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Nike Portugal Supporter Ball Review

Happy Tuesday, folks. Hopefully the weather is better in your neck of the woods (thanks, Al Roker) as today is a gloomy, cloudy day for us at the shop. Today’s agenda is aimed at the Nike Portugal Supporter ball, so let’s get into it, shall we?

Let’s not beat around the bush—this isn’t a match ball, even for something like intramurals. It’s basically a cheap ball (i.e. inexpensive, not necessarily poorly constructed) that would be perfect for a pick up game in the street or for kicking around with your kids. The latter scenario, I think, is the perfect situation for this ball, especially if you have younger children; allow me to explain.

The ball is constructed with the classic mixture of hexagonal and pentagonal panels, each stitched to one another. This creates seams that keep water from flooding the ball, while also maintaining the spherical structure of the ball use after use. That said, the panels are a bit on the slick side, so it’ll take a few wallops before the ball softens up and gets broken in. It also has PU casing with a reinforced bladder, so it will be able to take the beating from consistent use by younger players. I definitely wouldn’t suggest getting together with your buddies and wailing the ball into a brick wall; you’ll end up with a flat ball in no time, I think. ANYWAY, I like the classic paneling on the ball because it doesn’t have the flight issues that a Jabulani style paneled ball can have, which is certainly good for young players getting the basics of the game down. Aside from the paneling and the bladder, there isn’t much else to the construction of this ball. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s poorly constructed.

As for the look of the ball, well, it utilizes the Portugese red and green with the ball being predominately red. On one side, you have the team crest in green. Directly opposite the small crest is a much larger stylized crest! The focal point of this side is a gold crest with “A Equipa de Todos Nós” written in white over top of the crest. Again, relatively simple, but the designs are effective and serve their purpose. This ball isn’t intended to dazzle you with innovative paneling or flashy graphics. It’s intended to display on a shelf or to kick around with your kids in the back yard, at least in my opinion. The soccer ball currently retails for $19.99, but soccerpro.com has it for $11.99 at the moment. If you’re looking for a cheap ball that is still well made, I’d suggest checking this out!

Written by: Kris Dyer, aspiring magician, soccerprose.com

Diadora Gamma Carbonio Shinguard Review

We don’t do a lot of shin guard reviews here at soccerprose, but we couldn’t let these Diadora Gamma Carbonios slip by without giving you a run down. These guards have been around since the 2006 World Cup, when Francisco Totti demanded that Diadora provide him with an ultra-strong, wrap around shin guard to protect the leg he recently broke.

These are probably the strongest, most durable, most advanced shin guards ever made, and are so absurd that none of the major manufactures have been able to even come close. The shin guards are made of seven layers of Kevlar, which is about the same as your standard issue bullet proof vest, fiber glass bonding to make it lightweight, and a low profile fit. It ensures maximum protection for the professional level player, or anyone who plays against teams that have a notorious hatchet man. The Coolmax fabric backing wicks away moisture keeping your lower leg cool, and it won’t slip around on your leg.

I’d recommend these guards for anyone who plays at a high level and is returning from a serious injury like a leg break as they will offer the protection you need all over your leg. Rumor has it the Kevlar construction also makes them a must have for all comers at the Chelsea training ground, because you never when Ashley Cole is going to bring his rifle. But in all seriousness, they are the best shin guard on the market in terms of protection all over your leg.

At $179.99 on soccerpro.com they’re not cheap, but if you’re returning from injury, or just not keen on getting hurt, they’re worth it.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

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Nike Protegga Shield Shinguard Review

One of the most important pieces of sustainable equipment a player needs on the pitch is a pair of high quality, durable shin guards. The game has gotten faster and more physical with each passing season and the risk for injury is increasing with each passing day. Luckily, Nike realized this inherent need and made the Nike Protegga Shield III shinguard, an affordable and reliable piece of necessary soccer equipment for any player.

Let’s just right into features. One annoyance I currently have with newly released shinguards is the lack of an ankle guard. It’s as if players injury “preferences” have drifted away from ankle breaks to full on leg/shin breaks. I certainly don’t feel as if this is true at all, having broken my ankle twice without the use of ankle guards. Nike has taken my story and others into account by attaching a sturdy, yet comfortable ankle guard. But what if you find yourself saying “hey, maybe I still don’t like ankle guards and desire my ankles to be broken”. No problem. The Protegga Shield III has a fully detachable ankle guard. What a sweet deal. The great thing about the ankle guards too is that they are surprisingly breathable and non-constricting (blood’s going to flow to your feet very freely). Many ankle guards are for use with either foot, too. Not these. They are fully fitted to fit each curve of your individual foot. Wow, I’m still raving about this ankle guard. It must be awesome. Let’s move onto the actual shinguard now.

These Nike Shinguards use a sweet ventilated shell design so your legs can breath (whoo!). The extended foam design of the shinguard helps keep the comfort level high, too. The design also allows for an amazing amount of protection, considering the affordable price level these shin guards are set at (under $20). Through rigorous testing, which included several of my friends kicking me as hard as they can (they aren’t the best of friends, unsurprisingly), the shin guards held up well and never cracked or felt like cracking. Perhaps the best feature of the guard is the adjust-ability to form fit to your comfort zone. The guards are easily adjusted with Micro and Macro adjusters, which can provide drastic changes to fit or fine-tune so the guard provides just enough pressure around your legs. Oh yeah, did I mention these are NOCSAE approved shin guards? In case your league or school requires you to have guards that meet these rigorous standards, you are covered.

Overall, the Protega Shield is an absolute steal. At under $20 and NOCSAE approved quality, it’s a comfortable guard that is reliable and quite adjustable.

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Kwik Goal 6 Foot Weighted Infinity Goal Review

Let’s face it: we’re all sick of using two tennis shoes or two soccer bags for goals in small sided games. After all, shoes don’t have nets, aren’t very tall to replicate the feel of a post, and the one huge flaw: you have to specify how tall the “goal” really is for shots to count. There has to be a better solution, right? Luckily, yes, thanks to the classic Kwik Goal Infinity Goal, an affordable and versatile soccer goal option.

The first thing that is eye opening about this goal is its sticker price: just $74.99. Compared to a competition goal which can cost upwards of $3,000, there’s a huge difference. So what do you really get in the Infinity Goal option? For one you get versatility. The goal comes packed with 3 nylon anchor pegs that can easily be staked into most playing surfaces (of course, it’ll be hard to stick the pegs into concrete, but then again, should you really be trying?)  The Infinity Goal is also foldable, so you can take this bad boy wherever your heart desires to play soccer. Now I’m sure most of you have noticed that the goal is a bit smaller than a regular goal. Let me address that.

First of all, the goal is quite sizable. Standing at 3.5 feet tall, it surely won’t replace a competition goal. However, the Kwik Goal Infinity Goal is absolutely ideal for small-sided scrimmages during training sessions. It’s 6 feet wide, and has a depth of 3.5 feet too. One of the best features of the goal (that annoyingly does not feature in a pair of shoes or two soccer bags closely put together) is a durable net. It’s a polyester net made of 15millimeter thick mesh so it’s lightweight and quite durable too. For the price, you surely cannot go wrong. It’s also got a weighted base so the goal (with the help of pegs) stays in place more firmly so you don’t find yourself chasing down some cones rather than focusing on the game at hand.

Overall, it’s a really great value buy if you need to spring up a pick up game or a scrimmage in a quick amount of time. At 5% of the cost of a competition goal, for what you get, it’s really a must by.

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Nike Nutmeg Backpack Review

Lugging around my soccer equipment is always a pain. My soccer ball, shinguards, socks, shoes, tape, water bottle, and soccer apparel typically all have to go all mashed together in one unorganized central pouch in conventional soccer bags, such as the one I’ve had for years. I’ve always thought about getting a soccer backpack and now is as good of a time as any to get one with the great Nike Nutmeg backpack.

The first thing one will notice about the pack is that it has compartments for all your gear (a huge plus). No longer will you have to deal with the firestorm that is your organizational skills (yes, I assume they are lacking) since Nike has done all the work for you. First off, the backpack has a convenient mesh ball pocket with an overlaying clip strap to ensure the soccer ball isn’t rocking around while you’re heading up to the pitch to get your gear on. It’s also got a sweet wet/dry pocket so you can store your shinguards or shoes after play. Your compression sleeves or mini water bottle can be stored in the interior small pocket so you can hold them nice and snug. The meshy nylon and polyester materials used throughout the Nike backpack also add to the durability of the back. The product is very comfortable to wear and has adjustable straps so no matter how tall you are, the pack will find a good custom style fit for your body frame.

The styling of this backpack is relatively plain but the big plus is that you can get a color to suit your needs. The Nike Nutmeg is available in black, gray, two shades of blue, and a nice shade of red (my personal favorite). Besides functional features for organizing your soccer gear, the Nutmeg has some good looking mesh features to make it tolerable to wear in almost any situation. Although I think most backpacks can’t look incredibly stylish, the Nutmeg does a good job of creating compact classy package.

Probably the best part of the Nike backpack is the fact that you get sweet discounts if you order the product in bulk. If you or your teammates are looking for a practical storage solution for all that soccer gear, the Nike Nutmeg backpack is a practical choice at a good price.

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