Nike unveils new Socceroos kit ahead of Qatar World Cup

Football Australia

Ahead of a momentous 12 months of football for Australian football, Nike and Football Australia have revealed the 2022 Australian Men’s National Football Team Kit.

Honouring 100 years of the Socceroos, the new kit celebrates the past while looking to the future of football – launching with Australia on the cusp of a historic fifth consecutive appearance on the world stage.

Innovation is at the forefront of the design which features Nike’s pinnacle apparel material platform Dri-Fit ADV. Heat mapping technology allows the athlete to stay cool while the new seamless fit allows for increased mobility without cling for a soft and airy feel.

The new National Men’s Team Home Kit is inspired by the fearless determination and fighting spirit of the Socceroos and the rugged Australian landscape. The design nods to the iconic Golden Wattle flower and the traditional colours of the national side, using colours of ‘University Gold’ and ‘Tour Yellow’ to capture the adventurous nature of Australians and the physical beauty of the land. The green shorts use the colour ‘Green Noise’ with a clear connection to nature, conjuring the rugged, sandy landscape of the outback and the rich wetlands and forests. The kit is completed with iconic white socks.

In contrast, the bold obsidian away kit draws inspiration from the vivid sea, with splashes of green glow to help Aussies show their pride both on and off the pitch. It is representative of the creatures, plants, and reeds found in the waters signaling the deep connection between Australians and coastal life.

Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren said in a statement:

“A new kit ahead of a big moment for the team is always a special thing and this time is no different. I love how this new kit is uniquely Australian, drawing on our heritage while also looking to the future.

“We all know the history of those who wore the green and gold before us, but as a group our story is never done, and we are looking forward to making our country proud as we take on some of the biggest names in world football.”

Dynamic midfielder Awer Mabil added via press release:

“It is always a proud moment to pull on the national team kit to represent my country and as a team we can’t wait to showcase it during our next big game.

“Having played most of our recent matches away from home soil, this kit unites us both on and off the pitch with all Australians – it embodies the determination of this group, and Aussies around the world.”

As part of Nike’s wider Move to Zero journey, sustainability continues to be at the core of the 2022 Australian National Men’s Team Jerseys. The Australian jerseys are made with 100% recycled polyester which is constructed from recycled bottles.

Nike Pacific Vice President and General Manager, Ashley Reade, said in a statement:

“Nike is incredibly proud to launch the new National Men’s Team Kit for the Socceroos. The fighting spirit and unwavering optimism of the Socceroos right through to the final seconds of qualification has been an amazing source of inspiration for Nike and for all Australians.

“Through the design we wanted to honour the heritage of Australian football while celebrating the spirit and unlimited energy of the Socceroos.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, believes 2022 can be the start of a new era for Australian football.

“2022 is the centenary year for the Socceroos, we’re excited to have a team and a kit that embodies the fearless determination this current team has shown over the past three years, while reflecting the history of the iconic teams that have come before them.” Johnson said via press release.

“We know how significant the next year will be for football in Australia, and this team is looking forward to inspiring the next generation as they step onto the world stage. We love how this bold kit outwardly displays the proud and defiant spirit of our national team.”

Premier League continues talks on cost control and EFL funding

Premier League club bosses are holding further talks regarding cost control measures for clubs competing in European football and additional funding for the EFL.

The top flight is examining the introduction of a model along similar lines to UEFA’s squad cost ratio, which by 2025-26 will cap the spending of clubs involved in European competitions on wages, transfer fees and agent costs at 70 per cent of revenue.

It is understood that clubs in the Premier League not competing in European competitions will be allowed more leeway on spending, with a ratio of around 85 per cent of revenue having been discussed. This is potentially to ensure a more level playing field for mid table Premier League clubs who are struggling to break that barrier.

There is a major roadblock, however, in these talks with relegated Premier League clubs still earning parachute payments in their first season back in the Championship and being able to continue working to the 85 per cent ratio whilst the bottom half Championship clubs are working on a much tighter budget, closer to the 70 per cent UEFA mark.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters spoke about these talks advancing and what it means for the future of both leagues.

“We have some proposals out for consultation with our clubs about moving and aligning more with the UEFA system,” Masters said at the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

“Some of the issues that are still at debate between the EFL and the Premier League and internally within the Premier League itself are about trying to find a resolution on exactly how the financial regulatory system will work in the future.

“There’s an area of disagreement between us on how cost controls are going to work. Because obviously if you’re going to put more money into a system, that system has to be properly regulated. That system has yet to be fully agreed on how Championship clubs, how relegated clubs and how Premier League clubs operate a common system.” he concluded.

In terms of the extra funding agreement being discussed, EFL Chairman Rick Parry announced that his competition was prepared to accept an amount that would equate to 14.75 per cent of the two competitions’ net media revenues, which he said worked out at an extra £125million ($240 million) a year.

Whilst this is a huge positive for the footballing ladder in England, there is still a debate amongst clubs and representatives over how the extra funding to the EFL should be paid out.

Recently relegated sides are already working on a bigger budget, whilst sides in the bottom half are struggling to pay player wages with this disparity being completely unacceptable.

So it definitely begs the question, does majority of the extra £125million ($240 million) a year go towards helping bottom clubs compete in the long term? or would that be a stain on the league’s integrity and fair play values?

Votes were not casted in last week’s meetings regarding cost control measures or extra funding, but reports suggest that a conclusion is being made swiftly with both parties eager to agree on a fair deal.

MLS NEXT Pro continues to expand with Connecticut United addition

Connecticut United FC joins MLS Next Pro

Connecticut (CT) United FC will join the ever-growing MLS NEXT Pro League in 2025, in a move that promises to reinvigorate the US state through investment in football infrastructure.

CT United becomes the fifth independent team to join US football’s third-tier national competition, which serves as a valuable development tool for young players at the 27 existing Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs.

It joins teams from Jacksonville, Florida and Chattanooga – who were recently announced by the MLS NEXT organisation.

Chattanooga FC have been competing at state-level for 15 years, allowing it to join the competition in 2024 alongside fellow independent club, Carolina Core FC.

Jacksonville Armada are expected to enter alongside CT United and a team from Cleveland, Ohio, in 2025.

The nucleus of CT United’s football operation will be based in Connecticut’s capital city, Bridgeport, after its Planning and Zoning Commission approved a project for a waterfront football-specific stadium.

The stadia will be a part of a larger infrastructure plan to create a mixed-use destination for retail, residential, and community zones. Bridgeport’s Mayor, Joseph Ganim, says the city is ready to drive the project.

“Bridgeport is in the midst of a renaissance, rebranding from an industrial city to now the capital of arts and entertainment of Connecticut,” he said via media release.

“I am proud to announce that MLS NEXT Pro will join that landscape in providing entertainment opportunities for Bridgeport residents and the region at large.”

The club’s formation represents the first foray into sports ownership for the Connecticut Sports Group (CTSG), an organisation founded and led by Connecticut local and technology entrepreneur, André Swanston.

Though in its infant stages, the organisation relies primarily upon its partnership with the University of Connecticut, and minor investors within the state.

Swanston, 42, becomes not just one of the youngest principal owners of a football club in the country, but also making a difference as one of the few Black sports owners in US sport overall.

“As CT United FC embarks on its MLS NEXT Pro journey, I want to extend deep gratitude to the incredible fans, community leaders and government officials who have embraced our vision – I am confident that, united, Connecticut can compete against anyone,” he proclaimed via press release.

“We are committed to building the infrastructure – from a free youth academy to a state-of-the-art stadium – needed to propel Connecticut to the highest levels of soccer.”

The formation of CT United represents an exciting prospect for the people of Connecticut, who will be eager to see CTSG deliver on its vision to ‘create unforgettable experiences that inspire communities.’

It also showcases Major League Soccer’s continuing expansion, and intent to re-invigorate communities across North America.

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