Canada’s soccer skills better make up for their fashion

Canada qualified for the first time in 36 years, but might be the only country without fresh uniforms for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In 2018, Canada Soccer cut ties with Umbro as their kit supplier and signed a deal with Nike. Since then, it’s been downhill.

Nike released their first Canadian kits in 2019 for the men’s and women’s teams, both of which were quite similar and based on a template design. Template designs are jerseys designed based on pre-existing base models–Nike simply slapped the color red and the Canada logo onto one of their soccer training shirts and doubled the price from $50 to $100.

In 2021, they released another template-based design for the men’s team heading into the World Cup Qualifiers. Meanwhile, the women received a unique update with a modern maple leaf design for their latest jerseys.

Historically, Canada’s women’s team has performed significantly better than the men, consistently ranking in the top 10 for the past five years while their counterparts have never broken into the top 30.

From 2018 when John Herdman took over as the manager of the Canadian men’s national team to February 2022, the men’s Canadian soccer team jumped from 94th to 33rd in the world. This jump in ranking was the culmination of their World Cup qualifying campaign and John Herdman taking over as manager of the team.

However, this leap, along with Canada’s second ever World Cup qualification, apparently did not warrant a new kit design. Not only is Canada the only country without a unique design from Nike for the World Cup, it might be the only one with absurd pricing.

For reference, the template shirt that the Canadian kit is based on costs about $50 while the prices at Canada’s official store start at roughly $125 and range up to $250 depending on if fans want their favorite player’s name and number on the shirt.

Fans were excited to see Canada beat all odds and qualify for the World Cup, but the lack of new jerseys combined with price gouging and a lack of stock is massively disappointing for Canadian soccer fans.

The lack of effort from Nike and Canada Soccer is evident and players on the team are also not impressed.

Canadian striker Jonathan David, covered the Nike logo in protest after scoring in a friendly match against Austria.

Canadian defender Sam Adekugbe voiced a similar sentiment to The Athletic, “I just feel like every team should get a new kit for the World Cup because it’s a symbolic event,” he said. “I don’t hate it, but I would have liked to have gotten a new kit, just because it’s something to cherish.”

Canada soccer general secretary, Earl Cochrane, also shared important insight regarding new jerseys with The Athletic.

“The requirement to make those types of changes is a multi-year process,” he said.

Despite all the practical timelines, design procedures, and marketing Nike may have to go through, this oversight is still difficult to accept. Nike should be able to expedite the process for such a huge tournament on a global scale. The lack of creativity in the men’s kits blunts their rapid ascent to the world stage.


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