Under Armour and Sydney FC forge an exciting new partnership and the kit looks impressive

Football kit is big business. With hundreds of millions of units sold each and every year, it is no wonder that sports clothing and accessory brands align themselves with teams; seeking mutually beneficial partnerships across the globe.

In fact, total sports sponsorship looks likely to surpass US$65 billion in 2019, with football accounting for a significant piece of that pie.

The corporate investment is considerable, yet the return lucrative. Presenting and marketing a fashionable, successful and elite face to a sporting public craving connection and relationship with its sports stars is marketing 101.

For the sportswear industries’ heaviest hitters, football teams are an important arm of their corporate strategy and vision.

Despite its relatively innocuous size when compared to major football leagues around the world, there is still much value in forging corporate partnerships with Australia’s A-League franchises.

That fact has not escaped the U.S based footwear, apparel and accessory giant Under Armour. From humble origins, the company has become an industry leader and its iconic corporate symbol will now adorn the kit of one of Australia’s most successful clubs.

Reigning A-League and W-League champion Sydney FC launched its 2019/20 kit in style last week and for the first time, the designs are provided by Under Armour; a new player on the A-League scene.

The deal is a major coup for the Sky Blues yet also a clear statement of intention from Under Armour; obviously looking to broaden its reach internationally.

The launch took place with all the glitz and glamour that Australia’s biggest City usually provides and its most successful football club celebrated the new association with a cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Players, club staff, partners and an array of guests attended, with Sydney midfielder Milos Ninkovic and W-League captain Teresa Polias given the honour of modelling the new home design.

The away and alternate strips were also showcased and all contain an indelible symbol that clearly connects the club to both fans and the local environment.

Senior design manger on Under Armour’s Global Football Team Karen Patterson explained.

“Using sky blue as the focal point, conceptually we designed the three kits to incorporate the club’s traditional colours while also giving a nod to the Sydney Opera House – an iconic symbol for the club and for supporters around the world.”

The strips are visually stunning and using state of the art material technology, also provide Sydney’s teams with the best chance of success in what will be demanding and competitive seasons in both the A and W Leagues in 2019/20.

The four-year deal sets up a relationship based on successful branding and imaging, a quality that both parties pursue. It is something Sydney FC achieved last season when it raised both the men’s and women’s championship trophies and also what Under Armour aim to achieve by producing bold and innovative designs in their development of football kit.

Certainly in the case of Sydney FC, they appear to have hit the mark.

With Puma, Umbro, Macron, Adidas, Nike and Kappa already in the A-League kit arena, the new player enters a competitive and challenging local market and Sydney FC becomes the 18th club backed by the brand across the globe.

The medium term vision for the company must surely include forging a deal with a European powerhouse club that will ingrain their name even more deeply into the world game.

Thanks to the ever-increasing importance of global branding and corporate involvement in all sport, clubs benefit considerably from both the product provided and the associated aesthetics that permeate in a world of impression and reputation.

This new arrangement is an exciting development for the league and Sydney FC will look stunning on the pitch in spite of any disappointing results. It will be interesting to see the competitors’ offerings as we move nearer to season kick-off in October and wonderful if more and more young kids begin wearing the colours of their favourite A-League team instead of far-flung international clubs.

Soccerscene is committed to promoting, enhancing and growing the soccer industry in Australia. We believe soccer news has captured the attention of grassroots soccer clubs, apparel and equipment suppliers – which extends to governing bodies, club administrators and industry decision makers. Many of the auxiliary products and services support the growth of the soccer industry in Australia and Asia, a passion we also share and want to express through our work.

Ivan Franjic: “I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream”

Socceroos Ivan Franjic

Ivan Franjic’s arrival at historic National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United has come via an unconventional journey to say the least.

From his early beginnings in the then-named Victorian Premier League with the likes of St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights, to playing for Russian side FC Torpedo Moscow, to playing in the third-largest urban agglomeration in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic’s career has certainly been one to savour.

Whilst his career has seen injury setbacks, a blocked loan and unpaid wages with Torpedo Moscow – and the discovery of a potentially career-threatening rare inflammatory condition known as myocarditis in 2016 – Franjic is grateful to be where he is today and to have had the footballing experiences he’s had.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the success I’ve had over my travels, and I’ve experienced some different countries,” he said.

“It’s been a great journey and I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream and play for the Socceroos at a World Cup. Some Championships as well, so, can’t complain at all.”

Torpedo Moscow

And as for why Franjic opted to return to the NPL Victoria to take up an opportunity with Heidelberg United, a family connection and the quality of the league spoke for itself.

“My brother has played in the NPL for a fair bit and I’ve watched a few of his games. If you look at the FFA Cup you’ve always got a Victorian team in the semi-finals, so it must be saying something about how good the standard of the league is,” he said.

“I know the coach George Katsakis and he called me and my brother and said he was interested in signing us. And obviously Heidelberg have had success over the last few years where they’ve won a lot of trophies, so, they’re wanting to build a great team to have another successful year once again.

“Whenever you go to Heidelberg you see that they have a decent following and that everyone gets behind them, so it’ll be good. I’m looking forward to playing in the NPL this year and to finally be playing with my brother after all these years.”

Heidelberg United

Next year’s Victorian NPL season will mark 13 years since Franjic departed his then-Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons to take up an injury-replacement contract offer with Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar.

It was under the now-Celtic FC coach where Franjic impressed the Roar faithful and built a platform to launch himself into a regular starting berth with the Socceroos at right-back.

As a three-time A-League Men’s Championship winner with Brisbane, three-time Premiership winner with the Roar (twice) and Perth Glory (once), as well as an Asian Cup winner, Franjic has certainly been a key cog in some of Australian football’s most historic sides.

“Obviously, winning the Asian Cup is a massive achievement, it’s similar to someone winning the Euros or the Copa America. But I think in Australia, with soccer not being the number one sport, it’s always hard to get the media buzz of AFL and NRL because they’ve got a huge following,” he said.

“But when you look back on it you don’t realise how high of an achievement it actually was against Asia’s best.

“I’d had Ange as a coach for a few years and he’s no doubt one of the best managers I’d ever worked under. The whole buzz of being in Brazil, with security all around the hotel and obviously Brazil is a football-mad nation, so, everywhere you went people were following you.

“It was exciting, and I thought Australia gave a good account of themselves without getting results in that tournament.”

Each of these remarkable honours were earnt between globetrotting stints with Torpedo Moscow, Melbourne City and Daegu. But before returning to the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Franjic made one final stopover with newly-joined A-League Men’s expansion side Macarthur FC. He gave credit to the side that he helped in their foundation.

“It was no doubt a challenge starting up a new club from fresh and giving it a go. Credit has to go out to all of the staff and the owners; they did an amazing job for a club in their first year in terms of facilities and the stadium. Compared to other clubs that have come into the A-League they were very good,” he said.

Macarthur FC

LaLiga initiative to support grassroots football worldwide


LaLiga has announced the launch of LaLiga Grassroots, in a bid to further advance and improve its bespoke sports and training projects, as well as promote LaLiga’s know-how and methodology.

This initiative is part of a series of international sports projects that LaLiga have been running since 2015 across multiple markets, and its most outstanding new feature is a series of programmes which are set to take place in Spain. The programmes will mainly be held at ESC Madrid, regarded as a state-of-the-art and world-beating sports complex.

Juan Florit, head of LaLiga Sports Projects, will be in charge of the technical and sports side of LaLiga Grassroots.

“LaLiga Grassroots was conceived as a new specialised unit conceived by the Sports Projects team and the International Business and Development team,” Florit said.

“Our activities will mainly focus on the holistic development of young players, international training programmes for professionals in the sector, and projects to promote and support LaLiga clubs when it comes to their academies and running international tournaments.”

This new project represents a further step in LaLiga’s creation and execution of sports projects, an area through which it has enjoyed great success over the last six seasons.

The project is set to find positions for nearly 750 Spanish coaches, as well as provide training for more than 20,000 coaches and 175,000 players in the more than 400 projects carried out across 38 countries.

Javier Hernandez, Head of Business and International Development for the project, was excited to see LaLiga Grassroots finally launched.

“The work we’ve carried out over the years in training players and coaches internationally has taken things to the next level, not only for those who have worked with LaLiga, but also for the league itself and its clubs,” he said.

“We’re convinced that now, with the creation of LaLiga Grassroots and the new programmes that we’ll be running at the ESC Madrid Center, we’ll be able to create better opportunities for everyone.”

© 2021 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks