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Canada to wear Umbro kits for next four years

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I still have it in my closet. Heck, I still wear it here and there. A white Umbro Canadian national-team jersey. Picked it up at Commonwealth Stadium before a Cuba-Canada qualifier, on the road to the 1998 World Cup — a road our national team wasn’t able to successfully navigate.

On the jersey is a red maple leaf, on an angle, on a thick black bar. In the white jersey, you can find the emblems of all the provinces and territories.

It was from the last set of Umbro jerseys Canada had — until Feb. 9 that is.

After a relationship with Adidas that lasted over a decade fell apart, Canada has come back to Umbro, and will wear the new kits when the men’s team plays Greece on Feb. 9. And, of course, the women will wear the Umbro jerseys when they play at the upcoming World Cup.

A lot has changed since Canada last wore Umbro; the famed football brand is now a subsidiary of Nike. So, in reality, the Canadian Soccer Association is in the same sponsorship bed as the United States Soccer Federation.

A blast from the past: Canada’s Umbro jersey from the failed France 98 qualifying campaign

“We are pleased to announce our new four-year partnership with Umbro and are excited by the opportunity that this partnership brings to the Canadian Soccer Association as we continue our brand building effort for the sport in this country,” said Peter Monotpoli, General Secretary for the Canadian Soccer Association in a release. “The next four years are critical for the organization with the Women’s National Team participating in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Olympic preparations for both the Men and Women, qualification for the Men’s National Team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and a record-number of youth teams in operation. It is not only Umbro’s presence on the pitch that is important for the organization, but their commitment to ensuring that the Canadian Soccer Association brand has a strong retail presence.”

“Through our partnership with the Canadian Soccer Association, we will create, define and drive the culture of soccer in this country, ”said Gerald Woodman, President of Umbro. “We will change the look of our game, both on and off the pitch. Soccer is hitting unprecedented levels of participation and importance in the Canadian sporting landscape. As soccer grows, our brand deepens and strengthens in the eyes of the player and fan alike. We will tie into the emotive elements of the game and the Candian Soccer Association will be at the very heart of these initiatives.”

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