At the top today is defender Shelina Zadorsky.
Ramble of the Day
A football-specific holiday season tradition that I adore is the club branded Christmas sweater. I love seeing clubs tailor their colors and aesthetics to the rubric of Christmas sweaters, both the ugly and the faux ugly ones. It inspired me to check out what the Premier League clubs are offering this holiday season, and the group of them truly demonstrated that the template of a Christmas sweater is not limiting.
Brentford had a very classic Christmas sweater, and seamlessly integrated the club’s colors, name, and the image of the bee. I like that it doesn’t obviously signal Brentford; it’s a wonderful meeting point for club apparel and Christmas sweater. (That isn’t true for Burnley’s Christmas sweater, which I’d argue sacrifices design for the sake of identity.) It probably helps Brentford’s case significantly that the club’s shade of red is perfect for a look like this.
That doesn’t mean one can’t have fun with an unconventional color scheme, though. I find Norwich’s Christmas sweater to be perfectly hideous. This is the perfect thing to do when you have a color scheme as garish as Norwich’s — keep the design standard and let the colors do the talking. I credit the design team for realizing that fading into the background was not an option, and crating the definition of a Norwich Christmas sweater. (Before I move on, I’d just like to say that there probably needs to be more discourse on this color combination.)
There are several clubs that opted out of a pattern and instead went for an image of some sort, and I think Leicester’s is the most tasteful. It feels like a classic in the genre, and does a good job of giving off the peaceful snowfall vibe.
Manchester City’s sweater is possibly the only one with ornaments at the center of its design, creating a sweater that is horrible in its own right. It’s poorly designed in a way that I don’t think truly embraces the chaos of the usual ugly Christmas sweater, but it is still ugly so I have to give it some credit for that.
I only respect ugly when it looks like there was some originality and effort put into it, though. I don’t think this Liverpool sweater is an example of either. I see exactly what they were trying to do; I just do not remotely respect it.
tl;dr: Here are a few Premier League clubs’ Christmas seaters, some wonderful and some ugly. (I’d also argue that the Norwich sweater is both.)
Stay informed, read this: Emma John’s obituary of England women’s cricket pioneer Eileen Ash, who died this month aged 110 for the Guardian
Links of the Day
The Premier League said 77% of players are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
All sporting events in Wales will be held behind closed doors from Boxing Day because of rising COVID-19 cases.
The Washington Spirit hired Kris Ward as the team’s head coach following his stint in an interim role.
Mexico lost its appeal against FIFA’s punishment for supporters using anti-gay chants, and will play its next two 2022 home World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors.
A longer read: Andrew Golden on a partnership between the Black Women’s Player Collective and Voice in Sport to mentor Black female footballers for The Washington Post