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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.