South Africa (National Football)

FIFA World Cup 2010 Players Get the Boot From Nike

Phil AndrewsCorrespondent IJune 17, 2010

I actually first noticed the shoes earlier this Summer while attending an MLS (Major League Soccer) match between the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United.

The grayish-purple boots with the bright orange Nike Swoosh, worn by Union striker Sebastien Le Toux. Being the football traditionalist that I am, I thought how awful the purple and orange blend looked against the back drop of the finely manicured green grass of Lincoln Financial Field.

Then as I watched Le Toux cap off the match with the first hat trick in Philadelphia Union team history, I smiled and said to the person next to me, it’s gotta be the shoes.

As it turns out I not only took the bait but let the folks at Nike reel me in like a big mouth Bass. The hard to miss boots are part of an aggressive campaign being used by the marketing masterminds at Nike to help cut into the international football merchandise market dominated by Adidas and Puma.

Historically, Nike has been a strong soccer brand in the United States, but has struggled to gain much of a market share internationally. Nike by the way a huge sponsor of the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT)

It is no mistake that almost every other pair of boots being worn at the World Cup are a variation of this boot; Nikes Total90 Elite or the Mercurial Vapor Superfly II Elite.

As a matter of fact, Nike released their Elite series as a lead up to this year’s World Cup and as you continue to watch the group and knockout stages, you’ll notice some of the top players on the planet are wearing the shoe with the grayish-purple forefoot and bright orange heel and underside.

Coincidentally, both goals scored during the World Cup opening match between Mexico and South Africa was scored by players wearing the shoes.

Other notable players who have tossed the boots into their kit bag are, England’s Wayne Rooney, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Clint Dempsey of the United States, Alex and Robinho of Brazil and Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro just to name a few.

South Africa might just be the springboard Nike needs to open some space in the international soccer market.

By the way, if you’re thinking about purchasing the boots to put in your bag to impress your buddies at the weekend pickup game in the park. The Nike Total90 Elites will cost you about $324.00 American dollars while the Mercurial Vapor Superfly II Elites sell for around $399.00

Gee, I wonder how much a couple of cans of bright orange and grayish-purple paint would cost.

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