Visiting Under Armour to see Southampton’s new kit, partnership in USA

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BALTIMORE – Southampton FC unveiled their new kits for the 2016-17 Premier League season on Tuesday, their first with new sponsors Under Armour.

The club signed a seven-year partnership with the American sports brand in April, with Virgin Media announced as the new shirt sponsor, and Saints will be in Baltimore at UA’s Global Headquarters for a training camp from July 10-17 where they will also play a friendly behind closed doors.

[ MORE: How Saints plan to crack USA ]

ProSoccerTalk was in Baltimore at the Under Armour HQ to get a behind-the-scenes look at the work they are doing to help Southampton continue their growth as a top-level Premier League side.

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Photo courtesy of Southampton FC

Working with Under Armour, Southampton has partnered with local youth clubs in the Baltimore area, sending coaches over to the U.S. to help improve youth development stateside, as well as working together to grow the women’s game both in England and in the States.

There will be coaching courses hosted by Southampton’s staff in Baltimore coming up, as they will use the Maryland city as an initial hub for their North American operations. Ahead of their first-ever trip to the Europa League group stage in the 2016-17 season following their highest-ever finish in the Premier League last season, Saints are now looking to expand their boundaries globally.

Embarking on a tour of Under Armour’s sprawling campus, I saw presentations on new footwear and apparel, with prototypes of boots for the 2017 season already nearing completion. Then came a visit to the City Garage and Lighthouse, a new facility where the company works with state-of-the-art technology, such as creating 3D-printed running shoes, to help the brand continue their growth.

As employees in white lab coats worked on massive, and very expensive, machines, we learned of the technology that Under Armour used to create the new Southampton kits for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

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Photo courtesy of Southampton FC

The new kits were then revealed in a grand presentation, with one lucky Southampton fan in attendance to officially “pick up” the jerseys and bring them back to the South Coast of England.

While the kits utilize expansive technology to help create the best possible product, the story behind the shirt dates back to Southampton’s foundation in 1885. Under Armour sent representatives to St Mary’s Stadium to learn about the history of the club and get a feel for the community.

The home kits have kept the classic red-and-white stripes, while the away kit utilizes a black and grey colorway taken from designs inside St Mary’s. Goalkeeper Fraser Forster was even involved in some of the design process for the goalkeeper kits, which will be green and purple.

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Photo courtesy of Southampton FC

Southampton joins Tottenham Hotspur as the two Premier League clubs sponsored by Under Armour, with the brand also representing teams around the world such as AZ Alkmaar, Colo-Colo, Cruz Azul, and Sao Paolo. Aston Villa announced a partnership with the company earlier this month.

The Under Armour brand continues to be a growing force in the global soccer market and from their HQ in Baltimore, Maryland, their link with Southampton both from a branding standpoint and a shared philosophy is clear.

Two innovative brands taking on the big boys: UA and Southampton are just at the start of their Anglo-American relationship.

Stay logged on to ProSoccerTalk in the coming days as we will have more content from Saints’ recent trip to Baltimore.

Lippi leads China over SKorea 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Marcello Lippi earned his biggest victory since taking over as coach of China’s national soccer team, leading his squad to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

The coach, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.

Yu Dabao scored the lone goal at Helong Stadium in Changsha with a header in the 34th minute, giving China only its second victory over South Korea in 32 matches.

China spent much of the second half defending with the visitors piling on the pressure. Ki Seung-yeung and Ji Dong-won both went close for South Korea but could not find a way past China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

South Korea has 10 points from six matches in Group A and is still on course to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. China, which last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has five points.

Only the top two teams from the six-nation group qualify automatically. The third-place team will head to the playoffs.

CONMEBOL wrap: Brazil routs Uruguay, Messi guides Argentina past Chile

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A roundup of Thursday’s action from around CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying…

[ MORE: USMNT looks to build momentum against Honduras in WCQ ]

Paulinho‘s hat-trick helped bring Brazil back from an early deficit as the Selecao topped Uruguay, 4-1. Edinson Cavani put the hosts ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot, but it was Paulinho that answered 10 minutes later for his first of the night. Neymar also tallied for the Brazilians, who continue to lead CONMEBOL qualifying with 30 points.

Lionel Messi scored in the first half to help lift Argentina over Chile, 1-0. The Barcelona attacker scored after 16 minutes when Angel di Maria was taken down inside the Chilean area by José Fuenzalida. Chile was held to just one shot on target throughout, and the loss leaves the reigning Copa America winners on the outside looking in at the top five.

James Rodriguez rescued Colombia on Thursday as the Real Madrid winger capitalized off of his penalty-kick rebound to give Los Cafeteros a 1-0 win over Bolivia. Goalkeeper Carlos Lampe did his best to preserve a draw for the visitors, recording six saves on the afternoon, however, it wasn’t enough to tame Colombia.

Meanwhile, Paraguay knocked off Ecuador, 2-1, behind goals from Bruno Valdez and Junior Alonso. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when Felipe Caicedo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ecuador.

Peru battled back with two second-half goals to preserve a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on the road. The hosts got out to a 2-0 advantage before halftime when Mikel Villanueva and Romulu Otero scored for Venezuela, however, the Peruvians struck back in the second stanza to knick a point. Andre Carrillo and Paolo Guerrero scored in the 46th and 64th minutes, respectively, for Peru.


Thursday’s results

Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
Argentina 1-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-2 Peru


Updated CONMEBOL table

  1. Brazil — 9-3-1 — 30 pts.
  2. Uruguay — 7-2-4 — 23 pts.
  3. Argentina — 6-4-3 — 22 pts.
  4. Colombia — 6-3-4 — 21 pts.
  5. Ecuador — 6-2-4 — 20 pts.
  6. Chile — 6-2-5 — 20 pts.
  7. Paraguay — 5-3-5 — 18 pts.
  8. Peru — 4-3-6 — 15 pts.
  9. Bolivia — 2-1-9 — 7 pts.
  10. Venezuela — 1-3-9 — 6 pts.

Ex-Disney CEO Eisner eyes English soccer club Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., is in talks to buy English soccer club Portsmouth.

The fourth-tier club says it has entered into a 70-day exclusivity agreement with Eisner for takeover talks to take place.

Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”

Portsmouth, which is based on the south coast, spent beyond its means in the pursuit of glory. The team endured financial turmoil in the years following its 2008 FA Cup win, sinking from the Premier League to the fourth tier.

After entering bankruptcy protection, Portsmouth was rescued by the fans through a trust in 2013.

CONCACAF: USMNT, Trinidad & Tobago seek first points of Hexagonal

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Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.

Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]

Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.

For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.

Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.

Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.


Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET

USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)


1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.