We are often asked how we got started selling Soccer Gear. It is a simple story and it started by accident. Here is the abridged version:
Our father, Bob Laker, was coaxed, midway through the season, into taking over a U-7 boys' house league team: "the coach has been transferred out of town and your son's team will have to fold unless you take it over". A familiar story? By the end of the season, he had "caught a bug" and signed on for some more of the same. Still sound familiar? The following year he took on a travel team. However, he soon started complaining about the poor quality of the then available equipment. (This was in the early '70s). So, the following year, he also became Equipment Manager of his 1200 member club and began importing soccer gear directly from overseas manufacturers.
Soon, other clubs wanted the same quality equipment so, a couple of years later, Bob and our mother, Ida, formed a small company. Over the years, a company that literally started in our basement has now grown into an International Mail Order business. All three children, in turn, joined the company. Marina ran the Canadian operation for many years and was soon followed by Robert & Bruce – both of whom worked in the New York Head Office.
A couple of years ago, Bob & Ida, having laid a solid foundation decided to retire. However, they still periodically represent the company at trade shows – a good way to stay in touch with over 30-years' worth of friends and acquaintances
Over the years we have developed and marketed our own brand of Soccer Balls – CHALLENGE (still the benchmark against which all other balls are measured), Uniforms & Shoes. We have also carried almost every other brand name on the market – Adidas, Kelme, Puma, Diadora, Umbro - to name a few.
Currently we are geared towards supplying Teams, Clubs, Leagues, Schools and Camps with Uniforms, Balls & Gear. We carry Reusch (Keeper Gloves and Apparel), Pugg (Pop-Up Goals), Bownet (Transportable soccer goals), Soccer Learning Systems (Soccer On DVD's and Books), Protime Sports (Uniforms and Accessories), Goal Sporting Goods (Goals and Field Accessories), And we also carry our own CHALLENGE Soccer balls. Our balls have been used all over North America by some of the best programs on the continent, including the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America), NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), NCCAA (National Christian Collegiate Association of America), CPSL (Canadian Professional Soccer League), World Collegiate Games and many other State, Collegiate and local Leagues, Associations and Clubs.
We have supported soccer locally, nationally and internationally since the inception of the company in 1973 and we continue to work with programs around the country that teach soccer and promote sportsmanship.