of their father (or even grandfather) in uniform, along with a short description of him in that uniform. It doesn’t need to be sports-related — it could be a trade or military uniform. I’ll collect the stories over the coming week and run them next Sunday, which is Father’s Day.
Please send your submissions to me at Phil.Hecken@gmail.com, along with an attached (or inline) photo (or photos), and a brief description of your dad in his uniform. Please put as the subject line “Father’s Day Uni”. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, June 16th.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, back on Monday, Paul took a Uni Watch look at Muhammad Ali. His weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN expands upon that, with a closer look at Ali’s trunks, footwear, and the amazing rhinestone-studded robe he wore for his 1973 bout against Joe Bugner (shown above), which was made for him by none other than Elvis Presley.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you didn’t catch it on Friday!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: “Zombie Night” is tonight and the West Michigan Whitecaps will be wearing these jerseys (via Whitecaps). … A couple people sent this in: New Era/MLB’s marketing of the special Father’s Day caps, with comments ranging from “Here we go again…” to “Not this shit again…” I got one too — but at least the Mets were able to find a picture of Jacob DeGrom with his dad for their promo. Hey–maybe he should submit that for the Uni Watch Father’s Day piece? … The Rochester Red Wings wore these jerseys last night (from Rochester Red Wings). … Pretty cool spiderwebish-webbing in this interesting looking glove here (from Megan Brown). … The Albuquerque Isotopes will wear these jerseys on August 6th (from OT Sports). … Interesting Star Trek-themed jerseys for the Frisco RoughRiders (From OT Sports). … “A guy has retro MLB logo tattoos covering his left arm,” says Mike Chamernik. “Saw on Reddit today.” … The Peoria Chiefs have their Star Wars Night tonight, and here’s what they’re wearing (from OT Sports). … Here’s your at the Lehigh Valley
Iron Pigs Cheesesteaks jerseys (from Iron Pigs). Here’s a look at the whole uni. … Andrew Cashner is wearing a jersey w/ @PlayBall patch still on it (from Tyler Maun). … Chris Howell asks, “What jersey is Connor McDavid wearing?”. … Maximillian notes an “Interesting hybrid-type Mets logo being used here by the Binghamton Mets.” … John Heiligenstein saw this 1987 World Series knapsack at a Wal-Mart in St. Louis. Actually, I have no idea if that’s an ’87 series backpack — it’s prolly just a screw up. … Oooh, check out the beautiful Albuquerque Dukes unis worn last night by the Isotopes (h/t Minor League Promos). … Oops — Brandon Moss accidentally put on Stephen Piscotty’s jersey (from bsur). … The Tacoma Rainiers will wear these *patriotic* jerseys on Sunday for “Salute Armed Forces Sunday” (from OT Sports). … The Salt Lake Bees wore these jerseys for Star Wars Night (via Trip Manfro). … “Saw this article on mynorthwest.com about the Mariners Director of Merchandising and how they have approached selling team gear and adapted beyond what you see on the field” says Dustin Jensen. … Check out the sweet stirrup action on the mono-gold clad Madison Mallards (from Damion Beth).
College Football News: “Mizzou white unis teased in this promo for 2017?” asks Chris Carriere. If you check out this Vine, it would appear so. However, didn’t Missouri already do a white out uniform last year? Yeah, maybe that whole promotion wasn’t such a great idea. In any event, Mizzou did go all white versus BYU in 2015. … Thomas Clouse says, “So apparently ESPN doesn’t know N.Carolina from Virginia.” Meh. Close enough. … A millennial takes a look at college football uniform trends to monitor.
Hockey News: As you are all probably (and hopefully) aware, the great Gordie Howe passed away yesterday. It would be too time-consuming to post many of the photos and tributes from yesterday in the ticker, but there is this from Pete Woychick: “Has there ever been another athlete as associated with a sport, an era, a team, and a number? Generally I’m not a fan of rotating/seasonal patches, but I could completely get behind the Red Wings creating a permanent memorial on the uniform, Ã la the Bears and George Halas.” He concludes, “RIP, Gordie.” … Here’s an interesting take-off on the Canucks stick-in-rink logo from a Renovating/”Remodelling” van. That article also has a bit of history on the Canucks logo & unis from the early days of the franchise. … Save Ferris: “I made this my Facebook cover photo today when I came to a couple of disappointing realizations,” says Brent Bollmeier: “1 – Gordie Howe last played in Detroit until 1971. However, they didn’t feature NOB’s until 1972; 2 – According to the NHL Uniform database, the white stripe near the waist was always at the hemline. There was never any red below the white stripe.”
NBA/NCAA/Hoops News: “I believe this is a Lawrence Moten jersey but do you know if Syracuse actually ever wore these?” asks Botweezy. One reply seems to indicate they were worn at least once (from Rich Miller). … According to this article, “Under Armour’s Billionaire CEO, Kevin Plank, may be the biggest winner of the NBA finals.” Why? “The NBA Finals are more than a battle of superstars — they’re also a battle of shoe brands.” Ugh. From Tommy Turner. … The internet is having a blast making fun of Stephen Curry’s lame new Under Armour shoe, Curry 2 Low “Chef Curry.” (thanks to Mike Chamernik). Here’s some more (from Dana Prey). … Also from Mike, The track record of restaurants bribing athletes with promises of free food isn’t too strong.
Soccer News: Looks like we now have some leaked images of Juventus’ 2016-17 away & third kits. … Fiorentina (of Italy’s Serie A) has come up with a 90th season campaign complete with a logo and slogan, which is something to the effect of “Keeping the Faith Since 1926.” Says submitter Chris Cruz, “I’m not sure I’ve seen a team with a 90th anniversary/season logo before.” … Ohhh — nice: check out the 2016/17 Pacos de Ferreira F.C. (Portugal) home & away kits (from Mike D.). … I think we’ve seen this before, but once more couldn’t hurt: New kits for Sunderland, which are pink and purple (from Steven Sernka). … Our pal Clint Richardson tracked Auburn’s soccer kits for the 2016 season. … Louisville City FC will wear armbands with the word Ali on them for today’s match (from Josh Hinton). … Apparently jerseys for Ireland are quite popular in Vancouver.
Grab Bag: “Spurred no doubt by the soon-to-climax project to create a new flag for the city of Milwaukee, Madison’s weekly alt paper ‘The Isthmus’ is running a cover story advocating a redesign for Wisconsin’s state flag,” Writes R. Scott Rogers. “And, unusually for this sort of thing, the designs in the story are actually pretty good. Take the one with the block of cheese, remove the holes so it’s just a single almost-triangular shape, and it would be my favorite of the lot. The Isthmus is also seeking reader designs, and in a few weeks the Isthmus will submit all the designs to the state government.” … A while back some multi-sport/team logos were shown on the site. “I spotted this Wisconsin version in DC, and I don’t recall seeing it before,” says Marc Burgess. “Thought you might be interested!” … Leo Strawn, Jr. writes, “This isn’t uni-related, but it is an interesting glimpse into the future of attending games at stadiums: The first interactive ‘smart seats’ were installed this week at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.” … I think this one is a stretch, but…”Maybe it’s a stretch, but does the new roof Ashe Stadium, home of the U.S.Open, when viewed from above, look like the Chase logo?” asks Steven Presser. “Coincidentally (or maybe not), Chase is a major sponsor of the event.” Sometimes a roof is just a roof.
And that’s all for today. Big thanks (again) to CJ & Kyle for the great review of the Euro 2016 kits.
I’ll be back tomorrow with much, much more, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“When I was a kid, NOBODY wore their cap over their ears. Now I see it frequently.
Show of hands…
Tuck or no tuck?”
— Dumb Guy