Monthly Archives: July 2016

New Jersey area youth ball

images-9As a boy, George Altirs spent his free time playing as much soccer as possible in the village of Mejdlaya in Lebanon.

“It was the only game that we ever knew about,” he says. “If you wanted to play a sport, you kicked the ball around. Two kids, three kids. A good pick-up game when a bunch of kids got together. Or you kick the ball against the wall by yourself. I loved the game.

“But after you become 15 or 16, the game disappears. There’s no college soccer, nothing for you after that. But I stayed in love with the game. I kept watching.”

He moved to the USA in 1988 and founded the fashion companyCapelli New York, which now does $250 million in annual sales. When the USA hosted the 1994 World Cup, he attended as many games as possible, including the final at the Rose Bowl. When his children hit soccer-playing age, he went from fan to soccer dad to patron and has since made a major impact on New Jersey-New York area soccer.

He founded the New Jersey’s Cedar Stars, which in their third year became a U.S. Soccer Development Academy club at the U-14 level. He turned one of his Capelli warehouses into a top-notch indoor soccer facility, the Capelli Sports Center in Carlstadt, N.J., which includes a pro-quality futsal court.

Altirs is also responsible for the floodlights and first turf replacement in 26 years at Newark’s St. Benedict’s Prep, one of the top high school programs in the country for decades. Its alumni include Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter. Altirs’ support has led to the St. Benedict’s-managed youth program for 500 Newark kids, mostly lower income.

NJSA — the club that Ramos, currently the USA’s U-20 national team coach, founded in 2004 — has partnered with Altirs, who’s in the process of constructing facilities the Development Academy club desperately needs.

“We feel because of his commitment to soccer we can really begin to develop more and more players in New Jersey and in our club,” says Ramos.

In 2013 Altirs bought the majority share of USL club Wilmington Hammerheads.

“I didn’t know where Wilmington, North Carolina, was when I got the call,” he says. “But I flew down for the weekend. It’s a nice beach town and it was making an impact in the community. And by Tuesday we made a deal.”

Altirs’ purchase of the Hammerheads also meant supporting its 2,000-player youth program — and creates a link to his New Jersey clubs.

“With the three clubs in New Jersey and with Wilmington,” says Ramos, “we’re going to have a professional pathway for our players as well.”

Earlier this year, MLS newcomer New York City FC adopted the Hammerheads as their USL affiliate. Reyna, NYCFC’s director of soccer operations, knew Altirs from New York-area youth soccer. Their sons’ teams played against each other.

Altirs hadn’t planned on becoming so involved in the game — but one thing led to another. He has six sons and started picking up expenses for his older boys’ teams, which included many lower-income children.

“My idea was anyone who cannot pay to play soccer and wants to play soccer, you come to play for free,” said Altirs.

“I had more equipment than I had at LIU or Ramapo,” said Arnie Ramirez, the retired Long Island University and Ramapo College coach whom Altirs enlisted to train his son’s team, run camps and help him navigate the youth soccer landscape as he pursued creating a club of his own. “He gave us everything a professionalclub would want.”

Revenue Hits For The Jersey

The NBA is moving closer and closer to putting corporate logos on player jerseys. The proposal could be approved as soon as next month at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting with logos coming for the 2017-18 NBA season when the league kicks off a new eight-year, $8 billion apparel deal with Nike NKE -0.47%.

A new study released last night by sports marketing firm Repucom is one reason NBA owners are eager to make the leap to logos on jerseys. Repucom found that the teams in Europe’s top soccer leagues will generate $930 million this season from shirt sponsors, up 13% over the previous year.

Captain Wayne Rooney sports the Chevrolet-branded jersey of Manchester United. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Jersey sponsorship deals have long been part of European soccer and the values of the deals have skyrocketed in recent years. Manchester United started a pact with General Motors GM -0.83%’ brand Chevrolet in 2014 worth $80 million a year or 150% more than the previous agreement with insurer Aon . Japanese tire manufacturer, Yokohama, began its $60 million a year sponsorship of Chelsea this season at more than double the prior ratewith Samsung.

The Chelsea-Yokohama tie-up helped push English Premier League shirt revenue up 35% this season to $370 million or 40% of the total in European soccer. The other leagues that make up the remaining $560 million are the German Budesliga, Spain’s La Liga, France’s Ligue 1, the Italian Serie A and Netherlands’ Eredivisie.

Foreign investment is driving the growing shirt sponsorship market with 62% of the revenue derived from deals for companies based outside the team’s home market.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the top market with UAE companies investing $183 million led by Emirates Airline and its trio of deals with Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. UAE is followed by Germany ($152 million) and the U.S. ($97 million), which is largely the United deal with Chevrolet.

“For brands, shirt sponsorship consistently returns the highest advertising values, but it is key to understand which clubs and leagues present the best opportunities,” says Repucom managing director Jon Stainer in the release announcing the results of the study. “Given the number of deals and their increasing values, mapping European football’s shirt sponsorship provides a fascinating look into the trends shaping the whole industry.”

As in the EPL where deals range from $80 million a year to $1.5 million annually, different NBA clubs present different opportunities for sponsors with big market teams carrying the most cache. To alleviate this issue, the NBA’s proposal calls for 50% of any jersey sponsor money to go into a revenue sharing pool.

NBA teams are not about to have Emirates, Qatar Airways or Deutsche Telecom splashed across their chest in big, bold type. The proposed size of the NBA logos would be 2 ½ inches by 2 ½ inches and appear on the upper left chest, similar to the Kia Motors logo on the 2016 NBA All-Star uniforms.

The NBA would be the first of the four major U.S. sports league to add corporate branding to regular game-day jerseys, but European soccer-style jersey sponsors are already a part of the U.S. sports culture. MLS teams have always operated with corporate names front and center, and the WNBA also prominently displays its jersey sponsor. Don’t expect a fight from NBA players. The revenue from jersey sponsorships would fall under basketball related income, which is split evenly with the players.

Soccer Uniform Decoration Tips

High School Soccer Uniform Rules

The following is a general guideline regarding high school soccer uniforms but is not official. Please check with your local school or organization for rules that pertain to your team, as rules may vary.

The Basics

A required high school soccer uniform includes jersey, shorts, socks, appropriate shoes, and shin guards that are age and size-appropriate and that provide adequate protection.

Socks and jerseys of opposing teams must be of contrasting colors. The home team will make the necessary changes if both teams are wearing similar colors. The home jersey should be light-colored, visiting team wears dark. New to the 2012 fall season, the home team may wear solid white jerseys and white socks, and the visiting team may wear dark.

Shin Guards

Shin guards are to be worn under socks, and with the bottom edge no higher than 2 inches above the ankle. Shin guards must meet NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) specifications. Undergarments must be the same color and length as the over-garment.

Numbers, Logos and Trademarks

The number size on the front of the jersey should be at least 4 inches high, 6 inches on the back. Only symbols representing the school (with possible exceptions) and the name of the player are permitted on the high school uniform. A manufacturer’s logo or trademark may appear on socks, with limitations. Only one manufacturer’s logo or trademark may appear on the outside of each article of clothing and may not exceed 2-1/4 square inches. An American flag must not exceed 2 X 3 inches. A commemorative or memorial patch may not exceed 4 square inches and with state approval may be worn on the jersey provided the symbol does not interfere with the visibility of the number.

Accessories, Casts and Braces

Soft caps are allowed, as well as padded headbands.

Items such as casts, braces, etc. worn on the body must be padded to ensure safety, with padding no less than 1/2 inch thick. Artificial limbs not considered dangerous and which do not put other players at a disadvantage are allowable. Any protruding parts must be foam padded.

College Soccer Uniform Rules

The following is from the NCAA Soccer 2008 and 2009 Rules and Interpretations.

The Basics

A standard college soccer uniform shall consist of a jersey or shirt, shorts, shoes, shin guards and stockings. Studs are allowed on soccer shoes as long as they’re not considered dangerous.

Shin Guards

Players must wear shin guards “in the manner intended, without exception” and must be professionally manufactured, size and age-appropriate, and meet NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standards.

Numbers, Logos and Trademarks

Jerseys must display visible and distinguishable numerals that are at least 8 inches tall on the backs of jerseys; 4 inches tall on the front. Numbered shorts are optional; numbered jerseys mandatory. The uniform may display one manufacturer’s logo or trademark on the outside of the uniform and must not exceed 2-1/4 square inches, and this rule applies to all apparel worn by student athletes at a competition. A commemorative symbol may be worn on a jersey or shirt, but must be contained within the parameters of 2-1/4 square inches.


Home team players must wear matching uniforms, with colors that contrast with the visiting team’s colors.

Goalkeepers must wear jerseys that set them apart from their teammates, and stockings that distinguish them from other players.

Shorts may be a different color than jerseys and socks, so long as long as all players display a uniform look. Visible undergarments must be the same color as the article of clothing it is worn under.

Rules recommend that warm-up jerseys or vests be a different color than the field uniform.

Accessories, Casts and Braces

Rules recommend that team captains wear arm bands distinguishing them from the other players.

A player may not wear anything considered dangerous to any player. Jewelry must not be worn except for medical bracelets or necklaces and must be secured to the body.

International Soccer Uniform Rules

The following is from the 2010-11 Federation International Football Association (FIFA) rules titled: “Laws of the Game”, under Law 4, “Player’s Equipment”, pp. 18-19, and “Interpretation of the Laws” pp. 63-65. For details

The Basics

A standard international soccer uniform consists of: a jersey or shirt, shorts, stockings, shin guards and shoes. If an undershirt is worn, the undergarment sleeve must be the same color as the jersey sleeve. The same rule applies to undergarments worn under shorts. Goalkeepers may wear tracksuit bottoms.

Shin Guards

Shin guards must be completely covered by stockings and be made of rubber, plastic, or other “suitable” material and provide a “reasonable degree of protection”.


Opposing teams must wear colors that distinguish them from one another, and from officials. Goalkeeper must wear colors that distinguish him from his team players, and officials. In cases of infringement, see p. 19. If both goalkeepers are wearing the same color jersey, and neither has an alternate jersey, game is allowed to begin.

Accessories and Jewelry

All items of jewelry are strictly prohibited. Tape may not be used to secure jewelry.

All other articles of clothing besides the basic equipment must be inspected by the referee and determined to be safe.