USWNT Players Look To Increase Awareness Around Female Athletes
Several members of the USWNT have been exploring different "initiatives" to increase the marketability around female athletes ahead of the Women's World Cup, according to Vanessa Friedman of the N.Y. TIMES. USWNT players Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Christen Press, along with former USWNT player Meghan Klingenberg, launched the first product for their newly formed re-inc company: a T-shirt with the words "Liberté, égalité, défendez" on the front -- which translates to freedom, equality, defend. Other USWNT players, including Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Allie Long, "introduced a new website featuring a T-shirt of their own design: 'USA vs. Everybody.'" The USWNTPA "unveiled a new brand on its website: OOSA, named for the team chant and conceived to represent the players, on and off the field." In that context, the "lack of corporate recognition of the broad audience appeal of the female soccer star is surprising." GSE Worldwide CEO Mike Principe said, "In the past, female athletes were seen as most marketable when they could be pitched as sex symbols, and that is only now beginning to change.” USWNT G Ashlyn Harris, who is the first female global ambassador for the soccer brand Umbro, said, "I had always felt as if I was put in a box with my partnerships." She added, "They’d cover up my tattoos during photo shoots. It started to make me feel I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t being valued for who I was or what I brought to the table.” This fall the "first Umbro by Ashlyn Harris collection will be released (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6).