Billy Celeski’s BootLab getting off on the right foot

Former Socceroo and Melbourne Victory star Billy Celeski says cleaning boots is important for players who dream of playing professionally.

The cleaning of boots has becoming something of a time-honoured tradition amongst seasoned professional football players.

For many who have scaled the heights of this great game, the memories of cleaning boots as a youngster was a humbling reminder of where they started, and considered an important lesson in the requirements of discipline and respect that grounded them on their way to the top.

In the modern day, it is not often you see elite youth players cleaning the boots of the professional peers, but former Socceroo and Melbourne Victory star Billy Celeski says cleaning their own boots is an important discipline for players who dream of playing professionally.

It was that thought process that saw Celeski identify a business opportunity and one that he has pounced on with the launch of his new boot-cleaning product, Bootlab 101.

“I wanted something that would teach kids about the importance of respecting the tools of their trade,” he told Soccerscene.

“And that’s what boots are. They are our tools, and as players we have to take care of them.”

The Bootlab 101 Boot Brush is a visually striking product.

It wouldn’t look out of place amongst the high-tech, high-design aesthetic of an Apple store.

But when it comes to Celeski’s Boot Brush, its ingenuity is in its simplicity.

A 300 ml bottle with a squeeze valve attached to a brush.

Simply fill the bottle with water, squeeze to release the water onto the boot and use the brushes to scrub them clean. Simple!

No more dragging muddy boots through the house to laundry and no more excuses from brining muddy boots into the clubhouse.

Celeski – who was a creative force on the field as a player – said however simple its application, the conception, design and manufacture of the brush was meticulously planned and carried out.

“Initially when we looked at what we could do, the research was based on looking at what kids get when they signup for a club or an academy,” he said.

“You get your kit, you get your drink bottle and maybe some merch, which is great, but what are we giving them to teach them about the importance of caring for the tools they use to play?

“I wanted to come up with a device or product that was going to trigger them to ensure they looked after those tools.

“At the end of the day, parents spend a lot of money on registration and boots and being able to take care of those boots is an important lesson for kids to learn about having respect for what their parents do for them, and a good discipline to get into when it comes to respecting themselves as well.”

Celeski employed the services of an industrial designer to bring his vision to life and said that with the product now on the market, the feedback has been great.

The brush is already in the hands of A-League and W-League stars and internationals like Jamie Maclaren and Melissa Barbieri, and Celeski said first impressions have been good.

“We gave a couple out to some professionals just to get some feedback and the flow on from that has been great,” he said.

“The feedback is good and we are getting professionals from overseas who are getting in touch with us and buying the product for themselves.

“Hopefully if we can show that it’s good enough for the professionals, then the clubs and academies and players will want it for themselves as well.”

Celeski said the Boot Lab 101 was working with a number of clubs to make the Boot Brush a part of the kit they provide players.

“We’re speaking to a couple of A-League clubs and there’s a lot of interest from NPL clubs as well, because they have players from under-7s right up to their seniors,” he said.

“We’ve cast the net far and wide and now that the product is out there and people are starting to get it in their hands and see how effective it is we’re getting good feedback.

“Players can clean their boots on the spot and leave all that mud and dirt on the ground where it’s meant to be and out of their clubrooms, their lawns or their laundry.”

With B2B a core focus of Boot Lab 101’s sales strategy, Celeski confirmed his company is looking at the best branding possibilities for the bottles, so that they can be branded with club logos and sponsors.

Boot Lab also offers wholesale pricing for clubs, academies and associations who place large orders.

“The brand is starting to get out there,” he said.

“I feel as it is early days, but the feedback is good and we believe we’ve delivered a quite innovative product that doesn’t really have much in the way of comparable products.

“Once we start announcing some of the clubs we’re working with, I’m confident we will see a domino effect and more will come as a result.”

You can purchase the Boot Lab 101 Boot Brush via the company’s online store. 

Clubs, academies, federations and interested stockists can learn more about wholesale pricing via the Boot Lab 101 website.

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Matthew Galea is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Melbourne Victory collaborate with AIA as new kit sponsor

Melbourne Victory have flexed their muscles by mitigating a timely sponsorship agreement with wellbeing entity AIA Vitality Australia (AIA) – the company logo will be featured on the front of both home and away kits for the 2023/24 Finals Series.

Victory’s talisman Bruno Fornaroli provided a first glimpse of the latest jersey on Friday. The former City striker was involved in a photoshoot with A-leagues all-time record goal scorer and current City number 9, Jamie Maclaren.

As the Australian airline Bonza Aviation entered voluntary administration, their services had become suspended at the end of last month.

The swift primary kit sponsorship agreement was made official with AIA only days prior to the Bonza Airlines collapse.

Victory’s Managing Director Caroline Carnegie discussed her excitement surrounding the newly founded sponsorship agreement on the cusp of finals football.

“AIA is a global brand that partners with some of the biggest teams in world sport and to see them featured on the front of our jerseys for the Finals Series is an exciting prospect for Melbourne Victory.

“We’re thrilled to have AIA Australia as our Principal Partner for the upcoming Finals Series,” Carnegie said.

AIA Vitality offer personalised well-being insurance, the programs on offer are scientifically endorsed and personalised to each of their clients. The main ideology of the company is their direction towards the support of a healthy lifestyle for its customers who become involved within a tailor-made program.

Carnegie also discussed the alignment of both respective entity’s.

“We have a common goal of using sport as a vehicle to lead, unite, connect and inspire, and that includes having a sharp focus on developing health and wellbeing initiatives.

“We look forward to working with AIA to heighten our ability to achieve those goals and continuing to grow our relationship and shared aspirations together.”

Damien Mu, AIA Chief of Operations discussed his exhilaration regarding the collaboration.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the powerhouse that is Melbourne Victory for a thrilling competition. We’ve been following the team’s success over the last few years and are excited to team up,” Mu said.

AIA join the sponsorship contingent that consists of La Lonica and KFC.

Playermaker: Innovation of data tracking technology

Playermaker is the world’s only foot-worn data tracking device that allows coaches to gather real-time data from each individual player using the devices sensor strapped to their boot.

Playermaker is a sports technology company that was founded in 2017 by Guy Aharon & Yuval Odem who formerly served in the Israeli Defensive Forces.

Playermaker offers sports technology products that are designed to provide valuable data and insights to players, coaches, and teams.

It enables users of all skill levels to measure to seamlessly access a range of data points that can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of their game.

Teams in particular can gain a deeper insight into the development of their players using the in-depth statistics that the Playermaker provides.

The company has partnered with hundreds of elite clubs and federations worldwide including a partnership with current Premier League champions Manchester City.

Playermaker is FIFA approved and is the first athlete performance monitoring system to successfully complete the challenge set by the FIFA Innovation Program, gaining the EPTS FIFA Quality certificate.

About CityPlay

Using their partnership with Manchester City, Playermaker also released ‘CityPlay’ that combines Playermaker technology with Manchester City’s Player development methodology.

The app is designed to help your child develop and involves many interesting features that can keep parents or coaches on top of their performances like never before.

Measuring over 25 metrics, CityPlay provides the most relevant data for creating training programs, benchmarking performance and tracking progress. With the metrics that matter you can set goals, measure progress, analyse performance and improve easier and faster.

There is also an option to watch personalised in-app videos from Manchester City coaches and experts to help accelerate your child’s progress.

How it works:

6-Axis Motion Smart Sensors

Built with a gyroscope and accelerometer that samples movement events at 1000 times/sec, which allows the measurement of every micro-movement, including impact with the ground, with the ball and the rotation of each foot.

Strong but seamless straps

Two waterproof sensors (L+R) located inside the durable silicone straps, suitable for all playing conditions. The straps comes in 2 sizes (M / L), to fit kids adults, women and men alike.

Training Highlights

Tracks 15+ football specific metrics including touches, total distance, kicking power, sprint distance and intense turns.

This helps users examine their training performance using the different metrics to help them improve for matchday.

Match Skill Scores with others worldwide

There are three Match Score Factors: Age, Gender and Position.

Scores range from 40-99 for each skill. A score of 99 indicates your performance placed in the top 5% of your segment, while a score of 40 indicates the same, but for the bottom 5%.

This allows players to compare their statistics and scores in each metric with others in the same category to suggest where the player needs the most improvement.

Proprietary Rating System

An objective skills rating system, that covers both physical and technical abilities, obtained during
real world scenarios of match play.

1. Objective, AI-based measurements of both physical and technical skills
2. During in-game situations, without interference
3. Developed using global age and gender benchmarks

Other Features

  • Requires no infrastructure, Wi-Fi or GPS signal to collect data
  • Bluetooth operated Device to sync the data
  • Track your progress over time using trends of past stats that have been recorded

Sky is the limit for Playermaker’s device, and the technology can certainly be adapted in other sports, however the company is currently focusing on maintaining its excellent growth in football.

As the company has expanded in the football industry, it is providing the world stage with incredible innovation that can help clubs of all levels with talent identification, analysis and tactical insights.

The company is yet to partner with an A-League club and there is a huge opportunity for a club in Australia to enhance their data tracking and analysis systems.

As the league starts to prioritise talent identification and player development over the influx of failed marquees, using this technology is a perfect way to improve in that aspect and delve deeper to potentially produce more talented Australian footballers.

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