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Target makes a big play for soccer parents with Umbro partnership

It's teaming up with English soccer apparel and equipment company Umbro.

The Essentials

1. Target announced its latest exclusive brand collection – a partnership with English soccer apparel and equipment company Umbro.

2. It will see 90 pieces of Umbro kids apparel, footwear and equipment available in Target stores and online starting late February.

3. It's one of 12 new brands Target is announcing between 2017-19, with others including link-ups with Chip and Joanne Gaines and the introduction of the Goodfellow menswear line.

What Else You Should Know

The partnership with Umbro makes sense. 

Unlike in Europe and South America where soccer is a working class phenomenon, in the U.S. it remains very much a middle class pastime.

That fits right into Target's, erm, target audience, and the partnership with Umbro is just the latest move the retailer has taken to jump on the burgeoning soccer bandwagon.

Last year it teamed up with the MLS' Minnesota United becoming their main shirt sponsor, sponsored the Target Youth Soccer Cup in October – the largest tournament of its kind in the country – and committed $14 million to grassroots soccer initiatives.

Soccer moms and dads spend money, and Target is eager to grab a slice of that market.

"Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. and continues to grow in popularity among our guests," executive merchandising officer Mark Tritton said. "As the only mass retailer to sell Umbro, we’re giving more families access to the sport through stylish and affordable apparel and gear."

Tritton expounded more to Forbes, saying Target "didn't really choose soccer so much as soccer chose us."

"Soccer is very much reflective of the guests we serve – it cuts across generations and cultures, and is both suburban and urban, and is family oriented," he added. 

You may not have heard of Umbro, but they are all about soccer.

While the big names of Adidas and Nike still dominate the world's most popular sport, Umbro has carved out a niche for itself, particularly in the lucrative British market over its almost 100-year history.

Its line with Target will include cleats, T-shirts, jerseys, shorts and shin guards, and they're all relatively affordable, with prices ranging from $4.99-$19.99 in kids sizes XS to XL.

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