soccer

Standing wth the Sustainable Revolution

8351-200.png

Today, we live in a world dominated by plastic. With the average American throwing away approximately 185 pounds of plastic each year. The use of plastic products are having a profound impact on our lived environment, as our cities and roadways are littered with plastic pollution. Tragically, other species that rely on healthy ecosystems for their survival, are beginning to suffer due to our plastic consumption: none more so than our marine life.

At this very moment, traces of plastic sediment can be found floating in approximately 40% of our oceanic ecosystems. Through extensive scientific research, scientists estimate that billions of pounds of plastic pollution now float within our oceans. The impact has been staggering.

The Impact of Plastic on Wildlife:

Thousands of species across the planet have suffered the climatic consequences of our consumptive practices. Hundreds of rainforest species are displaced each day due to mass deforestation, other species face hardships due to rapidly changing temperatures, and here in Montana, species have been posed with the challenge of dealing with a steady increase in annual fire damage. Still, the greatest impact of our consumerism, falls on those that call our oceans home.

According to Ecowatch, an organization that conducts research on the implications of climate change and pollution, over one million seabirds are killed on an annual basis, due to pollution in the ocean, while an additional 100,000 marine mammals die, each year.  

The massive loss of life should not come as much of a surprise, and plastic is the ultimate culprit. Plastic products constitute 90% of trash floating on the ocean surface, and now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states that there is in excess of 46,000 pieces of floating plastic within each square mile of the sea.

Now animals, from sea-turtles to small fish, are mistaking pieces of plastic pollution for food and are suffering painful fatal digestive injuries. In recent studies, scientists found that 22% of all cetaceans, 44% of all seabird species, and every single sea turtle species have been found with traces of plastic in their stomachs. For these species, the plastic crisis is not going away unless we make drastic changes to our consumption habits, and now other species are beginning to face the implications of a consumerist society dominated by plastic: including our own.

Plastic Consumption and the Climate Crisis:

global_emissions_gas_2015.png

When most people talk about plastic and the environment, the conversation starts and ends with pollution, and for good reason too; We only recover approximately 5% of all the plastic we produce, globally. But in truth, plastic consumption is a contributing factor to a much more severe environmental catastrophe: Climate Change. The vast majority of plastic products, sold both domestically and on the US market, are produced from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, like coal, natural gas, and oil, are the driving force of the global economy; but they have also become the driving force behind a rapidly changing climate. Today, the climate is changing due, in large part, to the emission of greenhouse gasses, and carbon dioxide makes up approximately 65% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The primary human caused source of carbon dioxide emission is the production of fossil fuels.

jJEXTzq.gif
2014_emissions_0.png

While fossil fuels play a number of important roles in our lives: they heat many of our homes, and they power most of our vehicles. It is important to note that plastic production plays a monumental role in the furthering of fossil fuel interests. According to the EPA, plastic manufacturing uses just under 10% of the global oil supply.

The implications of Climate Change are already bringing drastic changes to our planet. 2016 marked the hottest temperature year since 1880, sea levels are rising at their fastest rates in approximately 2,000 years, and the levels of ocean acidification (caused primarily by greenhouse emissions), are at their highest point since before the Industrial Revolution.. Changing the way we think about what we consume, may be the only way to help the planet we call home.

What Do Shin Guards Have to do With It?

While sports are commonly viewed as a helpful distraction from the problems of the world, sports oftentimes contribute negatively to the problems at hand. In the case of Climate Change, the vast majority of sporting stadiums are powered by fossil fuels, and most every professional team utilizes equipment made with plastic: including shin guards.

The vast majority of shin guards are made from either plastic, fiberglass, or foam rubber.

In the case of plastic, the environmental impacts are well documented (see above), but the other resources used to make shin guards are not much better. Fiberglass is, in all actuality, just a commonly used fiber-reinforced plastic; meaning it comes with many of the same environmental complications. Additionally, fiberglass can be dangerous to those working in production, and previous health issues have prompted both the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), to conduct health studies and develop pre-emptive measures to help workers avoid life-threatening health issues.

Foam rubber is not as dangerous as fiberglass, during the production process, but once the foam has been produced it is non-recyclable. Foam rubber plays a secondary role to plastic in contributing to global pollution.

What We Believe:

At Legend Soccer Company, our team believes in developing a product that helps soccer players on the field, without negatively impacting the world around the pitch. So, when designing our Legend I Shin Guard, we knew we wanted to build a high-quality product with sustainable means of production. Thus, we elected to build our product using bamboo, a highly renewable resource with incredible durability. For more information on the sustainable aspects of bamboo, check out next week’s blog, focusing on one of the world’s most amazing plants.

As a company of soccer players, we have dedicated countless hours to the development of a product that fulfills a purpose for players, at every level. We are proud of the sleek aesthetic of the Legend I Shin Guard, as well as its durability. Still, perhaps more than anything, we are proud of the fact that we are an active part of a movement away from plastic production.

Legend-Bamboo-Guards_01_web.jpg

At the end of the day, we will always love the beautiful game, we’re just more than happy to work towards helping this beautiful planet.


Sources:

https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/climate-change-facts

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data









The History and Regulations of the Soccer Shin Guard

 
Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 1.08.30 PM.png
 

In the history of sport, safety has not always been the highest of priorities. From Roman gladiators to the likes of Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson, an element of pain has always been at the forefront of celebrated competition. But with an evolving society has come an evolving emphasis on the safety of athletes. As American football decision makers continue to search for rule changes that can increase athletic longevity and decrease life-long health implications, other sports have also worked to implement safety measures for athletes: soccer is no exception.

These days, goalkeepers are protected like quarterbacks, video replays give referees the power to book players minutes after an initial foul, and shin guards are a prerequisite to stepping on the pitch at any competitive level. Here at Legend Soccer Company, we have worked diligently to increase comfortability and durability, in the one piece of protective equipment mandated by FIFA regulations. But, the history of the shin guard began long before any of us were born…

The Story of the Shin Guard:

Sport has long resembled a simulation of war-time; Sending our greatest athletes to go to battle, as others watch in admiration. So it is not surprising that soccer’s greatest piece of armor was designed after the real thing. The earliest shin guard was made to resemble the grieve, a piece of armor used by Greek and Roman warriors designed for the sole purpose of leg protection during battles. The earliest known records of shin guards (again, utilized during times of war), can be traced all the way back to 700 B.C. The shield has stood the test of time.

ef715397c8e3a833f91fffcbfa3b3798.jpg

In the nineteenth century, the shin guard transitioned from the battlefield to the playing field, as the device began to make its way into the game of cricket. While shin guards were initially utilized in cricket to gain an offensive advantage for the batsman, they would eventually become a mainstay for their protective faculties. By the late 1800’s, the shin guard was being sporadically introduced into the game of soccer (or Association Football); the game would never be the same.

The initial implementation of the shin guard, within a soccer realm, was forwarded by Sam Weller Widdowson. Widdowson, a former cricket player, made his Football name with England’s Nottingham Forest. After years of playing soccer, Widdowson began searching for a way to avoid injury in defensive challenges, and drew upon his cricket experience. When Widdowson decided to cut a pair of his cricket shin pads and strap them to outside of his socks, he could not have possibly understood the impact of his decision. After facing initial jeers from both teammates and opponents, Widdowson witnessed as other players began to design their own makeshift shin protectors.

shinguards.jpg
sw_widdowson.jpg

Today, the shin guard has become a pillar of modern soccer, and regulations at the corporate and youth level, prohibit players from competition without them.

Modern Shin Guard Regulations:

nocsae_orig.png

While shin-guards are rarely closely inspected by referees at the youth level, at the high school level, shin guards are regulated by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). Referees at the higher levels will regularly inspect shin guards, ensuring that the guards are an appropriate size in relation to the height of the player, while also making sure that the guards rest no more than 2 inches over the player’s ankle. It is also mandatory that all players wear their guards underneath their socks.

At the professional level, shin guards are regulated by FIFA, but have limited restrictions as far as the physical dimensions or placement of the guards. Unlike the kits that players wear (which must be from the same sponsor), players are allowed to wear any brand of shin guard they would like.

FINDING YOUR SHIELD:

When Sam Weller Widdowson invented the shin guard, he did so for the main purpose of protection. But the added protection came with other in-game benefits: as Widdowson, and others like him, began to play with more confidence on the ball, and an increased willingness to get into defensive challenges. Finding a shin guard you can trust, can make all the difference in how you approach the game. A durable shin guard makes a braver player, a comfortable shin guard makes a more technical one. As shin guards continue to be the lone mandated piece of protective equipment in modern soccer, finding your shield can be the biggest decision you can make before heading into battle.  

While cherishing the incredible timeline of the game of soccer, the game continues to move forward in global popularity, and societal relevance. This beautiful game we all love, is constantly searching for it’s newest Legend. You could be next...

 

Sources:

 

https://archive.is/20120720180544/http://www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure-and-culture/sports/cricket/hucknall-cricketers/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/355229-high-school-soccer-shinguard-regulations/

https://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/51/54/30/equipmentregulations-inhalt-e_neutral.pdf