Why Ireland Home Kits are Popular with Irish Americans
There are a significant number of American citizens who have an ancestral link to Ireland. During the 1800s a large number of Irish people immigrated to America, a recent census reports nearly 12% of the American population to have a link with Ireland. With Irish heritage being very patriotic and a significant increase in the popularity of soccer within the USA the Ireland football jersey is becoming a frequent sight on American streets.
Since 1994 Umbro have produced the Ireland football jersey, in 2009 a new deal was signed securing an on-going agreement until 2020.
The Ireland home kits are traditionally a green shirt with white shorts. A stylish new away kit has recently been released. The shirt features a subtle charcoal and black vertical striped design.
The polo neck collar and white logos create an understated design inspired by the team’s regeneration with new young players.
Many international soccer kits do not feature a sponsor as they are not permitted to be displayed during matches by the FIFA Governing Body. The Ireland Home Kits and new away strip are sold with the teams official sponsor telecommunications company Three.
The €7.5m deal was signed in 2010 for a 4 year period; Three’s sponsorship not only covers the national team but also grassroots soccer in the country.
There is strong sense of culture and heritage surrounding Irish people around the world. Irish Americans whilst enjoying their Americanised lifestyle retain their connection to Ireland.
Since the 1960s soccer has been steadily increasing in popularity in America and is now the third most played team sport. In terms of support many Irish Americans choose to wear the Ireland home kits as opposed to a USA soccer jersey.
The Irish National football team played their first match during the Summer Olympics of 1924. The team’s most successful period was during the late 1980s and early 1990s during which time they qualified for their first ever FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship.
In 1990 the team that wear the Ireland football jersey reached the World Cup quarterfinal their best finish to date.
Recent years have seen little success for the players in their green Ireland home kits. They have not qualified for a World Cup since 2002, and have recently failed for the upcoming tournament in Brazil 2014.
The teams last 4 matches have seen 3 defeats against Spain, Sweden and Austria, they drew 0-0 in a friendly against Wales in August.
In comparison the USA national team has had a series of recent successes. They have qualified for every World Cup since 1990 including next year’s tournament in Brazil. They have also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup on 5 occasions.
However, despite this success the strong heritage of Irish Americans keeps them loyally purchasing the Irish home kits as opposed to the American one.
In September the Irish team parted with their manager Giovanni Trapattoni and the position currently remains vacant. An incoming of new young talent alongside a new manager may improve the team’s future hopes for success.
Ireland home kits are likely to remain a popular purchase amongst Irish Americans whether the team win or lose.
Who do you think would make a good replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni?
Do you like the design of the new Irish away jersey?