Your USMNT Jersey Holiday Shopping Guide

What's costing you your wallet?

What’s costing you your wallet?

Nick Sindt begs your expertise on USMNT jersey purchasing

Your prequel must-read

Last time TSG put out this piece at the perfect time; the jersey had just been launched and the World Cup was immediately on the horizon. The current kit has been out for some time, and it’s likely that most reading this site will have already made their choices, but what about those of us who wait until that defining moment or for that great deal or sale?

The impetus for this piece was selfish in nature, I just grabbed an authentic 2012/13 home jersey off eBay for half the retail price and now I need to send it on to US Soccer to get it printed; however as I put fingertips to keyboard it struck me that this kind of a post strikes a deeper chord as we prepare to flip the calendar.

2013 is going to be a huge year for the USMNT with the Gold Cup, the Hex, and our centenary on the horizon and you’ll want to ensure that the name on your back (if you’ve waited as long as I or are getting a gift for a loved one) is a solid one, but whom to choose? Other than MB90 or Clint Dempsey has there been a stand out player or defining moment that justifies spending the extra $30 to customize your shirt? To help you in making your selections here are some categories to help break down your options and what they may say about your fandom.

The Overall/EveryFan picks

1) Michael Bradley – Is there any US International more on-fire right now? It seems that playing for someone other than Papa Sweats has allowed him to reach his potential, and then some. OR, he’s finally just hit that purple patch of his career.

Either way he’s playing well for a big club and country, and getting his name and number on your shirt tells your friends that a) you like gorgeous volleys more than anything on earth, b) you’re going for timeless since it’s plain to see Bradley’s steely resolve, vision, and box-to-box runs ensure he will be a central figure for years to come, or c) all of the above.

Note: he only barely edges out Deuce on age and future impact alone.

2) Clint Dempsey – He scores goals against England, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Juventus. He openly mocks opponents on the pitch with the ‘Deuce Face.’ And, lastly he’s got that je-ne-sais-quoi about him that makes him the most exciting player to watch right now – you never know what trick he’s going to pull out next. If you’re going to strut down the street in a Dempsey kit, do it up right with a couple of arm tats and some 4-day stubble.

3) Tim Howard – As odd as ‘Howard #1’ might look on the outfield kit, he’s one of the top keepers in the world and he constantly saves the ass of the USMNT by standing on his head. Isn’t it time we honored him appropriately?

4) Landon Donovan – He’s been the face of US Soccer for 16 years now, scored more goals than anyone in a US Shirt, collected more assists, and played in the second-most games; you can’t really go wrong with his name adorning your shirt. However, being the poster-boy for the program means that everyone will know him and thus likely be the first choice of the casual fan, and he hasn’t really shown well in the current shirt due to injuries and general burn out. If you were going to get a Donovan shirt, the 2008/9 or 2010/11 Home shirts would’ve been better choices.

The Timeless Picks

I realize the US doesn’t have luminaries like Zidane, Pele, Maradona, or Cruyff that are respected the world over, yet, but most of us can agree on the following being our current list of timeless choices that give you instant street cred with knowledgeable US Fans

Tab, the original Coke of the USMNT

Tab, the original Coke of the USMNT

1) Tab Ramos #10 – The original US #10. One of the first to play the US game with South American flair. And to date, the last.

2) Thomas Dooley #5 – One of the first Germericans (in the Post-1990 history that most of us grew up with) to pull on the Stars & Stripes, he was definitely a classy and calming influence on our midfield and back-line during his tenure.

3) Earnie Stewart #8 – Arguably he’s Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan before Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan.

Classy on the field, classy in the front office, and just all around class. Class, class, class.

4) Paul Caligiuri #20 – Without his shot heard ‘round the world, not too many of us are fans of the USMNT in the same capacity today….and there isn’t a lot of tape of mostly white guys jumping around in too short shorts with USA on them outside of the Olympics.

5) Claudio Reyna #10 – Another South American-American who wore the #10 shirt, but Reyna played the game much differently than the traditional #10. His passing, vision, and tempo-setting skills are something we could definitely use in the Klinsmann era.

6) Ricky Davis — Don’t know him? Read this 1985 Sports Illustrated article, put down some ducats and gain some street cred.

7) Tony MeolaIf only…

The ‘If we don’t see you in 2013/2014, Thank you dearly for your service, this is my salute to you’ Picks

1) Steve Cherundolo – You been part of three World Cup squads, maybe a 4th…, and dutifully called the right-back spot your home for as long as most of us can remember. You’re a name not many immediately think of since you carry out your role with a quiet grace and aplomb.

Picking a Cherundolo shirt tells the world you know your shit and you appreciate solid if unspectacular play from your fullbacks.

Let us all bow our heads in praise for a moment at The Great Dolo … The Mayor of Hannover. He just may never die. Awesome.

2) Carlos Bocanegra – Third most caps for defenders, tied for most goals by a defender, and captain of the national side. He’s never been called world-class by outsiders but we don’t know where we’d be without your timely, nerve-calming equalizing headers and the leadership that you’ve provided over the years.

3) Landon Donovan – His recent interviews, injuries, and form suggests he may ride off into the sunset very soon. If he does, he will do so as the all-time leader in Goals, Assists, and second in appearances. Respect.

The ‘I EFFING Told You So’ Picks

If they pan out you look like a genius, if not you may have to retire the shirt or find some clever ways to defend your choice. Stop what you’re doing now and check your closet for that Jose Torres jersey who squandered money away on about three years ago. Actually don’t do that or you may not read on.

1) Stu Holden – If he steps back into the fold for the Hex or Gold Cup and starts bossing the game like he was for Bolton two years ago, you can smile with pride as Chariots of Fire plays in your mind. You knew he’d make it back and form one half of the most feared midfield pairing in CONCACAF – Bradley and Holden aka ‘Brolden™’.

Stu, we’re all rooting for you to get healthy again so at the very least our wives and girlfriends can swoon, and you can teach Brek Shea how to style his hair.



2) Josh Gatt — Quick! Hurry! Before there is another YouTube clip with him with Ian Darke announcing, “Oh, it’s incredible!” (Note: I hereby reserve the write to come back into the TSG editing suite and swap “Josh Gatt” for “Joe Gyau” and claim that I got my “G” money player messed up”)

3) Brek Shea – The comically coiffed one has shown flashes of international quality mixed with doldrums, malaise, and a lack of direction or service. When he finally finds his form with a couple of goals in the Gold Cup that Shea #11 shirt will almost pay for itself in free drinks, hair product and with your on-hand dialogue about seeking out the next Clint Mathis.

4) Graham Zusi – A couple of solid performances at the end of the Semi-Final round of qualification have made Zusi one to watch for 2013. If he doesn’t pan out you always have those two games in 2012.

5) Terrence Boyd – It’s like Brian McBride and Gooch had a love-child…the 6’2” Germerican has shown a penchant for being the target man we’ve wanted since McLegend hung up his boots. If he puts up even half the goals and half the class of the former #20 your choice of getting Boyd on your shirt will be well worth it. And he likes Boyz-to-Men despite being born right around the time they dropped Motown Philly.

6) Juan Agudelo – A year or so ago you would’ve bet your mortgage on Agudelo hitting super-stardom, since then he’s plateaued for his club(s). Whenever he pulls on the US Shirt he’s a ball of energy and he makes things happen; my belief that he will eventually be a bigger name for the USMNT pushes him further down this list. (Shh, I’m just hiding him in the #6 slot …. sort of like when Ricardo Clark used to play there.)

7) Eddie Johnson – Burst onto the scene against Panama in 2005, guess who’s back from international obscurity, and guess who’s back in the hexagonal against the US? Adorning your jersey with the Grown-Ass-Man takes some serious sack at this point, but you will be the second coming of Nostradamus if he blows up again in helping the US qualify for Brazil 2014.

8) Timothy Chandler — This one can really go either way after he commits to the Austrian National Team.

9) Charlie Davies — Let’s not go there. Long live The Stanky.

The Hipster Picks



1) Sacha Kljestan – The ‘stache, the hair, and he dates Victoria’s Secret models, yet Jürgen and Papa Sweats rarely pencil him into the lineup…What’s wrong with this picture? Getting Kljestan printed on your shirt tells the world you are a man of continental tastes even if others vehemently disagree with you. Big time bonus points if you grow a matching mustache to go along with your purchase.

2) Geoff Cameron – That haircut goes perfectly with some cuffed skinny black denim and a sweater vest, throw a pair of horn-rimmed glasses on him and he’d fit right in at a hole-in-the-wall Portlandia Pub.

3) Robbie Rogers — Oops! Passe! Like that time when you turned off Trash Talk to play some Belle & Sebastian at that Clover-apparatus cafe. Oh, yeah, Trash Talk, you don’t know … you don’t know? They’ll be skinny-jeaned in no time. You just watch.

4) Sydney Leroux — Don’t think we don’t see that neck tattoo Sydney and all those pictures of cats–or is that a dog–that you tweet. We’re on to you! (“My fixie brings all the boys to the yard.”)

The ‘US is a melting pot’ Picks

1) Herculez Gomez – You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone embodies the hustle, grit, and perseverance of the USMNT more than Gomez. He spent years getting the cold shoulder from MLS teams and the USMNT, so he went south of the border and started bagging goals regularly when no other striker in the US Program was. Want to thumb your nose at El Tri, go sport a Gomez jersey and head to the next game at the great toilet in the smog, Azteca.

2) Fabian Johnson – Left backs are never the sexy picks when it comes to customizing your jersey but anyone that solves the left back problem for us deserves to be near the top of your list. Note, Fab Johnson might just squeak onto the “Hipster Picks” above. Doesn’t he just seem like the most anti-Hasselhoff German you’ve ever seen?

3) Danny Williams – Sure he’s got some maturing to do but he’s looking like the US CDM of the future with less petulance and recklessness than CDMs past. If I saw you in a Danny Williams shirt, I would give a knowing nod of respect as you clearly understand what these unsung players (CDMs) bring to the table.

4) Jermaine Jones – Wearing a Jones shirt tells the world that they should stand back because you might pull a Mike Tyson and bite someone’s ear off or you might pull a Mike Tyson and start raising some pigeons. And if that’s the case you might as well get Tyson and #13 on your back.

Otherwise, if you enjoy being a San Diego Chargers fan or Oakland Raiders fan after your team is down 10 in the third quarter and some opponent interlopers are in your section … well this is the kit for you.

The Dreamer Picks

En vogue or 1996?

En vogue or 1996?

1) Freddy Adu – He was supposed to be THE ONE, the first true #10 that would come from the US System and play for the biggest clubs and help our national team crack the Top 10 in FIFA Rankings.

Sadly he hasn’t been able to live up to the potential we placed on him at such a young age, bouncing between clubs in the MLS and Europe and making only cameo appearances for the Senior National team. When he’s unlocking defenses with a scything pass in the Gold Cup or single-handedly dominating the Brazil U-20s we all wistfully wish that the ‘if you buy it he will become awesome’ rule had applied to Adu and all of the shirts sold with his name on it in the last 5 years…

Note: If you were in early on Adu and got a kit in the mid-2000’s keep it around, the kit and the player might come back around.


2) Jose Francisco Torres – There are brief flashes when it appears he’s the answer to a question no one in US Soccer even knew to ask but he’s yet to put his stamp on a roster spot. Sporting a Torres jersey tells me that I’m in for a long discussion about how the US can play the patient side-to-side tiki-taka soccer that has made Barcelona and Spain so successful.

Either that or prepared to peppered with jokes of the “Torres can’t score” nature by some Sportcenter-only soccer fan announcer. (Yeah, I went there.)

3) Junior Flores — It might be a little creepy wearing a jersey of someone 10 to 20 years your younger. You’ll have to decide that for yourself though.

4) Luis Gil – The newest ‘first true US #10’ in the US player pool. This pick could fall into the I told you so group as well, but he’s still very young and hasn’t been called up to the Senior Team once. However, this choice also gets a knowing nod of respect because you obviously pay attention to ALL of the US National teams from the U-15s on up.

The WTF Picks

waldo1) Waldo – The home jersey screams out for someone to get Waldo on the back of it, but you’d get major bonus points from me and Dan of FBM fame if you got ‘Where Am I’ instead. Worth the extra $30??? That’s for you to decide.

2) Jurgen Klinsmann — Wear the Herr! Wear the Herr! Fear the Beard! Wear the Herr! Or just act really elitist and talk about defensive discipline when anyone asks why.

3) Rick Santorum – This one only works if a) you get the sweater-vest Away jersey, b) you agree with his politics, and c) you don’t mind having the name of the guy who didn’t make it past the semi-finals of the 2012 presidential race.

4) Your Name and Number – If only US Soccer had scouted your U-6 Rec League matches properly… Note: If you’re last name is “Bornstein,” “Casey” or “Findley,” you may do better with a selection from earlier in this piece.

5) Freedom 76 or July 4 – Quoting Christopher Lloyd form Back to the Future “Here’s a red-letter date in the history of [our country].”

6) David Beckham — You will get absolutely ZERO respect from American soccer fan clubs, but you just might have that necessary conversation starter for the four blondes sitting behind you who thought he would be playing on the day. If they ask, by the way, he’s the one that looks like Mix Diskerud out there.

Okay, I want to know:

– Who did you get on your shirt when you bought it?

– Who would you get on it if you were buying it right now?

– And, who would you recommend getting on my new threads?

56 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brian on 2012/12/17 at 12:20 PM

    I was thinking about a Wando jersey. It’s both a USMNT player and you get the waldo joke.


  2. I’ve only gotten Deuce kits since ’06, but have been tempted in the past couple of years to get MB90 or Boca. Having said that:

    -I got Dempsey on the sweater vest
    -I’d get Bradley on the Waldo (future captain, such class)
    -You should get Morgan (only half-kidding…MB90 is my pick)


  3. Posted by Steve on 2012/12/17 at 12:41 PM

    Eric Lichaj – the ultimate hipster pick!


  4. I got Joshua Gatt before his debut – so unfortunately the jersey I have has the wrong number on it! I choose his home team #22, but it’s still going to hold up!


  5. Posted by Z on 2012/12/17 at 12:57 PM

    People do remember that Eric Wynalda’s nickname was Waldo, right? Right?


  6. Posted by dfstell on 2012/12/17 at 12:57 PM

    I just get mine plain. I’m 39 and think it is kinda weird for a grown man to have the name of someone more than a decade younger than himself.

    But…to each their own. If I HAD to have a name, I’d probably go for a throwback guy like Tab.


  7. Rapinoe #15 is on my Christmas list.


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/17 at 2:04 PM

      Choosing my woman’s jersey won’t be a problem…Rapinoe is who I’m going to point out to my daughter when we’re watching the games.


  8. Posted by Durdledaturtle on 2012/12/17 at 1:53 PM

    Proud owner of a ‘Dolo World Cup shirt. I asked my fiancé to get it as a bday present. See asked me “who the heck is that?” My response? “Only the baddest mofo on the team.” I’ve had many casual soccer people ask why I chose him as well.


  9. Posted by Jason on 2012/12/17 at 1:58 PM

    I actually do have one with my name and number but in my defense we got them for a old balls tournament over the summer (and it’s not even a real replicate). My real shirt is a 2010 Deuce #8


  10. Posted by Jim on 2012/12/17 at 2:12 PM

    My friend still wears his #13 Sky Blue Cobi Jones jersey- you remember that one, right? The third jersey from the ’98 WC qualifying campaign. I thought it was sweet back then, though now I think the color choice was a bid odd.

    I’m debating on whether or not to chalk up the cash for a new customized Waldo kit. If I do, I’ll probably go with Bradley. If I were to go throwback, I’d almost certainly go with McBride- though Ramos, Reyna, Stewart, Wynalda would all be solid choices.


  11. Posted by evan on 2012/12/17 at 2:28 PM

    you forgot Osvaldo Alonso in the “Dreamer Picks”…


    • Posted by Joe on 2012/12/29 at 8:36 AM

      I don’t think he is eligible due to the fact that he played for the Cuban National team.


  12. Posted by gladis on 2012/12/17 at 3:52 PM

    I bought a Donovan jersey. if i bought right now it would be bradley. i recommend bradley.


  13. Posted by Steven on 2012/12/17 at 4:11 PM

    My first US jersey was 2006 WC Beasley. I wore it to the 2007 Gold Cup which is still the best game I have ever been to live. Other player jerseys I have gotten is Donovan and Balboa. Right now, I go with a jersey without the player. If I had to pick one now it would be Fabian Johnson. The jerseys that I would love to get but can’t justify it is Freddy and Benny. If Benny could find his way back into the rotation I wouldn’t think twice.

    Off topic question that I was thinking about the other day: What will happen first, USA
    win the World Cup or not qualify? My heart says win it, but my brain says not qualify.


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/17 at 6:00 PM

      The odds are failing to qualify since winning it is hallowed ground that few nations have set foot on. Though, there really isn’t any reason we should fail to qualify other than a junk punch from the soccer gods.


  14. Posted by crazymike366 on 2012/12/17 at 9:27 PM

    You forgot the ultimate timeless pick – Bert Patenaude – scorer of the first World Cup hat trick in 1930.

    I’d realistically go with ‘Herc’ because I’m in Vegas. Gotta rep the local hero when ya can.


  15. I’ve got Dempsey and Holden already. Kind of leaning for a Mix for my next one if I don’t go with Bradley.


  16. Posted by Bryan on 2012/12/18 at 8:24 AM

    My waldo kit is – General Bradley 4, and my blue kit is Road to Brasil 14.


  17. Semi-vintage top pick: John O’Brien. Hipster-timeless: Clint Mathis


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/12/18 at 9:11 AM

      O’Brien — that’s classic. Maybe should’ve been above in the Dreamer category?


  18. State Name and the # or order of when that state entered the Union, the United STATES of America..

    Ohio #17, Iowa #29.. Great when going to AO events around the country to see where people are from.


    • I have: (i) 2006 WC white 22 Onyewu jersey….great uni, crummy WC; (ii) 2009 WC qualifying anthracite jersey with my last name and #40….a 40th bday present; and (iii) 2011 gold cup red sash #8 Dempsey jersey….just because. My next one will be MB90, the next time they come out with a design I would wear. Don’t hate the current ones – just not my thing.


  19. When I was in Columbus for the WC qualifier against Jamaica, I saw one of the ’94 squiggly red striped jerseys that said Jones 13 on it and though “why did someone get an old Jersey like that and then put Jermaine Jones’ name and number on the back?” (I’m a newer US fan and it took me a minute to get it) Then it hit me like a Jermaine Jones tackle, Jones 13 is the best bang for your buck because it works twice, for Cobi and Jermaine.

    Now, you want a REAL WTF pick? At that same game I saw a guy with an Altidore 17 jersey…printed on a France home jersey. I asked him about it and he said it had something to to do with it getting messed up when the jersey was ordered from China or something dumb like that. Either way, he is probably the only person who has a Jozy Altidore France jersey.

    As for myself, the risk taker/ desire to be ahead of the curve in me really wants a Brek Shea or Josh Gatt jersey, but the safe, want-to-make-sure-I-don’t-throw-away-my-money part of me wants a Michael Bradley jersey. He is the safest pick with the most years.


  20. Posted by Mike on 2012/12/18 at 1:30 PM

    I got a Freddy Adu jersey after his amazing gold cup game. Even though aftterwards he fell off the cliff (again), its fun to fake such optimism and declare him the ” future of US soccer. World Cup 2018 here we come!”


  21. Posted by Mike on 2012/12/18 at 2:45 PM

    What, no Alan Gordon? Would be a great conversation starter.
    “…dude can drop a cross in the 90th minute on a soaked cricket-divot filled narrow field”


  22. Posted by dikranovich on 2012/12/18 at 4:13 PM

    matthew, can we get a little chuckle with regards to your sKc tweet?


  23. i would def get a Bradley shirt right now. or maybe a Kelly O’Hara
    just bought my (3 yr old) son a Dempsey Spurs Jersey.

    Id also get a lichaj. hes starting now at villa now, right? where’s the love?


    • Posted by cpjuengel on 2012/12/19 at 7:37 AM

      i have lots of t shirts, but my current USMNT jersey count is 1: the 2008 (no name) because it’s the best looking jersey theyve ever worn. although i am a big fan of the new thicker red hoops


      • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/19 at 9:33 AM

        I would agree that the 2008 is a good looking shirt; I didn’t like it at first but it grew on me and now it’s one of my favorites.

        The 2006 World Cup shirt is also a good looking rendition, but the crest is a bit too big.


  24. Posted by ms on 2012/12/19 at 7:50 AM

    no ALTIDORE!?


  25. Posted by s44 on 2012/12/19 at 12:30 PM

    “This one can really go either way after he commits to the Austrian National Team.”

    Hahaha! Great.
    At this point I’d probably bet on Guzan and not Howard though.


  26. Posted by kaya on 2012/12/19 at 2:01 PM

    Timmy Chandler for my comedy entry. Fabian Johnson… hmmm. Maybe left-backs aren’t sexy jersey choices, but it’s historically a sore spot, and besides those sexy eyes of his make up for it.


  27. Perhaps a little snobby, but jersey with number but no name. Those in the know, know…


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/20 at 9:43 AM

      On another shirt I’d agree, but the current hooped version looks weird with a number and no name due to the large white block on the back that the number doesn’t quite fill up…in fact, I think it looks a little weird with shorter names too.


  28. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/12/19 at 9:16 PM

    No Wegerle in the timeless section?!


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/20 at 10:00 AM

      Apologies to Mr. Wegerle, he was a touch before my time and isn’t quite the household name his skills deserve. But Ramos and Caligiuri are names that stick out for me; someone who didn’t start following the USMNT until around WC ’98 when Wegerle was in the twilight of his career.


  29. Posted by gino744 on 2012/12/19 at 10:30 PM

    My first USMNT jersey with a name on it was a #3 Bocanegra-Captain America.
    If I were buying a new jersey with a name on it I’d lean towards Bradley. I already have a Dempsey jersey and Bradley is the next Captain America.
    Three recommendations for the new threads: First, wait until the newest WC kits come out. I’m not a fan of the Waldo hoops. Second, get a sleeper like Lichaj or Gatt. Third, if you can’t wait for the new unis, search like crazy for my personal favorite, the classic but underachieving ’98 WC jersey with McBride on the back.


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/20 at 9:41 AM

      Finding a blank ’98 is easy enough, getting #20 and McBride on the back is probably going to be near impossible at least in all of the avenues I’ve traversed.


    • Posted by Nick on 2012/12/20 at 9:54 AM

      Also, I’ve already got the actual shirt (not the replica) with the box on the front and back waiting for the name & number…not getting it printed at this point would look a bit weird.


  30. Does anyone know where one can buy a 1994 denim jersey?


  31. Posted by K on 2012/12/26 at 1:24 PM

    2014 Pontius jersey. A man can dream…


  32. Posted by Joe on 2012/12/29 at 8:48 AM

    2010 Holden jersey. Thought he was going to be the greatest midfield general and had to stake claim of knowing this early. Hopeful I am still right.


  33. Posted by Jennifer on 2012/12/29 at 5:16 PM

    I have 5 US jerseys. A 1999 Mia Hamm and ’02 WC blank home jersey (and shorts). I have the ’06 WC home jersey with McBride and then the ’06 WC away jersey and the ’10 WC home jersey, both with Cherundolo. I actually got Dolo to sign the ’06 one last year when the team played Honduras in Miami. Don’t know who my next buy will be but I really want to get a Hannover jersey before Dolo retires. Guess you can tell I’m a fan.

    For the timeless picks you could go Friedel ’02.


  34. […] If you missed it, Fab Johnson’s jersey is top’o'the list on our prolific and popular USMNT Jersey Guide. […]


  35. Posted by Doug on 2013/07/09 at 8:36 PM

    McBride. # 20.


  36. Best Halloween Costume Idea….

    #15 Brolden shirt and then duct-tape a hair-styling mannequin head to your shoulder. Given the gloriousness of Stu’s coif means that you’ll likely need to shave your head or wear a bald-cap and have the mannequin rock the immaculate coif.


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