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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Your Women's Professional Soccer Fashion Show!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 2:15 PM

There's just something about sports uniforms that makes men who still blithely don the flannel shirts they were wearing when they heard Kurt Cobain died feel the need to weigh in on color combinations, trim, piping, texture, and accessories.

I am one of these men. This is my prized possession. I bought it in 1995 for $10.

Therefore, when three different publicists sent me three different e-mails announcing The San Francisco-based Womens' Professional Soccer league's grand uniform-unveiling fashion show last night, I felt uniquely qualified to channel Mr. Blackwell for a day and play fashion critic. The good news: There's not a bad uniform in the bunch, and the WPS has far outclassed other fledgling leagues. The bad news? Read on. (Click on photos for a larger version)

The "Next Time, DO Something to the Template" Division

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St. Louis Athletica: Okay, so we have a white jersey and a green jersey -- and that's it. Just as the San Francisco Giants actually put forward the team motto "Your SF Giants," you could make the joke that the St. Louis Athletica simply forgot to design a uniform and turned in the template. Let's put it this way: When Hope Solo (left) looks less than scintillating, the problem isn't with Hope Solo. Kudos to St. Louis for mixing and matching the shorts and jerseys; with rare exceptions, monochromatic uniforms are a blight on the national character.

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Blue Sky FC: We're not sure why a team playing in the vast New York/New Jersey market would leave that out of the team name -- or, with all the distinctively N.Y./N.J. items (taxis, mobsters, dirty-water hot dogs) the squad chose the amorphous title of "Blue Sky" -- wouldn't "Gray Sky" have been better for The City? Our aforementioned distaste for monochromatic sportswear is only heightened when the colors put forward are eggshell blue and Halloween orange. You can dazzle with aggressive orange -- but not with monochromism! Still, it could be worse.

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Boston Breakers: Beantown used to be an underachieving sports city with a chip on its shoulder the size of the U.S.S. Constitution. Now they win everything. But they don't win the "Best Uniforms in the WPS" competition. Not even close. That black-and-white soccer ball logo would look less out of place on a Dorchester Youth League and the shoulder piping and oddly cut shorts skirts (a partial league

template) are unbecoming; the latter looks like something Gerard Butler might have worn in 300.

The "Thanks For Trying" Division

click to enlarge rsz_chicago_red_stars.jpg

Chicago Red Stars: It warrants mentioning that this is the only squad that went with the across-the-chest design common for professional soccer teams. When we asked a league publicist if the WPS avoided across-the-chest designs because it hadn't yet lined up advertisers for the uniforms or because of the difficulties presented by athletes with breasts, she was uncertain. In any case, Chicago's jersey proves it can be done -- but not here. I can't tell if this logo would be more apropos for the Irgun, a Communist Youth organization, or some hipster who wants to puzzle people with his or her ambiguous sexuality but is afraid of tattoo needles. Either way, Ajax fans will love the Chicago Red Stars.

The "Nice, Nice, Not Thrilling, But Nice" Division

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Los Angeles Sol: The Navy-and-Gold theme distinguishes them from their blander opponents, but the bright yellow piping is still cloying. Of course, these are just facimilies of the uniforms worn by the MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy, which is also owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz (who, it seems, will soon own the only daily paper in town, the Examiner). Congrats to L.A. for inking Marta, (left) one of the best women's players in the world -- and a player who looks like a grown-up Hilary Duff!

click to enlarge rsz_fc_gold_pride.jpg
F.C. Gold Pride:Your hometown Bay Area team doesn't do much with these uniforms, but with a color combination like black and gold it could have been so much worse. Used well, black-and-gold is sublime; employed sloppily and it looks like the jumpsuits for a private kung-fu army. The away uniform's base color appears to be borrowed from surplus Operation Desert Storm paraphernalia.

Class O' The League

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Washington Freedom: Dead-ringers for their hometown colleagues the Washington Nationals, we're willing to suspend -- albeit temporarily -- our aversions to monochromism in the hopes the Freedom will see the light and mix and match shorts and tops. That mixing of red and blue might be the only bipartisanship there is in Washington -- perhaps, for now, the all-reds and all-blues are appropriate! 


All photos   |   Courtesey of Puma, the WPS, and Stuart Ramson. Used with permission.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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