The 2012 U.S. men’s national team home jersey, lovingly referred to as the ‘Waldo’, outlasted 15 other iconic USMNT jerseys through 4 rounds of voting and 10,570 votes to be named the team’s best jersey of the last 25 years in the World Soccer Shop 2017 bracket challenge.
The 2012 home jersey easily ran away in the final taking 76% of the vote against the USMNT 2006 home jersey. It beat out the 2009 USMNT away jersey in the Round of 16, the 2010 USMNT third jersey in the quarterfinal, and the 2014 USMNT away jersey, the ‘bomb pop’, in the semifinals.
Check out the entire bracket and how the USMNT made it to the championship in PICK THE BEST USMNT JERSEY OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
The jersey had a short but impressive run with a record of 5W-1L-1D. It debuted in the Stars and Stripes 5-1 win over Scotland at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Landon Donovan set a USMNT record by making his 125th start and showed why he has been a regular with the team for so long knocking in a hat-trick in the match.
It was a great start for the jersey but reality struck when the team faced Brazil at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Seleção easily handled Waldo with a 4-1 win.
The next stop was north of the border with a match against Canada at BMO Field in Toronto. The match was the final test in a 3 week camp and ended 0-0.
Waldo then jumped into the fire with the opening of the semifinal round of the 2014 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. The first opponent was Antigua and Barbuda at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra opened the scoring with his 13 goal for the U.S. which tied the mark for defenders. Clint Dempsey hit the winner, his 26th career goal for the U.S., and Herculez Gomez added an insurance goal in the 3-1 win.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side did not wear the jersey in the WCQ against Guatemala 4-days later.
But Waldo was back in action in a historic friendly later in the summer on August 15. The Red, White, and Blue took their first result from Azteca Stadium with a 1-0 victory.
The U.S. returned to WCQ with back-to-back matches against Jamaica. They did not wear the jersey in the first match in Kingston but had Waldo on for the emotional return on September 11th at Columbus Crew Stadium. Gomez was once again on the scoresheet in the U.S.’ 1-0 win.
They did not wear the jersey in the away WCQ’er to Antigua and Barbuda on October 12.
But they sealed their place in the hexagonal wearing the Waldo in the 3-1 win over Guatemala at LIVEStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City. Dempsey hit a brace and Bocanegra notched the record for goals by a defender with his 14th.
Waldo would not be found again. The U.S. closed out the year with a 2-2 draw to Russia at Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, Russia. And wore the 2012 Away jersey to open 2013 before unveiling the 2013 USMNT Centennial Jersey against Costa Rica in the ‘Snow Classico.’
The jersey ranks high on other lists of all-time great U.S. jerseys. FoxSports has it on their list at #2 with the comment ‘An homage to our beautiful flag, this was another shirt many fans weren’t too hot about at first. Man do they look sharp now, though.’
FourFourTwo said, “What is not in dispute is the fact that it was distinctive. It’s red and white horizontal stripes, coupled with navy blue shorts gave the USA a look the likes of which they had never had before. It was bold, to say the least.”
Complex.com had it in its top 3 commenting, “Nike took a new approach with this release, not only from a visual perspective but also through the fact it was the first kit worn by both the men and women teams.”
Maybe Nike will once again consider a traditional hoop jersey to make a bold statement when the U.S. MNT takes the field at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
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