By Brian Jennings – Dominique Badji, the Rapids’ rookie forward sensation who started his 1st MLS game earlier this season, has joined fellow Colorado draftee Axel Sjoberg as part of Team Under Armour. The 22-year-old striker is wearing the new Under Armour Speedform cleat on May 13th.
The graduate of Boston University was drafted by the Rapids with the 67th pick in the MLS SuperDraft and his ability and speed is making defenders take notice.
Badji started out his serious soccer days wearing mostly Nike models as that’s what was available to him at the time.
“In high school, college I didn’t really care what I wore,” Badji admitted to 365.WorldSoccerShop. “I usually ended up going with lighter shoes, something that would go along with the speed part of my play, so a lot of time I wore Vapors. In college, I didn’t have that luxury so I wore Tiempos.”
Badji’s preference for a speed cleat had him looking for a new cleat and he pulled the new speed cleat from the Baltimore based company and fell in love.
“I definitely look for the lightest shoes possible. They actually just released Speedform shoes, which are speed based, a couple weeks ago so I got those prototypes in and I’m in love with those.”
The UA Speedform design weighs in at just 7.8 oz, and features new synthetic microfiber upper called Wallaroo. Wallaroo has a soft leather-like feel but holds the properties of a synthetic material while offering a natural feel with durability. The underside features a lightweight pebax outsole plate, and TPU studs for traction and an explosive first step.
Another feature Badji really likes in his black/graphite Speedform CBN is the no-sockliner construction.
“It’s interesting because these don’t have an insole-it’s kind of built in. It’s nice because my socks usually slide in other shoes but this is the first one I’ve just been able to wear socks and not worry about that.” When looking inside the boot, it is almost a seamless clean liner from top around the bottom of the foot.
As mentioned, Dominique is the second Colorado Rapids players to join in the Under Armour trend now that the company is expanding its lineup from the Clutchfit model. Axel Sjoberg starting wearing the Clutchfit last season.
“During the MLS Combine my agent had talked with me about signing with Under Armour. At that time I wasn’t so hot on the idea. When he let me know that they were going to come out with some speed-based shoes I hopped on it immediately.”
Badji also mentions he really enjoys wearing a pair of boots that require very little break-in time prior to playing in them.
“Before matches I’ll wear the “match” pair the practice before and the training pair will last a month-2 months. I have no trouble breaking them in at all.”
The single piece upper also has an articulated toe box with molded toes to help the critical strike area mold to the foot.
“Mine just conform to the foot more than you having to fit into the Clutchfit,” explains Badji on the importance he puts on the lightweight feel in lieu of more protection on the outsole. “Mine are tight and this one allows me, since it’s so close to my feet, to feel everything.”
Get your Under Armour Speedform cleats at World Soccer Shop.