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Young Footballers Swap Traffic Cones for Radar Powered Soccer Buddies

Soccer Buddy 1
Soccer Buddies in action
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The imminent world cup will stoke the dreams of a planet full of soccer playing young people. Many of those train regularly in the hope of becoming the next Theo Walcott or Wayne Rooney but are hampered by poor or inappropriate equipment, such as traffic cones, to represent opposing players. Now a Birmingham company has worked with the University of Warwick to devise a child focused "Soccer Buddy" training aid that can even use radar to track the speed of each child's shot at goal.

The specially designed four and half foot tall "Soccer Buddies" are the brain child of semi professional footballer and children's football coach Julez Broomes. He despaired at how dull and inappropriate many football training aids were for young boys - when replicating opposing players one had to choose between plastic road cones or adult sized mannequins that only bore a rough resemblance to a player. Julez said: "Young people aged 6-14 are in their golden years when one can do great things to develop their footballing talent - I thought there must be a way of making their training more fun".

He developed the idea of a colourful free standing figure, designed to be roughly the same height as the young people, that would be easy use and affordable for clubs and schools and even private home use. However he was dismayed when he could not find a way of manufacturing the figure that would be affordable to such users.

He turned to the University of Warwick's Innovation Direct team who have a track record of helping small companies develop innovative new products. They found him an extremely cost effective manufacturing process and helped him re-engineer the "Soccer Buddy" to make it even more child friendly and easy to transport and use.

Julez has also now produced a radar powered version of the Soccer Buddy that can track and display the speed of a young person's strike at goal with a speed camera like radar unit in the buddies chest. The University of Warwick team are now also helping him design other football training tools using the Soccer Buddy concept.

Julez already has orders for 35 Soccer Buddies. The new training aid has been tested and endorsed by Derby County Football Club's Football in the Community Team and has also won support from Everton's James Vaughan - the Premiership's youngest ever goal scorer (scoring at 16 years and 271 days old).

Derby County have kindly arranged for Julez to launch this new training aid on Saturday 3rd of June 2006 at the JJB Soccer Dome in (Derwent Parade, Pride Park) in Derby starting at 1pm. The event will see Derby school children try out around 20 of the devices including the Radar powered model.

Photo and film opportunity: Media are welcome to see the children in action with the Soccer Buddies at the launch event in Derby on Saturday 3rd of June 2006 at the JJB Soccer Dome in (Derwent Parade, Pride Park, Derby) starting at 1pm. The inventor Julez will be present as will the innovation team from the University of Warwick who helped him design the product. Do please let Peter Dunn at the University of Warwick Press Office (details below) know if you are attending the event.

The soccer buddy web site is at

Additional print quality pictures - click on the picture or the print quality picture links to be taken to 300 dpi images

Soccer Buddy 2
Soccer Buddy backs to the wall
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Soccer Buddy 3
It's a hard life as a Soccer Buddy
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Soccer Buddy 4
What do you mean another penalty?
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Soccer Buddy 5
It's four against one...
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Soccer Buddy 6
Buddy about the lose the ball again
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Soccer Buddy 7
Buddy faces pitch invasion
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Soccer Buddy 8
Buddies attempt to launch offside trap
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Link to Video news release on story at:
click on options under the eye on screen logo to view
For broaddacat qulaity version of that footage contact research Tvdirect at: or telephone: 020 7004 7130.

For further information please contact:

Julez Broomes 01213841165 or 07958 663535


Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 523708 or 07767 655860

PJD37 1st June 2006