There are five stages to grief. Denial, Anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Over the last few months, it seems like many (including myself) have gone through all these stages regarding one pressing issue in Canadian soccer…no new World Cup kit. As we all come to terms with this, let’s reflect back on the five stages starting with the first one that stretches back to sealing qualification in March – denial.
It’s March, and you’re ecstatic that Canada has secured Qatar 2022 qualification and are hyped about the prospect of a new kit to proudly don as Les Rouge stepped out onto the World Stage. But then you start hearing rumors and rumblings that Canada wasn’t getting a new World Cup kit, due to the terms of their current agreement with their shirt sponsor Nike.
Even so, you tell yourself it’ll get resolved. The Canadian Soccer Association loves a dollar (or $250 in the case of if you want to buy a jersey – definitely not just a black Nike top with a Canada logo…), and Nike also love a quick buck and it’s in both parties interest to come to a solution. You also tell yourself that most Nike kits are templates anyway, it can’t be that hard for them to just say slap together a red version of the USA kit and call it the Canada home shirt right…right?
It’s June, and not only are the CMNT are on strike, we’re starting to learn more about the limitations of the CSA. You’re starting to get frustrated and are now starting to assume the worst. Fast forward a few months, and those fears regarding the kit are coming true.
Other Nike teams such as Brazil, USA and England are releasing/leaking their World Cup and meanwhile, Canada are looking more and more likely to not bring out a kit. You’re annoyed, you’re sharing your frustrations on Twitter or Reddit, and you’re demanding change from the CSA as a result. This was Canada’s big chance to announce itself as a soccer country, yet while the other thirty-one teams all have shiny new kits, we’re still in our old clothes.
S. 2 Ep. 05 – Canada Conquers Courageous Curaçao – FC13 Podcast
You’re seeing more and more World Cup kits from Nike, Adidas, and Puma, and you’re coming to a conclusion – a lot of them are bad. Real bad (I’m looking at you, especially Puma). You’re now telling yourself, “Canada dodged a bullet! It’s lucky that we don’t have a horrible-looking kit like Portugal or the USA have”. You also look at Puma kits like Switzerland and Ghana and also think to yourself, “yeah, we got lucky”.
While Canada’s kits aren’t exactly the soccer equivalents of the Mona Lisa, they are offensively bad, they’re completely fine. Crucially, it’s the kits associated with Canada’s finest Soccer achievement since 1985. All three kits, especially the red home and black alternative kits are associated now with iconic Canadian soccer moments. While we won’t have new kits, perhaps it’s good that we get to give these iconic kits a proper send off on the biggest stage?
So you’re not getting what you think will be a new but bad World world cup kit. But deep down, you still want there to be a new World Cup kit, even if it does looks bad. The World Cup is a party, everyone has shown shown up in a new party outfit except Canada. You suspect that outside looking in, people around the world are puzzled about the kit situation, and you don’t think it reflects well on a country that is having to still prove itself in terms of being a soccer nation.
You’ve waited years for this, you’ve gone through years of constantly playing second fiddle in CONCACAF, you’ve went through the likes of Honduras 8 – Canada 1 and now that things are going great, things like this remind you that Canada still has a long way to go. You’re starring at the current kits online, thinking to yourself, “could they look better”? While they’re not bad, you acknowledge that the white and black kits are literally just white and black Nike kits with a Canada Soccer badge slapped on them. You wish that there was something more bold and or iconic to look forward to as Canada return to the worlds biggest stage for the first time since 1986. But here we are, the only country going into the World Cup without a new kit, and ultimately you can’t help but feel disappointed.
No matter what, Canada will be at the World Cup. They will still be in red, and they will still be representing the hopes and teams of a nation of 38 million. You can support the team however you want, whether that be by wearing a plaid flannel shirt, a retro top, or even a Canada hockey jersey. You still have many options!
Okay, so Canada won’t have a new kit, but we’ve all gone through the five stages of griefs together as a country, and while we may not be happy about it, it does absolutely nothing to dampen the excitement of a first World Cup in a generation. Quite frankly, the Canada team that plays at the World Cup could be wearing a Canadian Tuxedo in Qatar, and I’d still be just as proud to support them!
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