From the ball to special uniforms that make you jump higher, this year's World Cup could very well be the most techie soccer tournament the world's ever seen.
The ball, for example (called the Jubulani, fyi), isn't stitched together—it's thermally bonded. It's also the roundest ball ever created for a World Cup. Last I checked it was about $US140 and available to the public, so get Googlin' if you want to kick around a near perfect, leak proof sphere.
Those uniforms I mentioned? Somehow, thanks to specially designed Adidas "TechFit" crisscrosses in the back, they allegedly help a player increase vertical leap, speed, endurance and power by anywhere from 0.8 to 4 percentage points throughout a match. Sounds like snake oil to me, but that could just be jealousy talking since I didn't have access to the tech during my team's 11-3 drubbing yesterday afternoon. You can see the shirt on number 8 in this video:
Even the shoes got an overhaul for South Africa this year. Looking more like carbon fibre inserts on my friend's Audi A5 than soccer boots, they're light, streamlined and contain some contain something called a Powerspine.
Again, there's more Adidas witchcraft at play here, but they promise the spine reduces the chance of an ACL injury. Nothing wrong with that. [CrunchGear]