As the worst footballer in the 90min office, week in, week out at five-a-side I tend to need all the help I can get in order to keep up with my co-workers.
This help usually comes in the form of:
- An extra player when my team is 12 or more goals behind.
- Being awarded a penalty instead of a free kick because "we might as well make it a bit more competitive".
- A "next goal wins" exclamation to give my team a slender chance of winning.
Ahead of another crunch five-a-side encounter on Caledonian Road next week however, I was offered a very different form of help from adidas; for I was invited to Fulham's training ground to try out the latest addition to the famous Copa series.
The new latest in the iconic series are the Copa 19+. adidas' 'most progressive boot to date', the Copa 19+ classic and modern aesthetic to create the first ever laceless leather football boot.
With a completely re-designed and re-imagined silo, the new Copa 19+ 'Redefines Touch.'
This is exactly what my footballing abilities have needed all along: redefinition.
My first touch, my heading, my passing, my shooting, my tackling ability all need redefinition. So my invitation to Fulham's training ground to test the Copa 19+ was my opportunity to do just that.
The first half of the day at Motspur Park was dedicated to the original Copa Mundial boots from 1979. Transported back to the days of Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Johan Neeskens, Fulham's coaches put me through the few paces I have during a 'traditional' training session. In my newly acquired classic adidas attire, the coaches ran me through some classic warm up techniques; which I (of course) struggled with.
Who knew that running backwards was so difficult?
Following on from this, we ran a number of passing and dribbling drills. As expected, I misplaced 99% of my passes and found it incredibly difficult to dribble past inanimate free kick mannequins.
However, adidas did manage to scour through my endless reel of bloopers to find a 13 second clip which makes it look like I can play football:
After completing the 'traditional' training session in the wonderful Copa Mundial boots, I was transported back to the future by the brand new Copa 19+.
As the first pair of laceless boots I've ever worn, I was slightly apprehensive about how they would fit, but they proved to be almost bespoke, and fitted like a (yes, overused simile incoming) glove.
The lack of laces proved to be a surprising blessing - rather than a curse - during the afternoon training session.
Without the extra layer on the Fusion Skin upper, it proved to be much easier to control the ball during the more demanding 'modern' warm up drills; and during the six pass offensive/defensive drill, I found that despite the 'barefoot experience' the anatomical upper gives, there was still enough protection for me to withstand a serious studding from another media representative.
I got him back, don't worry.
The final drill of the day was shooting from the edge of the penalty area. And yes, I was terrible at it.
However, while aggressively kicking a football more than ten yards isn't really my forte - nor is any physical exertion if I'm being honest - and while footballing ability hadn't exactly improved, trying to test the goalkeeper during the drill was a lot less painful than it usually is.
In fact, some of my efforts on goal were, weirdly, on target.
I chalk this down to larger flatter surfacer area that the laceless upper of the Copa 19+ gave me when striking the ball with my ever-mediocre left foot, rather than any semblance of personal improvement.
Although I'm still blatantly terrible at football, it's also clear that the latest edition of the iconic Copa series is blatantly brilliant. Fusing a classic design with modern technological advances, Copa 19+ may not have redefined my footballing abilities, but it likely has redefined what a football boot should be.
I may still be the worst player at five-a-side next week, but I will undoubtedly have the best boots.