There may be no American 'side' at this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, but there is a Garden State connection, one that is vital to every match -- the ball itself.

The official match ball -- the adidas Telstar 18 -- is named and designed after the Telstar satellite, which was developed right here in New Jersey by Bell Labs. When launched in July of 1962, the Telstar became the world's first active communications satellite and it relayed the world’s first transatlantic television signal, opening the world to global communications that we experience today. Due to its historical significance, Nokia Bell Labs proudly displays the actual backup Telstar satellite from the ceiling of the Nokia Bell Labs headquarters lobby in Murray Hill.

The original Telstar soccer ball was used in the 1970 World Cup because its eye-catching black and white design helped it stand out on the predominantly black and white TV screens of the time. It’s reprise for the 2018 World Cup was celebrated at Nokia Bell Labs campus with an event featuring players from Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls, kids from the Summit Soccer Club, and Nokia Bell Labs President and Nokia Chief Technology Officer Marcus Weldon.
 
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