With the 2014 World Cup less than six months away, Nike paid homage to its soccer roots by returning to the iconic Rose Bowl to celebrate their highly-anticipated release of the Nike Tiempo V and Tiempo ‘94.
Inspired by the memorable World Cup tournaments that captivated US audiences in 1994 and 1999, respectively, the Tiempo collection bridges innovative design and boot heritage that stars like Spain’s Gerard Pique, England’s Ashley Cole and USA’s Tim Howard will wear next summer.
FOX Soccer was fortunate enough to get a special invite under the Pasadena stars to chat with Nike’s North America Soccer General Manager, Aaron Barnett, regarding the company’s celebratory moment.
So settle in boot junkies, here is the exclusive interview:
Charles Ventura: Mr. Barnett, can you tell us a little bit about the Nike Soccer Tiempo collection? What makes this boot so special?
Aaron Barnett: The new Tiempo Legend V looks back into heritage. The technology and innovation built into the leather boot is the best that we’ve ever had in terms of detail.
The design of the Tiempo Legend V focuses on providing the lightest touch. With the development of a new upper, the Tiempo Legend V mimics the touch and lightweight feel to bring the foot closer to the ball.
It’s a great update to a classic from our original boot from 1994. When you look at the Tiempo ‘94, the sportswear inspired shoe, the Tiempo V takes cues from the original line, with a pulse for the street and soccer pitch. The combination of this one-two punch is what we’re super proud of and shows what Nike’s all about.
CV: Being outside the lovely Rose Bowl while reintroducing these boots with rich tradition, where does this rank in Nike Soccer history? Does it feel full-circle returning to a venue with major significance?
AB: In many ways, this is the spiritual and emotional home of Nike Soccer starting with the 1994 World Cup and capped by USA’s World Cup final victory in 1999. It’s a very special place and we look back to the Rose Bowl as where it all started. This is our way of paying tribute while also looking forward to the future for inspiration.
CV: People outside the soccer community have gravitated toward this boot collection. Why so?
AB: Nike feels soccer in the United States is part of culture. Whether it’s skaters, artists or people from all walks of life, everyone tends to have some affiliation with the beautiful game either because they’re fans of a certain club or have kids that play. It’s growing in the American psyche and as a partner of the sport, we want to help it grow.
CV: Now, let’s tackle some personal questions. Who’s your favorite soccer player of all-time and why?
AB: Mia Hamm. Mia espouses the values of hard work, team work and leadership. She’s ranks right up there with my favorite athletes of all-time like Michael Jordan and Michael Johnson.
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm)
— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain)
CV: What do you think of USA’s prospects next summer?
AB: As a fan, I love the US mentality. We always think we can win. With Jurgen Klinsmann coaching, the belief is there. We can grab three points against Ghana, Portugal can be vulnerable as history has shown and we hope for the best against Germany. I remain cautiously optimistic but feel we can push through the group stage.
CV: Any players that stand out to you come Brazil 2014?
AB: Well, of course, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo. They’re both dynamic players, it will be interesting to see how they fare after their respective club seasons. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are others that come to mind as well. If they’re ticking, the United States have a serious shot of making some noise next summer.
CV: And finally, who wins the World Cup next year?
AB: Brazil has to be the perennial favorite. The way Brazil played at the Confederations Cup this past summer and the way they’re gelling under Felipe Scolari is noteworthy. Obviously, you can’t rule out Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands. But Brazil remain the team to beat, especially with the entire nation behind their backs. It’s their tournament to lose.
CV: Thank you for your time, Mr. Barnett.
Editor’s note: For more information on Nike’s special boot, click on the video below:
Images provided by Nike Soccer.