As an athlete, what’s the pinnacle of fame? Is it winning championships and selling jerseys or is it creating a lasting brand in the vein of your image? A strong argument can be made that athletes can’t have one without the other and a long list of athletes like Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods – to name a few – help bolster that stance. After winning titles domestically and internationally, several U.S. Women’s National Team players are hoping to join the list of iconic athletes who win both on and off the field.
It started with a realization after winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. TV networks, sponsors, other brands were reaping the benefits of the team’s success, but in the players’ minds, they weren’t compensated to the level at which champions should. The solution? Take the reigns on their own brands rather than leaving it solely in the hands of the corporate world. The result? Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and Meghan Klingenberg recently launched re-inc. Alex Morgan, Allie Long, and Kelley O’Hara debuted a USA vs. Everybody product line. The Players Association launched a new brand, OOSA, with products to soon follow.
For re-inc, the goal is to flip the script on streetwear – an oft male-dominated space – and offer a gender-neutral line designed and made by women. The first item – a shirt with Liberté, égalité, défendez on the chest – was produced at a quantity of 500 to drive demand, a typical tactic in the fashion world. The hope is the brand, with additional products on the way, helps illustrate the power of these particular athletes and inspire others to take their own successes and parlay them into future commercial ownership of their own brand.
The U.S. Women’s National Team players have earned plaudits for their fight for equality and other matters, but now they’re no longer just fighting for a future of continued success – they’re owning it.