*WARNING: The following story may contain football kit images some viewers may find upsetting*
The 1970s razzmatazz of the North American Soccer League brought glamour, colour and flair to a curious Stateside audience.
The league’s franchises snapped up many of the world’s most exciting players and gave imaginative names and identities to their teams, in a bold attempt to bring soccer to the masses.
Attracted by a new adventure and a fistful of dollars, Pele and Franz Beckenbauer famously joined the New York Cosmos, whilst the LA Aztecs signed George Best.
Former QPR & Manchester City maverick Rodney Marsh made Florida his home with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Dutch master Johan Cruyff played for the Washington Diplomats and LA Aztecs.
Meanwhile in Denver, the western inspired Colorado Caribous took to the field at the Mile High Stadium in most probably the worst football kit ever seen on God’s green earth.
Founded with the help of music producer Jim Guercio, the side took their name from his Caribou Ranch studios which played host to stars including Watford legend Elton John and Chicago (It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry).
“BROWN & TAN”
In 1978, the Caribous of Colorado played in the unconventional colour combination of brown and tan whilst wearing an innovative frilly band of leather across their chests which ran under their arms and round to their backs to make them look like soccer playing cowboys.
That band of leather, stitched to the shirts by legendary Chicago based all-American sportswear heroes Medalist-Sand Knit, was originally longer but had to be trimmed to prevent it hitting opposition players in the eyes.
Guercio’s well-intentioned marketing gimmicks tried to create excitement and build an identity for the team that Soccer Moms and kids could latch on to, but players entering the field wearing Stetsons didn’t catch on and sadly, the Caribous migrated south to become the Atlanta Chiefs after just one season.
Although an April Fool’s Day trick by MLS’ side Colorado Rapids (see image above) fooled only the most foolish fans into believing the look was coming back for one night only, thankfully we have not seen faux-leather tassels on football kits in the 40 years since the Caribous headed for pastures new.
Was this really the worst football kit the world has ever seen?
What’s your nomination for soccer’s most appalling strip?
Please let us know in the comments below!