Forget about new math. Romania is taking up a new approach to stitch uniform numbers on their jerseys for their men’s soccer team.

Imagine a world in which Wayne Gretzky wore the uniform number 33 x 3 or Joe Montana wore the uniform number 12 + 4. Michael Jordan wore 29 – 6, retired and then returned wearing the number 9 x 5. In order to know the player’s real uniform number, you would have had to do a simple mathematics problem to figure it out.

In an effort to help promote math to children in its country, Romania has swapped out traditional uniform numbers for short mathematic equations on their men’s soccer jerseys. The special jerseys were worn in an international friendly against Spain Sunday.

“Football and mathematics are not mutually exclusive,” said the Romanian Football Federation president, Razvan Burleanu. “We must look at sports and education as not only complementary but fundamental elements integrated in the training and perfection of children. We want to have healthy generation and smart students who achieve performance and tools through tailored passions. Through this project, children will learn the basics of football and have an opportunity for the first time in our country – to discover mathematics through an attractive approach.”

As noted by The Guardian, Romania owns one of the worst dropout rates in Europe, with a reported 18 percent of students dropping out of school. Taking a new stance on uniform numbers is an interesting tactic, and given the visibility of soccer in Europe, it should stand to reason this will send a pretty loud message to the nation.

On a related note, I would love to know how a new math uniform number would be designed in the United States.

[The Guardian/Photo: EPA]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.