Iconix Brand Group Inc. agreed to acquire Nike Inc.’s Umbro sports apparel and footwear unit for $225 million in cash.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, New York-based Iconix said in a statement. Nike bought Umbro, which was founded in 1924, in 2008 for about 302 million pounds ($483.7 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The sale is part of Nike Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker’s push to focus on the business units with the most growth potential and profitability. Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, previously announced it’s also trying to sell its Cole Haan unit of dress-shoe stores.

Nike rose 0.1 percent to $92.89 at the close in New York. The shares have lost 3.6 percent this year.

The deal will end one of the many acquisitions that hasn’t panned out for the world’s largest maker of sporting goods. Nike has also bought and then sold the Starter apparel brand and Canstar Sports Inc., maker of Bauer hockey gear. The one bright spot has been Converse, which has flourished under Nike’s control.

Back in 2008, Umbro appeared to be a good fit because it gave Nike more customers in Europe as it tried to reach its goal of surpassing Adidas as the world’s largest soccer company.

Umbro also had a long-standing deal with the England national soccer team to supply its uniforms. In a statement announcing the deal, Parker touted the new relationship as a “dynamic alignment” that would make Nike the world leader in soccer.

Nike announced this morning it will sell its Umbro affiliate brand to Iconix Brand Group, Inc., for $225 million. The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Nike announced May 31 it planned to sell Umbro, a soccer equipment brand, and dress shoe brand Cole Haan. The company said the sales were planned “to focus on driving growth in the Nike, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands.”

“It is a difficult decision to divest any business,” Nike chief executive Mark Parker said in a statement, “but this action wil enable us to focus on our highest-potential growth opportunities.

“Umbro has a great heritage, but ultimately, as our category strategy has evolved, we believe Nike Football can serve the needs of footballers both on and off the pitch.”

Nike recently announced it had signed England’s national soccer team to a footwear and apparel deal. The announcement was curious as Umbro had been the team’s supplier for years and that partnership had been perceived as one of the selling points for Umbro.

“Umbro is a true, authentic football brand with a global loyal consumer fan base,” Neal Cole, chief executive of Iconix Brand Group said in a statement, “and we are thrilled to be adding it to our portfolio of iconic brands.

“Umbro is an exciting acquisition with more than 30 licensees in over 100 countries with a devout following. We look forward to working with our international partners to maintain and expand upon the rich heritage of Umbro.”

Nike announced Umbro’s purchase in October 2007 and completed it in 2008 for $582 million cash. The purchase was the first and only acquisition for Parker, named chief executive in January 2006.

Umbro’s revenue declined about 19 percent, from $224 million to $276 million, between 2006 and 2011 because of its lesser role in the competition between Nike and Adidas soccer brands, Credit Suisse analyst Christian Buss wrote when the Umbro and Cole Haan sales plans were announced.

At that time, Nike said the sale of the brands was expected before the end of the company’s fiscal year, which is May 31, 2013.

Nike purchased Cole Haan in 1988 for $80 million plus the repayment of $15 million in debt for the New York-based company.


Soccer Coaching Advice: The Basic Equipment Needed For Newbies

Soccer is undeniably a favorite pastime activity amongst non-players. Millions of folks around the globe enjoy playing this game whenever they get the chance. For first-timers looking to play this physically demanding sport, soccer coachingprofessionals emphasize the importance of acquiring all basic equipment before getting started.

That being said, soccer uniformswill be needed – this includes purchasing several jerseys made out of 100% polyester, as this material is lightweight and allows air to flow through freely. Also, other features such as mesh for venting more heat plus moisture would definitely be helpful.

The same material specifications should ideally be found in shorts as well. In addition, the style of shorts used should allow the player to move his legs freely in order to stay comfortable and optimize performance.

Cleats are also important – special footwear that gives the user good traction on the field is a must, since a lot of lower body movement is inevitable during all games. To avoid untoward accidents, soccer shoes must always be selected carefully, and is a task that most sports shop personnel can help out with.

As everyone already knows, trying to steal the ball from opponents (and vice versa) may lead to accidental collisions of the shin bones. Considering how painful this type of contact can be, purchasing shin guards while looking for soccer uniformsis definitely a must, especially for amateurs.

According to soccer coachingexperts, the material that’s used for this particular product has to be made from sturdy material, as cheap ones are likely to break quickly. Aside from being firm, it should be flexible as well, so that it can protect against both unintentional and intentional strikes to the shin. Moreover, it should be semi-fitted to the lower leg only, so that its users may move without constraint.

A ball is another item that newbies should have while learning this sport. Practicing ball handling is an important part of any training regimen, most especially in the case of beginners. When on the search for soccer uniforms, including a ball for practice sessions, and another one for friendly competition with friends, would definitely be helpful.

Lastly, soccer coachingpros recommend getting an A 6’ by 12’ goal to practice scoring technique. Alternatively, a couple of cones (great for practicing ball handling skills as well) could work as an excellent substitute in situations where acquiring standard soccer goals are a little too expensive.

Choosing Cleats And Shin Guards For Junior Soccer Players

As kids grow older, most will naturally be drawn towards sports, and eventually select one as their favorite. Parents play an active role in cultivating their kids’ desire to play their selected sport by providing them with all the basic equipment they’ll need for participation.

A large portion of youngsters everywhere plan on becoming junior soccerplayers for schools or other local events. For children interested in playing football, soccer coachingexperts say it’s important that they receive the most important equipment right away, namely: cleats and shin guards.

Soccer shoes are undeniably vital considering how this game demands players to run a lot and handle the ball with nothing but their legs. With all the twisting and turning involved, it’s crucial that footwear worn provides ample traction to the field played on.

Surface area is another factor that may affect the selection of this particular good. For wetter or lusher fields, using extended cleats is recommended. In the case of harder fields, shorter cleats would be a better choice.

However, in cases where kids aging six years old and below, the above specifications would be in some sense not that significant. Nonetheless, soccer coachingprofessionals recommend selecting footwear based on the criteria of comfort. In addition, a child may be a bit picky when it comes to the way his or her cleats look, so having them choose a comfortable pair with an attractive design will probably be necessary.

Next item is the shin guard – junior soccerplayers have the tendency to leave their positions and gang up on the ball whenever possible. Amongst a crowd of youngsters trying to regain possession over the ball, accidental shin-to-shin collisions are unavoidable.

While they may not strike as hard as adults or seasoned players do, bones banging upon bones will hurt, and cause bruising. To negate such a risk, picking the right type of shin guards for loved ones is important.

Soccer coachingexperts suggest getting shin guards with ample padding on the inside, and a tough shell on the outside. In comparison to strapless guards which require long socks to keep it in place, purchasing one with straps would be a more convenient for its users.

Other parents may prefer getting their junior soccerplayers long socks with shin guards built in. Nevertheless, tt really doesn’t matter what type is purchased, so long as they’re comfortable, provide ample protection, and do not interfere with the child’s ability to move.

Whitecaps Looking To End Losing Streak In Dallas As MLS Playoffs Draw Near

Things have been going a little rough for the Vancouver Whitecaps during previous matchups against rivals. After losing four games in a row, soccer coaching experts are starting to think that the once seemingly surefire playoff spot appears significantly less attainable as the end of Major League Soccer’s regular season draws near.

In order to remedy the situation, soccer players of the Whitecaps unquestionably have to improve their play during their next matchup against the FC Dallas at Texas. Vancouver, currently at fifth place, is leading against Dallas by four points in the race towards the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Despite the pressure piling on top of their shoulders, the team’s players are still remaining calm. “You have to be smart and not panic, because we’re not in a panic stage,” said Jay DeMerit, captain of the Whitecaps. “We’re still in a good spot. After a pretty long slide, we’re still in a pretty good spot, so that’s a major positive for us, because we know that we’ve had great instances of character this year.”

Contrary to the statement made the soccer team’s captain, soccer coaching experts point out a few aspects of the situation in which they believe DeMerit could have missed while making the statement which includes the fact that the Vancouver-based team is coming off aheart-breaking 2-0 away loss to LA.

Moreover, some of the team’s players weren’t able to suit up against Galaxy due to injuries, suspension, and Coach Martin Rennie’s decision to keep players rested prior to the stretch drive towards the season finish.

Furthermore, the majority of regulars aren’t available–this includes the team’s top scorer Darren Mattocks, who was given a red card during a game against Portland, which prevented him from joining the matchup against LA.

Despite the odds stacking up unfavorably against the Canadians, DeMerit, as well as other soccer coaching experts, still believe they can emerge triumphant. “We’ve bounced back and had some good performances, and the guys that have done that are still here,” said the soccer team’s captain.

“We’ve added quality players that are still trying to work into doing that with us. We all know that there’s enough in the dressing room to go not only to the playoffs, but to try to compete in the playoffs. That has to be our goal.”

Soccer Uniforms Embody the Spirit of the Game

Soccer games are not only about scoring goals and defense, as most players and coaches believe. It has to do with the spirit of the game, which is embodied in the soccer uniforms. The uniform identifies the players as one, with a common goal – to win the game. Soccer coaching is intended to develop skills and a strategy for the players to win their matches.

The main skills of defending are:

1. Performing a Defensive header is learning the skill of playing in a defensive position with the expectation of the ball coming in the team’s area. The goal of this strategy is to clear the ball from the area and fling it as high as possible towards a team member. Calculate the direction of the ball and be prepared to jump defending the ball as the opponent will try to gain possession of the ball. The best direction to hit the ball is either towards a teammate or out of bounds.

2. Catenaccio Defensive Strategy means lock; considered in modern soccer as negative football. It has its benefits when done correctly. Like in modern football, its purpose is to create a solid defense. Using the Catenaccio strategy, the players must strive for a goal lead of 1-0. It would then build its defense by using numbers. The strategy is based around their sweeper. Assign two banks of three in his front using the defense and midfield to protect one another against the attack. Soccer uniforms help team members to identify each other while using this defensive strategy.

3. Zonal Defending is the third strategy where soccer coaching allows defenders to guard areas of the pitch or zones; not marking one particular player as in man -to -man marking. The defense will have four players line up along the six-yard boxes. One is placed in the near post, another in the middle, one between them and one on the far post. There will be four players in front for additional protection. They have to compete for the ball and clear it. The purpose of this system is to determine the most dangerous area to deliver the ball. So post the best headers in this area to win the ball or at least to clear the ball.

4. Cruffy Turnis used in shielding the ball from the opponent with his back toward the opponent and the ball nearest to his feet within his control. To perfect this skill; one has to practice with a ball, an opponent and quick feet.

Good soccer coaching gives the team the best chances of winning their matches. It will be a big hit for the players to receive their championship in their soccer uniforms.

Soccer Coaching Advice: Tips For Selecting Great Soccer Drills Books

Players aren’t the only members of the team who wouldn’t benefit from additional soccer knowledge. Even the best soccer coachingexperts can greatly (or slightly) improve their training methods with the help of a soccer drills books.

However, finding such books is somewhat similar to choosing teams soccer uniforms – they may look good on the outside, but completely suck when it comes to the features department.

There are dozens of these books that provide little to no content for the coaches. They may even consist of over a hundred different drills, wherein the majority reaps minimal improvement for the players who execute them.

To avoid having to pay for something that hardly provides any value, there are several tips, which can help any coach find a great soccer drills book. With that being said, the first tip is to find a book that actually divides the drills according to skill level or age groups.

Young players can easily get frustrated while trying to perform drills that were designed for professionals. Some techniques were meant to be taught to advanced players for a good reason. If a drill requires newbies to possess a skillset, which can only be possessed by intermediate players through years of training, then there’s really no point in teaching such drills to begin with (kind of like making kids wear teams soccer uniformsdesigned for adults.)

Second tip to keep in mind while looking for a good soccer coachingbook is: buy one that tackles the basic fundamentals of soccer, and systematically moves on to other game-related activities which further develop these fundamental skills. These books are excellent at gradually developing the skillsets of players from beginner to intermediate and beyond.

On the other hand, some books just list the routines down as if it were a glossary of terms – here, there’s no telling which drill should be taught first, therefore, it can easily render the training regimen useless.

The third and last tip is to buy a soccer coachingbook that states the areas of concern within each training drill. By being able to identify what the actual purpose of each drill is (e.g. the development of stamina, dexterity, or dribbling skills), the coach will be able to get the most out of each drill. Moreover, it allows the coach to pinpoint what skills are being developed, and if any techniques is being wrongly executed.

Again, selecting a book of soccer drills is just like choosing teams soccer uniforms – carefully looking at what exactly the product has to offer is unquestionably important!

Importance of Soccer Coaching

Playing soccer is ‘in”nowadays, with so many sports enthusiasts eager to organize their own clubs. This is a good way of awakening the youth’s love for sports. As the organizer of the club, the initial step is to evaluate one’s own skill or competence as an organizer and inviting members to join the club. However, no soccer club can exist without soccer coaching. This expertise will also assist in soccer team management.

These are the basis in the formation of a soccer club:

1. Determine the ability of each player

2. Evaluate their speed and endurance

3. Calculate the number of substitutes that may be needed

4. Measure the team’ strength and identify their weakness

Create a formation that will give each player his or her best chances of winning. Identify who will make a great goalkeeper; who among the players is fast, tough and skillful that can play Sweeper; and choose Fullbacks with lots of endurance or lots of subs, or play on a short field. Practice by playing a 1-3-3-3 and push Fullbacks up to the halfway line during the attack. If the game is played on a long field, there is no need for having many subs. Fullbacks must be fast and full of stamina so he can be asked to push up to the halfway line during the attack. The game is better off using a 3-2-2-3 formation with 3 FB’s, 2 Defensive Midfielders, 2 Offensive MF’s & 3 Forwards. With proper soccer coaching, the team should be well organized.

In any formation, players have to be shifted with the ball; sag when on defense and push forward some on the attack. Soccer team management must establish clear rules for each one to follow, including their responsibilities.

In organizing a soccer team, age-group coordinators are responsible in creating teams according to age –level. This is done following the appropriate team formation process. After the formation of each team, the club president reviews and approves the composition of the team and submits to the club registrar for processing.

The duty of the club registrar is to register players to teams as submitted. He/she will also be responsible for getting and distributing player cards to every team; adding and eliminating players and giving team rosters to coaches upon request.

The system of play will cover the concepts of position, support, shift & sag, teaching teamwork combined with a formation and style of play.

Soccer coaching and good soccer team management are among the keys to organizing soccer clubs that produce winning teams.