Monday, January 31, 2011

A Guide to the 2011 African Nations Championship

During January, soccer fans were treated to the excitement of two international soccer competitions with the recently concluded AFC Asian Cup 2011 and the Copa Centroamericana 2011. Now our attention shifts to the soccer hotbed of Africa for the CAF African Championship of Nations (CHAN).

Unlike the more prestigious Africa Cup of Nations, teams participating in CHAN must be comprised only of players participating in a given country’s domestic league system. For example, the Ghana national team must be made up only of players currently playing in Ghana.

The 2011 African Nations Championship is the second edition of the tournament following its debut in 2009. Sudan will play host to the contest from February 4 to 25, 2011. A collection of scouts from European clubs seeking to unearth the next Didier Drogba, Michael Essien or Samuel Eto’o is expected to descend on the Saharan nation during this period.

Here are the groups 2011 African Nations Championship. The tournament schedule is available at this CAF link. We haven’t been able to find a media outlet in the United States showing the competition but match highlights may be available at the 2011 African Nations Championship video site.

Group A: Sudan (Hosts), Gabon, Uganda, Algeria
Group B: Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Niger
Group C: D.R. Congo (Defending Champion), Cameroon , Cote d’Ivoire, Mali
Group D: Senegal, Rwanda, Angola, Tunisia

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rapper Drake and Rio Ferdinand talk Music and Football

Pretty interesting to hear a Rapper and a Footballer talk about how their jobs are similar. Drake is the Canadian Rapper who's first studio album Thank Me Later was a huge success last year recently toured the UK and made a stop in Manchester to visit United's facilities. Rio made sure to take in a show during the tour and of course got backstage access. "Sports and music are so synonymous. Cause we want to be them and they want to be us." - Drake

[via Hypebeast]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

adidas Launches the Neo Collection

Global sportswear brand and major player in the sphere of soccer, adidas, has launched a brand new fashion label that melds sports with everyday fashion - adidas Neo.

The firm describes the adidas Neo Label as the freshest casual sportswear from adidas. From unique and fun footwear and apparel to a David Beckham-inspired collection, the range has something for everyone.
adidas’ fresh and newest label has sports-inclined and stylish youth in mind . The collection offers the stylish and fashionable different products that inspire individuality and self-expression while offering designs that reflect the latest fashion trends for the season.

adidas Neo offers different sportswear and accessories with vibrant colors, geometric graphics and patterns. What makes it more interesting is that there are customized pockets for MP3 players and holes for headphones worked into apparel and bags for those on the go.

Here’s a look at some of the items in the adidas Neo Fall/Winter 2010 collection as the latest adidas Neo video. Be sure to check out the World Soccer Shop adidas Neo Store for more from the label including the David Beckham range.

Photos courtesy of adidas.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The History of the adidas Samba - A Soccer Icon

Considered by many soccer aficionados to be the quintessential indoor playing shoes and by fashionistas to be a classic, all-purpose casual shoe, the adidas Samba has become iconic over the last 50 years.

Developed by a fledgling adidas in the late 1940s and first produced in 1950, the Samba was the first soccer shoe designed to allow players to train on hard, icy surfaces. Its then innovative gum rubber outsole made it the first shoe to provide the traction necessary for players to perform drills and run on the frozen fields of Europe in wintertime. This outsole later proved to be the basis of indoor soccer or futsal shoes. In fact, the adidas Samba was one of the few indoor soccer shoes on the market until the 1990s when manufacturers such as Nike, Umbro and Puma entered the genre.

Since 1950, the adidas Samba has sold over 35 million pair to generations of soccer players and sport-inspired shoe lovers. It has made its way into popular culture from being the choice shoe of the 1970s Liverpool football casuals / scally subculture to having a Def Jam 25th  Anniversary edition in 2009. The adidas Samba also became a staple among the punk rock and skater crowds in the 1980s and with the Emo set in the 2000s.

Take a look at Twilight star Robert Pattinson (or vampire Edward for Twihards out there) and you might see him stalking the streets of Hollywood in a pair of adidas Sambas. The shoe also recently appeared on the feet of Shia Labeouf's character Sam Witwicky in the 2009 smash film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Back in the early days of hip hop in the 1980s, the Samba's close cousin, the adidas Superstar, was often a staple of legendary rap group Run DMC.

The adidas Samba Classic has maintained the use of a full-grain black leather upper, three-profile gum rubber outsole, non-folding mid-length synthetic tongue, and three white adidas stripes. However, over the years a number of color schemes and slightly-altered incarnations of the shoe have made their way onto the feet of Samba-lovers. These have included suede-upper Sambas and national team editions such as the current Spain and Argentina editions of the shoe.

While World Soccer Shop celebrates Indoor Week 11 with an unmatched selection of indoor soccer shoes, let’s not forget where it all started – a frozen training pitch in adidas’ hometown of Herzogenaurach, Germany in 1950 – with the Samba.

Photo Credits: World Soccer Shop and adidas