58 days to go until the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to be held in South Africa for the first time in history. Adidas sets the standard for World Cup kits and gear—outfitting 12 teams, more than any other sponsor. Not only have they unveiled new shirts and innovative footwear, adidas has again produced the Official Match Ball, which they have done since the first World Cup in 1970, in Mexico. Their first design, the 32-panelled, black and white Telstar, became the prototype for all soccer balls.
The Jabulani (it means "to celebrate" in Zulu) could easily be headed for iconic status as the new standard for all soccer balls. With only eight panels, the fewest of any soccer ball to date, the design makes it the roundest soccer ball ever, with a significantly reduced number of seams and a kicking surface that is 70 percent larger. New "Grip 'n 'Groove" technology—textured aero grooving—enhances the already aerodynamic shape for improved wind channeling and controlled flight under all weather conditions. The ball features 11 colors—representing 11 players on every team, 11 South African tribes and the 11 official languages of South Africa.
This summer, World Cup federations have two uniform options for their athletes—TechFit or Formotion. Techfit jerseys have the TPU bands strategically inserted directly into the shirt material to improve endurance, acceleration and vertical jump, and to generate maximum power and speed. The Formotion shirts are crafted to follow the body's natural motions, enhancing comfort levels and freedom of movement. Climacool is incorporated for moisture wicking and extra ventilation.
Each team has a unique design. The South African gold and green jersey honors the host country's heritage, featuring a visible language design on the collar, inspired by a modern interpretation of traditional South African artwork. The Protea flower, displayed over the heart of the player, signifies "diversity and courage."
Adidas' Mexico shirt has been the best seller in the U.S. thus far. The Eagle Warrior national symbol-inspired feather pattern is prominent on the chest, with traditional red and green coloring.
Also included in the collection are the kits for Spain, Germany and France. Spain's jerseys sport a strong red color, honoring their 1964 European Cup-winning team jersey. "La Furia Roja" (The Red Fury) script inside the collar pays tribute to Spain's recent success in the UEFA EURO 2008. Germany's jerseys rally behind the idea of "Teamgeist" or "Team Spirit," and pay tribute to past wins. France's two title successes are also celebrated via color and design. Their shirts feature a multi-colored line image that emphasizes team diversity, communication and unity.
Adidas' "Every Team Needs" campaign highlights different team members and how their specific and varying contributions are vital to each team's game.
If you're looking for World Cup paraphernalia, adidas has an extensive collection. The Jabulani is available on shopadidas.com (Official Match Ball, $150). The jerseys—including South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Germany, France, Argentina and Japan—are also available online ($70).
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