NSCAA Exhibit Hall Highlights
Written By: beans|
Jan 15, 2016
The NSCAA Convention has a lot going on. The people. The classes. The events. There is just an absolute ton of things going on that are soccer centric and as a soccer fan, it’s pretty cool to see. It’s further eveidence of just how much the sport is growing domestically.
On top of everything else that is taking place, each year there is an Exhibit Hall that features all kinds of soccer related products. From global brands to small upstarts, there is just a huge amount of products on display. Walking the Exhibit Hall you will see things that you would expect (jerseys, balls, boots, etc) to some pretty unexpected and rather unique items. We walked the floor last night when the Exhibit Hall opened and we selelcted a few items that stood out to us. Here they are in no particular order:
Being that the convention is in Baltimore you would expect a pretty legit presence from Under Armour. And they had that. Their space was smartly designed and set up and each time I passed by it was swarming with people inquiring about UA. There is something pretty cool happening with UA in the soccer world. It’s not easy to step in the market and compete with the major players in the boot market, but Under Armour is strategically doing just that. UA is releasing some really great boots that I encourage you to try out.
I have admired Hummel from a distance for quite awhile. They have an amazing history, deep tradition in the sport and have made great performance and lifestyle products over the years. Unfortunately, they have been absent from the American market in recent yers. But that absence is over and they are back. I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of products they will be putting out in the months ahead of us. I got a brief preview and it’s already looking good.
The classic Hummel chevron.
And this St. Pauli away jersey that they gifted me with is amazing. They did an amazing job of paying tribute to the fans and the ethos of the club with this one.
Kix Friction Ball
One of the things that makes the NSCAA so special is one of the things that makes soccer so special – the people. There are a lot of great soccer folks here that are meeting and connecting and sharing ideas and their hopes and dreams. The first night we were here, Dunny and I bump into an old friend. After chatting a bit he introduces us to a couple of his friends. They start telling us about a fascinating product that they are presenting here. It’s a soccer ball that has mini blades on it that creates friction. Interesting, right?
So this friction that is created by the blades means that how ever hard you kick a regular soccer ball is diminished by roughly 50% when kicking this ball. The ball can actually stop rolling when going down a hill. Pretty crazy! And also very cool. We talked about some of the benefits of the ball.
1. Because it doesn’t roll as quickly as a conventional ball, it stays closer to you when dribbling meaning that you ultimately are getting more touches on the ball. More touches is pretty much what all coaches want their players to get. More touches helps develop better technique.
2. Ever played a small sided game on concrete with mini goals? If you have, then you have definitely had to shag balls after missing the goal and watching it continue rolling. Well, this eliminates that.
3. They have found that the ball has greatly benefited people with disibilities and allows them to be able to play the sport.
4. The ball feels completely normal when you kick it. If you didn’t see the blades on the ball, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anything is different.
A product like this only works if it still feels like you are kicking a regular soccer ball. And they have done that with the Kix Friction ball.
It was tough to get much info on Dragon Goal, but it looks like a mini pitch to play small sided games. The pitch is surrounded by boards and netting so you really are in a small and confined space which always helps develop players. This pitch was busy the entire night as people didn’t want to stop playing. Always a good sign when you see people reacting to a product like this. Maybe we’ll get a game later today with the crew.
They also had the best quote I have seen from the convention. Play Soccer Be Happy.
Goalkeepers need love too. And they need more than just glove options. Enter Ulhsport and their training device. I’m a big fan of products that allow players to train on their own. When I was a kid I would go to the local school and kick a ball against a hand ball wall for hours. Not very sophisticated.
Today we see many more options when it comes to training solo and this Uhlsport net allows for goalkeepers to train solo. Which is a very good thing. The more we train the better players we are. So I support this for that premise alone.
Ohlesport Soccer Machine
This is another solo training device. Pretty simple too. But again, it allows players to get more touches on the ball. To train in a different manner. The Ohlesport Soccer Machine is a stationary training device that can be used inside and outside. No way was I allowed to play soccer in the house as a kid. My parents were not trying to see me break something. But with this device, you could actually train indoors and get touches on the ball without running the risk of breaking something. You can play just about anywhere with this ball and develop your game. So win win.
Bonza Sportis looking to solve all your needs when it comes to a soccer bag (and then some). They have created a bag that literally holds just about anything you can possibly need when heading out to the soccer field. It’s got a pocket that folds out into an expandable cooler, a ventilated pocket to put your soccer ball in that keeps it from getting musty, medical pocket, 12 pockets in total! It’s customizable so you can put your club crest and number on there. It’s a backpack but there is also a hidden handle that can be brought out that turns it into a roller bag. And lastly, it turns itself into a seat that can hold up to 300 lbs! No more sitting on the ground at games if you have this bag!
Who doesn’t love soccer trading cards? There is something about them that is nostalgic that I love. Well, these Topps cards bring back some of that nostalgia but they are also much more modern. These cards are actually a part of a game called Match Day that allows two people to battle in a game using these cards. We used to trade pins with our fellow teammates and kids from other teams. Maybe we’ll see some classic card trading at youth games in the future.
Kwik Goal Soccer Tennis Net
I love soccer tennis! So this soccer tennis net from Kwik Goal was a no brainer to include. I don’t think I need to say too much about a product that is obviously rad and serves one singular but amazing function.