E-Lacrosse reviews the hot 2002 lacrosse apparel!

Under Armour is no secret in the Lacrosse world, and Lax is no stranger to the Under Armour execs either. CEO, Kevin Plank played lacrosse at Georgetown Prep before attending the University of Maryland to play football. Kip Fulks, Plank's partner and the Vice President of Under Armour played lax at Maryland and is one of the fastest players in pro lacrosse, starring on the Washington, D.C. NLL team, The Power, along with a few of his employees, Matt Shearer, John Ciliberto and Casey Connor. Shearer, a Canadian who played his college lacrosse at Baltimore's Loyola College, is their top marketing guy and along with Connor, Ciliberto and others, gets into the nitty gritty with the coaches, players and general consumers at events like the recent Men's and Women's Coaches Convention in Philadelphia. This year Terps Women's star Torri Wellington was representing UA at the convention, as well.

The Under Armour product has always been innovative and of a high quality. They really got a foothold in the lacrosse world, due to their great connections there, before they were nationally known. But they were noticed early on by the football community and before long the covers of major sports publications featured atheletes with that trademark UA under their chin for all the little gridiron kids to see. Pretty soon their gear was featured in football films Any Given Sunday and The Replacements. They suddenly have the wind behind their sails to possibly even dwarf the largest lacrosse companies in annual sales if they haven't already.

One lacrosse manufacturer with the obvious "means to replicate", has done so again with a whole Under Armour knock-off line, as has a major shoe manufacturer, but Under Armour, ever edgy, entered the snowboarding and wintersports market with the Cold Gear line and still retains a large share of the football market while dominating lacrosse. Fulks and Shearer have most of the major lacrosse stars wearing Under Armour and have things brewing with Paul Gait on some apparel ideas for the deBeer line. But STX Star brother Gary Gait has always worn it too. Casey Powell was a devotee before he was contactrually obligated to sport another brand. Tom Ryan lives in the stuff. Under Armour products are the number one off season seller on E-Lacrosse and we have seen young kids in Baltimore and Washington suburbs just wearing the loose gear around lately. In any case, lacrosse will always be a great small market for the Baltimore based Under Armour, however they do in the battle for transcendency to major commercial "household name" brand status, because lacrosse consumers always tend to reward high quality. Look for the Cold Gear to get a big push from the Winter Olympics which start in just two weeks. Under Armour is an official sponsor of the U.S. Freestyle Skiing team and is worn by many of the competing Snowboarders, as well.

A few years ago, Cindy Timchal sent the E-Lacrosse editor a Terps Under Armour Loose Wear sample, before the loosewear was available on the commercial market. You've seen Gary Gait wearing a similar shirt on the sidelines of Terps' games on E-Lacrosse. We knew from this product that Under Armour was doing what it needed to appropriately battle their new feaux brandishing foes. They looked forward. They moved on. They innovated again. And the loosegear is selling very well, especially with those of us who don't want to display our washboard stomach all the time. They followed with cold gear which is also a very high quality performance product that does what they say it does. The Cold gear is very comfortable and flexible, while keeping the wearer dry and warm. Its not as warm as the Zyflex gear you'll read about below but the UA Cold can be very form fitting without being restrictive at all. It is highly recommended, as is the new skull cap and the old standard heat gear.

The Skull cap is being worn by NLL players under helmets as a great way to keep longer hair and sweat out of their eyes. We think it will be a huge hit in the early spring for those very cold games and practices. The material breathes well and kept us suprisingly warm while sitting outside for a while on a very cold night. Its super thin so when your helmet is on you don't even know it's there.

The Heat Gear is the original "performance apparel" offered by Under Armour. It's their bread and butter and for good reason. Most top-level lacrosse players have worn it for 7 or 8 years now. The material expands to fit your body wicking away moisture and keeping you cool in even the most heated summer league games.

We also really liked the mesh team shorts they sent us. The fabric falls loosely and feels substantive beyong its weight, the way a silk or suede shirt hangs on you. They are attractive and comfortable and breathe very well.

We have not tried the Turf Gear, which is new for 2002, but it is generally the Heat Gear with a surface that protects the wearer against abrasions caused by contact with artificial turf surfaces. A great idea! We also have not tried the street gear but the shirt above looks pretty cool and we hope to get some soon. If you get some first, write us and tell us what you think. This line represents a foray into a very mainstream market that may or may not take the Under Armour name to heart, the way lacrosse and football have. We'll see, and we'd never bet against these guys who took a basement operation to great heights with just an idea and hard work in such a short time.

Rebel Lacrosse can customize all of the Under Armour gear for your team. The examples below are only a few examples of the great work these two companies have done together. We have begged everyone from Rebel's Billy Curtis to Crease Monkeys' chief Harry Mazzaheri to slip us an extra Crease Monkeys UA shirt but they were VERY popular and went immediately. It is obvious that everyone involved still has only one left and nobody's giving 'em up. Rebel customizes alot more than just Under Armour too. Check out the insider's shoot below with Brian Carcaterra and photgrapher John Strohsacker as they stress test the new Rebel/STX team wear that "the Hop" will be sporting in 2002!

The much sought after Crease Monkeys custom UA from Rebel

The new Hopkins Under Armour from Rebel

Any Under Armour can be customized for your team!


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