Ever since the United States played in its first World Cup in 1930, the team has experienced many ups and downs. Most of their World Cup bids have been marked with disappointment, but others showed glimmers of hope.
The team's World Cup jerseys follow the same volatile trend; some were memorable and others were easily forgettable. The next few slides will take a look at the various World Cup jerseys, from worst to first, and the outcomes of those teams.
In the 1994 World Cup, the United States had an impressive showing on its home turf. After a 1-1 draw against Switzerland, the team defeated Columbia, which was ranked fourth in the world, 2-1. The team lost 1-0 to Romania but made it out of its group.
In the second round, the United States lost 1-0 to Brazil, the eventual champion. Although the team played well, their jerseys were a disgrace. The jersey design seems too complicated and resembles a washed up American flag. It is the kind of design the military, not a sports team, would wear.
In the 1990 World Cup, the United States had a miserable showing. The team lost all three of its play-in games, losing 5-1 to Czechoslovakia, 1-0 to Italy, and 2-1 to Austria.
Although the team played bad, one can argue the jersey was worse. If it was not for the US World Cup logo on the upper right hand corner, many people would mistakenly think the color scheme was for Russia or France, not the United States. A jersey should reflect the colors of a country, not the colors of its opponents.
In its first World Cup, the United States had its best showing in soccer history. The team beat Belgium 3-0 and Paraguay 3-0 before losing to Argentina 6-1 in the semifinals. Its third-place finish still is the highest finish for any team not in Europe or South America in World Cup History.
Although the design was not elaborate, the jersey's logo clearly paid homage to America's roots. It seems like the kind of jersey Ben Franklin and George Washington would approve of.
Even though the United States had four years to revise its World Cup jersey design, the team stuck with the exact same jersey it had in the 1930 World Cup, hoping it would lead the team to the same success the 1930 team had.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. In the 1934 World Cup, the United States lost to Italy 7-1 in the first round of the tournament.
1998 was the worst World Cup for the United States in its history. In the first round, the country lost all three of its play-in games: 2–0 to Germany, 2-1 to Iran, and 1-0 to Yugoslavia.
The United States finished in last place of all 32 teams in the tournament that year. The team did sport pretty cool Nike jerseys though.
There is a great deal of optimism surrounding the team leading up to the 2010 World Cup. Last year, the team showed its ability to defeat the top teams in the world when it beat Spain 2-0 in the Confederations Cup semifinals.
With a relatively easy draw in the first round (England, Algeria, and Slovenia), the United States should make it out of the first round but in the World Cup, anything is possible. This jersey design is a modern version of the one used in 1950.
For its time, the 1950 World Cup jersey looked really nice. The red stripe added some much needed color to the previous designs and the logo was modernized to look less like it was from the late 1700's.
The United States lost its first match to Spain 3-1 but then defeated England 1-0 in what is widely considered to be the biggest upset in World Cup History. Sports Illustrated and Soccer Digest have dubbed the game as the "Miracle on Grass." In its final game in the play-in round, the team lost to Chile 5-2.
In 2002, the United States had a surprisingly deep run in the World Cup. In the first round, the team defeated Portugal 3-2 and had a 1-1 draw against South Korea. Even with a 3-0 loss to Poland, the team reached the second round of the tournament where it defeated Mexico 2-0. In the quarterfinals, the United States lost 1-0 to Germany, the runner-up in the tournament.
Maybe the team's fresh jersey design brought them good luck. Unlike the 1998 design, most of the color was on the sleeves and the sides, making it easier for players to see who they were passing to.
With its 2002 success, American soccer fans were looking optimistic about the United States' chances in the 2006 tournament. The United States drew the "group of death" in the first round, having to play the Czech Republic, Italy, and Ghana, all top 10 teams in the FIFA Rankings.
The team began the tournament by losing to the Czech Republic 3-0 and then tied Italy 1-1 (the US was the only opponent that Italy did not lose to in the tournament). In its final game in the round, the United States lost to Ghana 2-1. Although the tournament was dubbed as a disappointment for the United States, it produced perhaps the best jersey design in U.S. World Cup History. By moving the color from the sleeves to a right stripe, players were able to sport their national pride in a minimalist design.