5
Apr

Brazuca travels the world with six cameras inside of it

We found out late last year that Brazuca, the official match ball for the 2014 World Cup, was beloved by many. Just one day in Brazil proved that. We love it, too.

This Monday, adidas will begin to share a truly unique perspective of the beautiful game through what they have dubbed “Brazucam.” A specially created ball with six HD cameras inside of it will capture moments across the world in a way we’ve never seen before.

If this is even half as cool as we’re expecting, you won’t want to miss out on the journey. We can’t wait.

H/T Soccer Bible

26
Feb

Adidas pulls World Cup shirts with sexual innuendos

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Adidas has agreed to stop selling controversial World Cup shirts that promote “sexual tourism” after a formal complaint from the Brazilian tourism board on Tuesday.

The shirts in questions picture a bikini-clad woman with the tag line “Looking to Score,” while another reads “I (heart) Brazil” with an image of a thong bikini inside the heart. Both were limited edition T-shirts only available in the United States, according to Adidas.

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While these shirts may have gotten the ‘Sepp Blatter Seal of Approval,’ they didn’t sit well with the hosts.  Ahead of the World Cup, the Brazilian government has campaigned strongly against the country’s reputation as a destination for sex tourism.

For more on this story, go here.

17
Feb

Lionel Messi to debut bright new adizero boots

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Adidas unveiled a new edition of Lionel Messi’s signature adizero F50 cleat, and they are what you would expect: attention-grabbers.

Staying in line with adidas’ World Cup theme of accentuating bright, loud colors, Messi’s new boots will feature a sleek color scheme of green, blue, pink, orange and white. Messi will debut the new kicks on the biggest of stages: Tuesday against Manchester City in the Champions League.

As if there won’t be enough eyes on Messi, he’ll be even more noticeable jumping around in boots that look like they were colored in with highlighters that ran out of juice.

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(Images: Adidas)

5
Dec

The brazuca reminds us of Brazil’s one true love

BAHIA, BRAZIL — With all the negativity surrounding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it’s easy to forget what it was that brought the tournament here in the first place: soccer.

Before the concerns about infrastructure, stadiums, transportation, government distrust and overall cost of the world’s sporting event, there was the simply the game, and the Brazilians’ undying love for it.

On Thursday afternoon in Bahia, adidas gave me the official match ball for next summer’s World Cup. Little did I know that the ball would prove to be the apple in the eye of every Brazilian I met that day.

Every few feet, someone wanted to hold it and take a picture with it. A couple of local volunteers looked like they might cry when they had to part with it. You could see the unbridled joy in just the way people looked at what adidas is calling the “brazuca” – it’s like a holy grail to Brazilians.

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There was the young girl who asked me if it was the “oficial brazuca,” and her jaw nearly dropping to the floor when I told her yes. And when she held it, she jumped around like it was Christmas morning.

There were the two children so small they could barely wrap their arms around it, beaming with delight as they desperately held on tight.

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There was the waitress who, after a few minutes of gesturing and attempts to explain what she wanted, gave me her email so I could send her a copy of the photograph I took of her holding it.

There was the chef who took a break to come all the way out of the kitchen to the dining area just to hold, juggle and take a picture with the ball.

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There was the cheeky little boy that jokingly tried to run off with it – twice.

Despite ever-growing concern and frustration with Brazil’s World Cup, the Brazilians’ excitement and joy from something as simple as the brazuca made it clear that if there is one thing this country can find happiness in, it’s soccer.

3
Dec

Adidas unveils “brazuca,” the official 2014 World Cup ball

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She’s beautiful, isn’t she?

World Cup supplier adidas officially unveiled the ball for next summer’s extravaganza in an event at Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

The brazuca is different from any other previous World Cup ball in several ways. What you notice right away is that it consists of only six polyurethane panels, down from the Jabulani’s eight panels. This follows adidas’ trend of reducing the number of seams on their balls; adidas’ first World Cup balls consisted of thirty-two panels.

The six thermal-bonded panels are irregularly shaped, almost propeller-like, and are meant to produce faster flight speed, a more stable flight path and maintain true roundness. This should be music to the ears of goalkeepers and players who lambasted the Jabulani for its unpredictable flight path.

The surface texture of the ball is also new. The Jabulani was the first ball that featured tiny, raised nubs to improve traction and control in all weather conditions. The Brazuca also features these, but are round like on a basketball. The Jabulani’s nubs were more rectangular in shape. We’re not sophisticated enough to understand why, or even if, that makes much of a difference, though.

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Then there’s the name itself, of course. For the first time ever, adidas let fans of the World Cup host nation name the ball. Millions of Brazilians turned out to vote, with “brazuca,” an informal word used by Brazilians to describe national pride, taking 77.8% of the vote. “Bossa Nova” was a distant second in the voting.

When adidas hosted media outlets at its World Cup kickoff event last month, we learned that their innovation lab already started developing the ball three years ago, and began testing the prototype just six months later. The brazuca thus became adidas’ most tested ball ever, with over 600 players involved throughout the process. The ball was also secretly tested at this year’s Under-20 World Cup.

imageThe brazuca is adidas’ most tested ball of all time

All that hard work seems to have paid off. Many of the game’s top stars have already taken a liking to it. Take a look:

If you wish, you can also follow the ball’s journey to Brazil on Twitter:

Images courtesy of adidas.

18
Nov

adidas shows off new products, history of innovation at World Cup 2014 kickoff event

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"No one knows soccer like adidas."

Those were the first words I and about thirty other media members saw run across the screen during the video presentation at the official adidas World Cup kickoff event last Thursday, and it’s hard to argue with them; soccer is firmly encoded in the company’s DNA. Ever since founder Adi Dassler (along with his brother Rudolf, who later started Puma after a bitter rift between the siblings) made his first soccer boot in 1925, it’s been adidas’ vision to help players perform better with innovative engineering.

Dassler’s Argentina cleats ahead of the 1954 World Cup were the first that you could say truly changed the game. The new screw-in studs could be changed based 
on weather conditions, and Dassler had the German national team used them to great advantage. Down 2-0 at halftime, the Germans changed into longer studs to get better traction on the rain-soaked pitch, and rallied against heavily-favored Hungary – who did not wear adidas – in what is called the Miracle of Bern. Not coincidentally, many top players started exclusively wearing adidas boots thereafter.

Forty years later, the introduction of the Predator would redefine the business, and the sport, once more. Its unconventional rippled fins helped players increase power, swerve and control of the ball, while the new traxion stud technology provided better traction and grip, improving acceleration and lateral movement. Almost twenty years later, the Predator is still the top-selling boot of all time.

imageIt looks almost prehistoric now, but the 1994 Predator was the most popular cleat of its time.

Fast-forward to the present. For the 2014 World Cup, four new cleats were announced at the World Cup launch, each tailored for certain player types. There are the ever-popular adizero F50 and Predator models, designed for the speed and finesse players, respectively; the latest 11Pro, which is all about comfort; and the brand new energy-retaining Nitrocharge cleat, designed for those players who run and tackle the most, already worn by workhorses such as Javi Martinez and Dani Alves.

The new line of cleats, named the Samba Collection, was built for and inspired by Brazil, says Ernesto Bruce, adidas North America’s director of soccer. The company’s design team went down to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival and came back with the colorful vision for its new cleats, which are already out for sale. You can read more about each cleat in my interview with Bruce.

Of course, another big component of the presentation was the new World Cup kits, including favorites Spain, Argentina, Germany and Mexico, which unsurprisingly is the best-selling kit in the Unites States. They are all mind-blowingly light; the full kit (shirt and shorts) weighs a combined 8.8 ounces. That’s 40 percent lighter than the kits players currently wear. They’re also a sight for sore eyes:

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Giddy media members, myself included, were allowed to test out the new boots and kits in a friendly match that also featured Bruce and two honorary captains — former USA internationals Jimmy Conrad and Jeff Agoos.

I tested the new Nitrocharge cleats, and what stood out to me — other than the fact they come in the brightest neon hue possible — was the elastic EnergySling around the forefoot, designed to facilitate side cuts and precision turns. It’s a wonderful boot, and though I’m not sure how much I helped the cause, Team Germany would go on to beat Team Everyone Else, 5-3. The match ended on a truly spectacular own goal scored from a good twenty yards out by Agoos, who we figured simply wanted the game to be over with.

imageHere’s yours truly, lined up at left back next to former USA international Jeff Agoos.

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15
Nov

The Three Stripes: One-on-one with Ernesto Bruce

image Bruce explains the new inspiration behind Germany’s World Cup kits.

PORTLAND, OR — FOX Soccer was invited to the official adidas World Cup launch party in Timbers Country, and we had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with adidas America Director of Soccer, Ernesto Bruce, for an interview regarding the company’s newest innovations in kits, footwear, and of course, the new World Cup ball.

Hautmann: Mr Bruce, can you tell us a little about the new Samba Collection?

Bruce: So the Samba Pack is essentially our kickoff to the World Cup. A lot of it is based around color, but there are specific things that each cleat is meant to do for the athletes. They all undergo a lot of testing and it all starts with the F50. The F50 adizero is all about light weight for that speed player. We used special materials and brought the weight down to 5.3 ounces.

The Predator is all about control; it has what we call “lethal zones.” Again that comes from player feedback on where they touch the ball the most, so what areas they want to use for control, for swerve, accuracy and for power. Those are all built into the Predator.

The Nitrocharge is a new cleat for us this year and it’s for that energy player. Players who are doing the most tackles, who are running the most, who have that fifth gear in the 90th minute. The way we bring that to live in the cleat is through three key areas; one is the “energy sling,” a rubber material on the forefront of the boot that helps with lateral movement; next is the “energy pulse” which runs along the bottom of the forefront, and that is all about energy return, so when you push off it actually propels you forward. And the third element is protection for all those extra tackles.

Lastly, the 11Pro is all about comfort. This one is 100% leather material on the out-sole, and it also has a comfort plate on the bottom of the cleat, which means it’s softer when you touch down to the ground. It’s all about the feel of the cleat once it’s on, but also the feel of the ball to the cleat.

imageClockwise from top left: The new 11Pro, Predator, F50 and Nitrocharge

TH: Which shoe model has been your most successful?

Bruce: We have a long tradition with the Predator; next year will be our 20th anniversary for that model. It’s traditionally been our number one seller, but that has changed recently with the F50 and that’s because players have wanted a light-weight boot. They’re all about finding a light boot to help them feel faster and more agile. So players like Lionel Messi are using the F50, and that’s helped it become our best-selling boot.

TH: Let’s talk kits. Why did Germany and Spain get new-colored shorts this year?

Bruce: A lot of these federations have a lot of tradition, so they want to keep some of that tradition, but also feel more modern. We try to bring that inspiration to life in their jerseys. First of all Spain, we designed the all red kit to show the vibrancy and power of that deep red connection it has with the flag. Then there’s the golden trim to celebrate that golden era that Spain is going through. Germany brought in the white short and that is because they wanted to focus on the center of the jersey, the crest of the jersey. So it’s less about the shorts, and more about focusing on the shirt.

imageArgentina looks familiar, but Germany and Spain’s new World Cup kits steer slightly away from tradition.

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26
Oct

High-end fashion: adidas unveils Yohji Yamamoto adizero F50

Never afraid to push the envelope, adidas teamed up with award-winning Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto to launch these limited edition yet radical Yohji Yamamoto adizero F50 cleats.

Inspired by Japan’s modern sci-fi culture, Yamamoto (the same mastermind behind adidas’ Y-3 brand) crafted these gaudy boots and incorporated imperial lion-dogs who guarded Japanese emperors who lived on sacred grounds during ancient times in the design.

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Image courtesy of adidas

Yamamoto explained:

“My inspiration is a mixture of ancient traditions and modern sci-fi from Japanese culture. I hope the inspiration of the boot harmonizes the players and gives them extra confidence to express themselves without any fear. People should feel free to express themselves. Just follow your own instinct.”

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Image courtesy of adidas

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura are just few of the world footballers that will wear the Yamamoto adizero F50 cleat this weekend:

These boots will not be easy to find however. Only 2,000 pairs will be made available globally, making these special boots an ultimate collectors item.