Late last month in Nike’s downtown New York City office, executives from the world’s soccer design division mingled and chatted excitedly when the sportswear brand revealed to the media its World Cup kits for dozens of teams.
Canadian representation was missing from the event.
Although Nike is the equipment supplier for Canada They are getting ready to play the first match world Cup Since 1986 with a young and marketable squad led by world-renowned superstar Alphonso Davies, Canada could be the only team not to receive new kits for the World Cup. It was hard to find information about the Tunisia groups, but All other 30 teams will wear kits designed for this event.
Canada’s current block-based kits made their debut in the June 2021 World Cup qualifier match against Aruba. the athlete Revealed for the first time that Canada You won’t get a new World Cup kit Back in March. Almost all other Nike World Cup kits will feature custom designs rather than molds.
Canada’s lack of new World Cup kits doesn’t sit well with some of the national team players.
“I’m not a big fan of it, frankly,” Canada defender Sam Adekogbe said.. “I just feel that every team should get a new kit for the World Cup because it’s a symbolic event. I don’t hate it, but I would have liked to have a new kit, just because it’s something we cherish.”
In an interview that touched on a variety of topics, Canadian Football Association general secretary Earl Cochrane said: “As I understand it, the requirement to make those kinds of changes is a multi-year process.
In a statement, Nike acknowledged that Canada’s clothing will remain the same: “Canada football is in a different development cycle.“
One possible reason why Canada did not get new World Cup kits is the rapid rise of the Canadian men’s team.
When Canada Soccer and Nike signed a partnership in December 2018, the men’s national team was ranked 78th in the world by FIFA, just two points behind small Curacao and eighth among all CONCACAF nations. Even with the positive comments of then-President of Football Canada Stephen Reed (“This watershed moment for Canada football is further evidence that Canada is a leading country in football”), it would be fair to describe the possibility of Canada qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, and therefore needs a group New, low.
It is believed that the process of designing and creating a new collection for Nike could take about 18 months. For a set to be released with the other Nike World Cup kits this month, that process had to start around March 2021.
At that point, Canada was on the cusp of an impressive year-long run of the first round of CONCACAF qualifiers against small nations like the Cayman Islands. Once again, the odds of Canada reaching the World Cup at that point were long at best.
“I think it just shows that no one really believes in us,” Adekogbe said. “I don’t think Canada believed. But the only person who really believed was (Canada coach John Herdman) and the group that was there.”
The team’s rise through qualification became a good story across the world of international football because it was so improbable, that many forecasters were taken by surprise. And Nike seems to be in that group.
“We (Canada’s women’s national team), for example, have the global Nike brand,” Cochrane said. “The discussion about what they will wear in 2023 and 2024 happens three years ago. I don’t know why those conversations didn’t happen, or even if they were asked. I just know that when we qualified, the ability to flip a particular shirt wasn’t even considered at the time.”
Canada’s 2019 Women’s World Cup home jersey was revealed in March of that year, ahead of the June tournament. This was the first Nike designed kit for Canada after it became the official supplier, after Umbro.
while the Current women’s team shirt Featuring a detailed design with an all-over maple leaf pattern, the Canadian men’s team will go to the World Cup in the red, white and possibly black jersey from Nike’s Strike II die line.
A Canadian Football spokesperson confirmed that Canada will have new shorts in Qatar “available to the men’s national team for the first time”.
Nike has previously angered some of the group’s fans with its reliance on moulds, particularly at Euro 2016, when many teams wore a variety of similar-looking shirts.
In February 2020, Nike’s Senior Director of Global Communications, Heidi Bourget, tweeted that Nike will be ditching the molds in its soccer jerseys.
We are giving up templates. For the 2020 collections, Nike designers had 65 body options available to them across contrast stripes, sleeves, cuffs, badge placement, etc. From hand-drawn prints to custom fonts, each team’s look will be its own.
– Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) February 5, 2020
Asked if he felt Canada not getting the World Cup kit was a missed opportunity, Cochran said, “Yes. But I just know there’s a tight deadline, right? It’s a long process, rather than just saying, ‘We’re going to make a decision today that Canada will act and we will change that in two or three months.” This is a conversation that happens in 2018 or 2019, not 2021.”
The Cochrane response is fair and valid. Not only is the process of creating a new World Cup kit, but also many of the training equipment and warm-ups that come with the kits, multi-layered and lengthy. Market research has to be done and the exchange between consortia and suppliers to agree on a design can also be lengthy.
But the lack of a new World Cup kit makes it worth asking about who the partnership between Nike and Canada Soccer will benefit.
Although the Canadian Soccer Business was established in March 2018 to represent “the business and inventory assets of high-profile football properties in Canada,” including “representation for all corporate partnerships,” the deal with Nike It was announced as one between Canada Soccer and the sportswear brand.
The Voyageurs, a longtime Canadian fan group, said in a statement that there was a lot of “disappointment” in their group about Canada not getting new kits for the World Cup.
“Some within the group said, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ while others thought that given some other country groups, it might have been better that we stuck with what we had,” the group said. “In addition, there is still disappointment that the availability of groups (men’s and women’s teams) has been so poor, especially given the increase in popularity over the past 18 months.”
Adekogbe said he was satisfied with the block kits Canada now has, particularly the Canadian third, the black Strike II.
Canada wore the black uniform for some of their most iconic victories during the World Cup qualifiers, including a dramatic 2-1 win over Mexico in frigid Edmonton to send them to the top of the qualifying standings, and a 2-0 win over United. Countries in January that made Canada look like a sure thing to qualify for the World Cup.
“This black group says a lot,” Adekogbe said. “It kind of feels like the dirty work behind it, where we came from.”
A Canadian Football spokesperson said Canada “will have three kit colors available when they step onto the pitch in Qatar, making Canada unique among the 32 teams in the tournament.”
However, a version from Nike highlighting their new line of World Cup kits only showed Canada’s red and white kits.
For months during Canada’s initial promotion into 2019, then during their World Cup qualifiers run, as the team achieved a level of popularity in Canada they didn’t have before, it was hard to buy Canada jerseys from the popular online soccer retailer, too as it is. In brick and mortar stores in Canada. This was also true of the women’s team jerseys after winning the Olympic gold in 2021.
CanadaSoccerStore.com, a website for fanatics, was created during the World Cup Qualifiers.
This site could see an increase in traffic by November, especially if Canada continues to play the exciting and fast-paced brand of football it did through the playoffs. But fans are still likely to remain disappointed.
From a marketing perspective, Canada not getting the World Cup kit is “significant”, said Phil Delves, a UK-based kitting expert and commentator.
“The kits that are worn at the World Cup are what people remember the most,” he said. “When Canada gets to the World Cup, a lot of people who are watching it for the first time will say, ‘This is a really boring bunch. “On a very simple level, there was an opportunity for Canada to put itself on the map.”
Delves pointed to Nigeria’s wild popularity With custom Nike kits in the 2018 World Cup, which have become collectible items due to that popularity.
“There’s a whole demographic of people who will choose to support a team based on the outfit they’re wearing,” Delves said. “The World Cup is prime time. It’s The opportunity to ship the product.
Delves suggested that Nike may have missed the opportunity to return to it Canada’s first and only World Cup appearance in 1986 with a retro-inspired collection. Although adidas made World Cup kits in Canada in 1986, relying on a model that Nike previously said it had scrapped puts the bottom line in the positive story of Canada going to the 2022 World Cup.
“It’s a real shame,” said Delves.