The new Socceroos kit combines the best in performance innovation with evocative design details that capture the unique and pioneering spirit of Australia, paying homage to the 1974 national team.
Current Socceroos Mark Bresciano, Michael Zullo and coach Ange Postecoglou were joined by Socceroos legends from each decade from the 1960s onwards, for the official launch in Walsh Bay, Sydney.
The jersey's vibrant yellow was inspired by the color worn 40 years ago. When Australia reached the 1974 finals for the first time in West Germany, it was a remarkable achievement. Today, the players from that team are still revered as pioneers and heroes.
"The Socceroos will take on the world in Brasil, determined to represent every Australian by showing the same spirit that binds the fabric of our country," said Socceroos Coach Ange Postecoglou. "The 1974 team were trailblazers for our country and the 2014 Socceroos will wear a strip that will help inspire our players to represent the values of Australia by paying tribute to the 1974 team."
The jersey boasts a modern green Johnny collar, another reference to the iconic 1974 Socceroos kit. Nike’s design team crafted the Australian coat of arms on the chest of the jersey within a new shield that replicates the shape of the crest worn on the jerseys at the 1974 tournament, and fulfills the current Socceroos’ stated desire to “feel the history of our country.”
Inside the back of the neck is a woven pennant tab featuring Football Federation Australia’s logo surrounded by the famous quote, “We Socceroos can do the impossible,” uttered by Peter Wilson, the captain of the 1974 Australian squad.
"In addition to providing the latest performance and design innovation, our aim is to celebrate each country's national pride," said Martin Lotti, Creative Director Nike Football. "We looked at the way Australia qualified in 1974. These same determined qualities endure today and we wanted to reflect them in a kit that celebrates Australia's history and inspires the team that will play in Brasil."
The kit aids performance by helping to regulate player body temperature over the course of match. By using a combination of Nike Dri-FIT technology, “burnout” mesh and laser-cut ventilation holes, designers are able to localize cooling where players need it most.
Nike Dri-FIT technology pulls moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment where it evaporates more quickly. Laser-cut ventilation holes and engineered mesh in key areas where heat is generated allow for increased breathability and airflow across the skin.
“By managing sweat and keeping the body cooler longer, players feel more comfortable, sweat less and perform better,” said Lotti.
In addition to keeping players cool, the kit is made with a new dual-knit fabrication that incorporates cotton and recycled polyester for the best in moisture-wicking properties, while adding a softer feel and more flattering shape.
In line with Nike’s commitment to superior performance with lower environmental impact, the shirt, short - and for the first time in an Australian national team kit, the socks - all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (100 percent recycled polyester in the shorts, 96 percent recycled polyester in the shirt and 78 percent in the socks). Each kit is made using an average of 18 recycled plastic bottles. Since 2010, Nike has diverted almost 2 billion bottles from landfills, enough to cover more than 2,800 full-sized football pitches.
“Incorporating environmental sustainability is a key part of the design and development process for us,” said Lotti. “Our aim is to create a kit that performs for players and is good to the planet.”
Designers utilized three-dimensional body scans of elite footballers to collect data on the form of today’s players and identify an updated fit, improving comfort and allowing the body to move more naturally within the kit.
While looking at every element of the modern football kit, Nike designers even paid special attention to the kit’s socks. Combining athlete insight and research with new materials and fabrications, the Nike Elite Match Fit sock for 2014 features a sleeker fit specific to football. Strategically cushioned zones provide comfort and protection at the big toe and ankle bones where the majority of impact occurs, while arch support locks down the foot to help prevent slipping. Material was also eliminated to enhance touch and decrease bulk, and flex grooves were added to the ankle and the top of the foot to prevent bunching.
The new Nike Pro baselayer is the lightest ever from Nike and features increased venting and breathability.
Players have a variety of Nike Pro baselayer styles to choose from. These are designed for the varying temperatures and conditions athletes will encounter in Brasil, which are expected to range from high heat during mid-day matches to much colder temperatures in the southern locations during evening games.
Nike has redesigned its baselayer short for 2014 taking insights directly from some of the best players in the world.
“When we asked players to talk about the kind of protection they need during a match, they showed us scars and abrasions on their upper-back hip area from sliding,” recalled Lotti. “Several players showed us these same injuries so we set out to add more protection, while balancing the need for lightweight and breathability.”
The result is the Nike Pro Combat Ultralight Slider Short. Featuring increased and adjusted abrasion protection zones to match the athlete’s sliding pattern, the short is also 20 percent lighter than previous versions and made with 87 percent recycled polyester. Weight was eliminated through the addition of mesh for increased breathability, which also provides cooling where the athlete generates heat.