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A Q&A With Antonio Zea, Adidas' Director Of Soccer Innovation

Antonio Zea led the development of one of the most anticipated and visible products for 2014: the Brazuca, the official match ball for next summer’s FIFA World Cup. Join Fast Company senior writer Chuck Salter for a live chat with Zea on Friday, December 13th at noon (ET).

The Brazuca is the official match ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Soccer is the only major sport that dares to routinely change its primary equipment and incorporate the latest technology in pursuit of the perfect ball. Earlier this month, Antonio Zea, director of soccer innovation at Adidas, unveiled the company’s latest creation, the Brazuca. It’s the official match ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Brazil starting next June. Traditionally, the month-long tournament is the most viewed event in sports. Four years ago, nearly half the world’s population tuned in.

In 2010, Adidas’ World Cup ball was roundly criticized (pun intended). This time, Zea made sure that the Brazuca was tested with more players--600-plus--than Adidas had ever used before. The official ball got high marks for its aerodynamics in wind-tunnel tests and for its consistent flight after repeated kicks by the lab’s robotic legs. But “playability,” the players’ chief criteria, is purely subjective. Now, after two and half years of development, Zea is about to find out if all that work paid off. 

You can join the conversation between Salter and Zea starting at 12pm (ET) on Friday, December 13. And you can start submitting your questions before and during the live chat using the "Make a comment" box below.


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[Photo: Reinhard Hunger for Fast Company]