Creatives Get Soccer Fanatic with Adidas

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Fanatic NYC crowd
Fanatic NYC crowd
While Adidas is certainly cashing in on the unrelenting onslaught of hype surrounding Becks' L.A. landing, the company also looks to promote the game of soccer at the grassroots level. This year marked the sixth edition of Fanatic, a soccer tournament in NYC featuring teams made up of local creative types. Adidas launched the event in 2002 with agency partner Idealogue to encourage cultural "activators", as Adidas calls them, of New York—artists, art directors, photographers, DJ's, record producers and the like—to catch soccer fever. Last year the tournament was held in several major cities worldwide and the winners were flown to Berlin for a global championship and a chance to catch the World Cup final.

"We feel like we've exceeded the initial goals that we set out to accomplish in 2002," said Liad Krispin, head of US trend marketing for Adidas. "In many ways, Fanatic created a real soccer movement among a core group of creative individuals that now practice and enjoy the game on a regular basis. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to bring together such a diverse group of people to participate in the world's most popular sport. We feel like this event provides a small but extremely important step in getting more people interested in soccer in the US."

The rooftop field atop Pier 40 on Manhattan's West side played host to the tournament as well as a feast of BBQ and beverages for the gathered throng of spectators. With sun shining and tunes blasting, even more than a few stray shots bouncing off more than a few unsuspecting revelers' faces couldn't dampen the festive mood. In fact, let's be honest, it made it all the better. Teams played games all afternoon to decide who would compete in the Fanatic finals that evening.

NYC Fanatic Champs: The Syrup Kidz
NYC Fanatic Champs: The Syrup Kidz
Emerging victorious was first-time fanatics the Syrup Kidz, of local web design shop Syrup. "We're pretty much obsessed with football here and have built a rather impressive team, if I do say so myself," said coach and company VP Omino Gardezi. "We play pick-up together down in Chinatown a few times a week, and we also have a crew in the Urban Soccer League."

The local team had to beat visiting Los Angeles squad, LA Vale, who won the trip to NYC by winning the inaugural L.A. Fanatic last year. "The entire crowd was behind us as the New York team," said Gardezi. "The pace was intense, and L.A. was really strong—they had destroyed everyone coming into the final. They scored first but our boys came back hard and beat them 5-1. When the last whistle blew, the entire agency rushed the field."

With the win, the Syrup crew booked itself a trip to next year's L.A. Fanatic tourney, some new soccer boots, and tickets to Beckham's New York debut when the LA Galaxy play the New York Red Bulls on August 17th. The famed Chinatown Soccer Club won Best Jersey honors, while Psyop cheered its way to the Team Spirit award.

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