USL News Release
Thursday, March 16, 2006
TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced that majority shareholder UMBRO International Ltd has acquired an additional 30 percent share in ownership of USISL, Inc. (d/b/a USL).
“UMBRO has great confidence in the growth potential of the USL and its management,” said Martin Prothero, Senior VP, Marketing & International for UMBRO International and Chairman of the USL Board of Directors. “As a brand whose only interests lie in the sport of soccer, this investment ensures UMBRO’s position is retained at the heart of the sport in North America which we see as being increasingly important from an earnings perspective.”
“We look forward to working closer in the future with all stakeholders in the league to the benefit of all involved,” added Prothero.
The acquisition of the 30 percent previously held by Varsity Spirit brings UMBRO International’s share to 94 percent with the remaining six percent being held by founder and President Francisco Marcos.
“We are excited about UMBRO's increased investment in USL, and in turn North American soccer,” said Marcos. “UMBRO has been a longstanding, tremendous partner for over 10 years now and their increased commitment strengthens our resolve to continue our work in developing players, clubs and our soccer nations.”
Umbro, one of the world’s leading international brands of soccer uniforms, footwear, equipment and soccer-related apparel, was founded in 1924. UMBRO currently supplies playing and training kit to the England National Team and UMBRO's relevant international licensees currently supply playing and training kit to the national teams of the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Norway. UMBRO and its relevant international licensees currently supply kit to leading professional clubs worldwide, including Olympique Lyonnais (France), FC Santos (Brazil), Olympiakos (Greece), Shanghai Shenhua (China) and Chelsea (England). The UMBRO brand is also endorsed by high profile individual players including Michael Owen, Michel Salgado, Deco and Alan Shearer.
UMBRO recently expanded its relationship with the English FA in a series of agreements that extends its contract as the official kit and football supplier to the FA to 2014, makes UMBRO one of four Founding Partners of the new Wembley Stadium, and makes UMBRO the title sponsor of the National Football Centre.
“We would like to thank everyone at Varsity Spirit for what they have done, especially Ian McLaren and Jeff Webb, who have served on our Board of Directors for many years,” said USL Vice President Tim Holt. “USL would not have advanced to its current stature as a leader in the development of American and Canadian soccer without the support of Varsity Spirit and the continued commitment of UMBRO.”