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More polyester than pizzazz – rating Copa America manager fashion

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More polyester than pizzazz – rating Copa America manager fashion

From the Hollywood hills to the streets of Manhattan and everywhere in between, the United States has been a world leader when it comes to setting fashion trends.

And with the country hosting Copa America, was The Athletic wrong to expect more daring looks from the 16 managers?

I wasn’t asking for double denim, Vogue cover shoots or a Met Gala procession but I had hoped to be served with a little more pizzazz.

Cowboy hats, blue jeans, biker jackets and aviator sunglasses are more Switzlerland’s Murat Yakin’s domain at the Euros. But I hoped for more than a few Goodfellas suits, a coach with a sneaker addiction, a lot of polyester and one pair of shorts.

So here’s a glance at Copa America 2024’s managerial looks to find out who is and isn’t ‘rocking the continent’…


Lionel Scaloni — Argentina 

Can you call a Copa America and World Cup winning manager basic? Lionel Scaloni wouldn’t care if you did.

The 46-year-old is relaxed to be repping the same Adidas tracksuit as his backroom staff. He did it in Brazil in 2021 when they won Copa America and in Qatar in 2022 as they won the World Cup — and now he has taken the band on a U.S. tour.

The Eric Bana lookalike sees beyond self. His style irrelevant, the team his focus. In his Argentina shell suit, he has (when not serving a ban) been strutting around his technical area like John Travolta in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever.

Lionel Scaloni watches on as Argentina play Chile


(Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

I’m not swiping right on the Adidas Pureboost 23 running shoes, however comfortable they look. The purplish-blue and orange feels offensive to the sweet celeste of Argentina’s flag.

Scaloni made up for it when he wore a 1994 replica Argentina jacket to a recent press conference in New Jersey. And he still has plenty of points in the bag for the vintage shirt he pulled on after Argentina won the World Cup. It was his own shirt from when he captained Argentina to the under-20s World Cup in 1997.


(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Maybe another meaningful fashion moment awaits him in Miami on July 14?


Jorge Fossati Peru

Jorge Fossati is the oldest manager at this year’s Copa and in the politest possible way he dresses like it.

The 71-year-old, a goalkeeper in his youth capped three times by Uruguay, has managed 24 teams in a career spanning 31 years. For that reason he strikes me as a Montevideo man with stories to share over a bottle of Malbec.

I did wonder if he had taken it a button too far when undoing his white shirt but in doing so it revealed the prayer beads around his neck.

Unfortunately for Fossati, nothing could save Peru’s tournament. They crashed out after finishing bottom of Group A behind Argentina, Canada and Chile.

Peru head coach Jorge Fossati

Ricardo Gareca Chile 

Ricardo Gareca’s Copa America get up would never have suggested he is a player who started his career with Boca Juniors, played alongside Diego Maradona and boldly crossed the divide to play for River Plate.

Gareca, a former Argentina forward, was handed a comfy Adidas tracksuit like he was arriving at summer camp and asked no questions. El Tigre, as he is referred to by some, rocks a Snape-style haircut coolly.

And even though Gareca’s trainers match with Scaloni’s, his Chile side did not prove to be. The tracksuit is a letdown.

Chile head coach Ricardo Gareca stands in the technical area

Jesse Marsch Canada 

Shorts. I never thought we would see the day.

Jesse Marsch’s homecoming has been a bold one. Even in the hottest climates it is rare to see a manager go bare legged like the Wisconsin-native did in Kansas City for Canada’s game against Peru. (Admittedly, it was very hot.)

Did he have a family trip to Trader Joe’s lined up after the match?

There is a movement that Marsch may well now be a leader of. That movement is called Men Wearing Shorts In All Weathers (MWSIAW). Getting Canada out of a group that had Argentina in was a win, wearing shorts could prove to be a bigger one.

Canada manager Jesse Marsch points from the sideline


(Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Jaime Lozano Mexico

This is it. Navy suit, white shirt, no tie and Adidas Sambas.

Jaime Lozano dressed like a man who could get Mexico firing at Copa America — the only problem was their batteries kept falling out. After a favourable draw in Group B with teams ranked no higher than 30th in the world (Venezuela, Ecuador, Jamaica), Mexico were dumped out of the competition having scored one goal in three games.

Lozano dresses like the future of Mexican footballing ideology, with the swagger of a 45-year-old coach who had the confidence to cut some big names from his roster. Raul Jimenez, Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano and Henry Martin, who have 60 international goals and 217 caps between them, were all left out.

This was part of Lozano’s process to incorporate a fresher generation of players. But in trying to restore Mexico, he seems to have struggled to get them out of reverse.

In the end, his dazzling suit and leather Sambas with their off-white stripes were the highlight. But just like the season of Sambas is fading fast, so too is Mexico’s.

Mexico's coach Jaime Lozano looks on


(Aric Becker/AFP via Getty Images)

Felix Sanchez Ecuador

Former Barcelona youth coach Felix Sanchez looks a happy chap. It makes a change after what happened at his last major tournament.

The 48-year-old Spaniard managed Qatar at the World Cup they hosted in 2022 but ended pointless. This time things are different. Ecuador won four points and made it out of Group B alive.

Sanchez is another coach who has opted for the tracksuit bottoms and workout polo as his pitchside uniform.

Yes it’s boring but what I most like about it is the unique brand he’s wearing. Marathon are an original Ecuadorian sportswear company founded in 1981 and manufacture the team’s kits. It just feels right.

Those Nike Pegasus Turbo road runners might be needed when Ecuador face Argentina in the round of 16.

Felix Sanchez Bas, head coach of Ecuador smiles looking towards his players


(Alvaro Davila/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Fernando Batista — Venezuela

Fernando Batista means business. His black Adidas ensemble with the aptly-named Solar Glide trainers helped him sail through Group B.

The 53-year-old Argentine has breathed life into Venezuelan football. Not only have they made it to the quarter-finals of the tournament but they did so by beating Ecuador, Mexico and Jamaica along the way.

They conceded once, scored six times and notched nine points. Of all the polyester on display, this black and white effort feels classic.

Fernando Batista, head coach of Venezuela


(Alvaro Davila/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Heimir Hallgrimsson Jamaica

That Jude Bellingham pose has caught on.

Heimir Hallgrimsson wore a hoody and may well have wanted to pull it over his head during a woeful group stage for Jamaica.

The Reggae Boyz lost all three games and, after their 3-0 defeat to Venezuela, the Icelandic dentist resigned from the job he took up in September 2022.

I hope he gets to keep the hoody. It will come in handy during those cold winters in Heimaey, the remote island off the south coast of Iceland where he lives.

Heimir Hallgrimsson, Head Coach of Jamaica

Gregg Berhalter United States

There’s a scene at the end of the 1986 movie Stand By Me when a young kid is waiting for his dad to finish writing so they can go out. He says disappointingly to his friend: “He gets like that when he’s writing.”

I imagine this is the same deep state of focus Gregg Berhalter finds himself in when searching for Nike’s next hottest sneaker drop.

During the USMNT’s dismal three-game outing, which ended with them being dumped from their home tournament after a 1-0 loss to Uruguay, Berhalter managed to sneak in four pairs of 2024 releases.

The Futura Laboratories x Nike Dunk Low SB felt fun with their vibrant ‘Bleached Aqua’ tones.

His Air Jordan 4s in Military Blue are a reboot of the original from 1989. Blink and you may have missed the Nike P-6000 ‘Premium Hemp’ pair he arrived to the stadium in Atlanta in for the game against Panama.

Berhalter also added in pair of Air Jordan 3s into rotation and for good measure. Designed by artist Nina Chanel Abney, the ‘Bicoastal’ efforts were released last month.

As for the USMNT, they were released this month.


Marcelo Bielsa Uruguay

Festival season is upon us and while you can never go wrong with a bucket hat, how about a bucket to sit on?

OK, so, Marcelo Bielsa’s new Powerade cooler box seat is not quite the old, blue bucket he made famous during his four years at Elland Road. But it has had an NFL-style upgrade.

The wheels and adjustable handle mean he can move it about the technical area with ease. I look forward to reading a Wirecutter review on the best Bielsa buckets on the market when he returns to the touchline for the quarter-final having served a one-match ban against the USMNT.

Long live the bucket king (wearing all black).


(Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas Christiansen — Panama 

Thomas Christiansen is a suit and tie kinda guy who just schmoozed his way into the afterparty he wasn’t invited to.

He turned up at Copa America looking like the new host of a late-night talk show and waltzed Panama out of Group C.

With a Copenhagen coolness and mirror-shined shoes, the 51-year-old led his team to victory over the USMNT and Bolivia. And they are the only side wearing Reebok at the tournament, no less.

I don’t think he will be needing to wear his lanyard quite as visibly at the home of the Arizona Cardinals for the quarter-final on July 6. He is one of the best dressed and his Panama team have impressed.

Thomas Christiansen


(Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Antonio Carlos Zago — Bolivia

Perhaps time was always ticking on Bolivia’s tournament. Their Brazilian manager Antonio Carlos Zago chose a classic watch for the occasion.

When you play in more than 100 games as a central defender for Roma, the style of the eternal city can never leave you.

The 55-year-old showed he was prepared to mix it up too. He wore a suit in Texas for a showdown with the tournament hosts followed by a more leisurely look in the following game against Panama.

The tennis ball-coloured Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 runners he donned in New Jersey for Bolivia’s 5-0 drubbing by Uruguay were bright enough to bring the planes in at Newark Liberty international airport.

Antonio Carlos Zago


(Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images)

Dorival Junior Brazil

Brazil’s head coach is trying to keep his feet firmly in the tournament with his Nike Premier 3 football shoes.

He is also running it back to 1998 with a classic white and blue track top and matching bottoms.

This is the 62-year-old’s 26th coaching job and he looks relaxed with the badge on his chest — an opportunity he perhaps thought would never come. He has managed eight of the country’s 12 big clubs and here he is heading up the national team in a retro classic.

Head coach of Brazil, Dorival Junior


(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Nestor Lorenzo — Colombia

Not many people can say they have played football for Swindon Town and Boca Juniors.

Nestor Lorenzo can. The Colombia coach, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was hot property after starring in defensive midfield for Argentina at the the World Cup in 1990. Lorenzo, now 58, was on the losing side at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome as West Germany won 1-0, and later moved to Swindon.

Out in the U.S., he is hoping to guide Colombia to their second Copa America title after a maiden victory in 2001. A red and black gingham shirt has already been a staple for Lorenzo after wins against Paraguay and Costa Rica earned Colombia qualification into the round of 16 with a game to spare.

How lucky can it be?

Nestor Lorenzo


(Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Daniel Garnero Paraguay

With a slight look of former Germany national team manager Joachim Low, Daniel Garnero is in the Copa manager WhatsApp group and told everyone that he too will be wearing the tracksuit.

His all-Puma showing has been a break from the hold Adidas and Nike have on the tournament.

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Nevertheless, Paraguay are paragliding out of the tournament after being in a group with Colombia, Brazil and Costa Rica.

Paraguay manager Daniel Garnero


(Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gustavo Alfaro Costa Rica 

Even the Californian heat didn’t get in the way of Gustavo Alfaro wearing a good suit.

Did he just get back from an important meeting with clients? He is absolutely the type of suit wearer who never boards a plane in comfies.

Ran out of milk? You bet he goes the shop in his cufflinks.

The Argentine, who will be 62 next month, was one of the best dressed managers in Qatar back in 2022 and is so once again.

Gustavo Alfaro, Head Coach of Costa Rica


(Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

(Photos: Getty Images; design: Dan Goldfarb)

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