THE BEAUTIFUL GAME.
What’s your earliest football memory? The stories will differ with every fan you speak to, but the passionate support doesn’t. As a non-conformist female fan/womxn, supporting your team openly can feel a bit daunting. Being comfortable in what you wear to a game or how you style your shirt can be tricky; there’s an expectation to fit in. We’ve also all felt pressure at one time or another to know the game inside out, to know all the facts so we can prove our love for the game, gain respect and prove we’re eligible to be deemed ‘proper fans’. Whether we know all the facts or not, the feelings football gives us remain the same. So the question of how do we express our fandom can be pretty contextual. But we like a challenge, and so do Nike Women & Nike Football.
We love how football connects people, how it gives us the confidence to no longer squash our personalities, to be bold, fierce, feminine and to support our teams with pride. And that’s also exactly what this summer is about, too. It’s everyone’s World Cup. It’s time to define what kind of fan you are. To support your team, your way.
Ahead of the tournament in France this year, we want to be part of the excitement. We teamed up with 15 amazing fans from 14 countries to celebrate Nike’s first collection of football jerseys designed and made for Womxn. Working with Nike, we teamed up with super talent from London to bring our looks to life. Here’s the new collection of women’s jerseys and a whole modernised expression of the traditional ‘game day face paint’ - this is our take on the beautiful game.
We’re all familiar with the Nigeria kit… It was the kit of the World Cup last summer. So the shirt harbours the same pattern but redesigned for the shapes of the female body. We’re expecting to see this shirt everywhere this summer. The home kit pays subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt. It references the feather pattern from the men’s 2018 kit. Those elements are supercharged for the Falcons version - through an abstraction of the feather pattern and hyper colours that extend a power capable of turning heads on and off the pitch. We’re expecting big things from the Super Falcons. With players such as Francisca Ordega, Asisat Oshoala and Faith Ikidi Micheal we and our fan Anita are hoping for mega goals.
Onto host nation, France. Wow. What a kit, having talked to some of the girls and our France fan Gaelle, everyone loves the away shirt. The FFF away kit, white shirt and socks paired with blue shorts carries a unique hexadot pattern referencing both the country’s informal nickname (l'hexagone) and the dotted styles of French fashion. It shares the same interior detail (“Nos Différences Nous Unissent”), rose gold detailing and Art Deco font as the home kit. France have a good chance of winning this year and if they do, everyone (whether in secret or not) will be celebrating the home nation.
Our Brazil fan Cuane from south London has high hopes for her team, with a long legacy synonymous with doing well, she’s hoping for goals goals goals. Cuane is part of the Football Beyond Borders program and she loves the structure and support that football gives her. We love her focus and for that we now also have a soft spot for Brazil. The shirt itself is a bright yellow classic, eye catching and stylish. Just like the Brazil team’s tekkers.
OK. Is football coming home? Christ, we all hope so. So does our England fan Jayna. We have an amazing chance this World Cup, like for reals. Imagine how nuts we’re all going to go when Beth Mead bangs in that first goal. When the camera runs down the line of England players: Fran Kirby, Nikita Paris, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton. I challenge you not to have a lump in your throat, butterflies in your stomach and goosebumps. The home strip for England is a classic: white, clean, beautiful. But the away kit? We were blown away by how different it is, how radical it looks and we were all touched by the story of the flower pattern that dons the shirt. A flower from every county in England, something truly representative but not politicised or overly ‘girly’. Now, there’s a shirt we can be very proud to wear.
Up the Hup! We cannot wait to see what the Netherlands do and neither can our young fan Yusra. The top class team are writing history, they were crowned european champions in 2017, the team ignited national pride in women’s football in the Netherlands. The head-to-toe orange kit is bright and striking - just like the balls skills of Lieke Martens and Shanice van de Sanden
South Africa's Banyana Banyana might be new to the peak of global competition, this summer marks their maiden trip to football's flagship tournament. But the team is no stranger to the hard work and preparation required to make it. We’re all excited to see what they bring to the WWC as lots of us won’t have seen them play. Courtney will be watching in London, for the first time too, she’s new in town and excited to watch in a new city.
Another First this tournament is for Canada. They will be donning their first Nike kit for this World Cup, shirts specifically designed for women. Women’s football is huge in Canada so there is a lot of hopeful anticipation riding on this year’s team. We’re certainly looking forward to getting to know players like Erin Mcleod and Stephanie Labbe a lot better than we do now!
Our only Scandi country in this campaign; Norway. The nordic kit pays homage to the cold weather and traditional print (and has ‘borrowed’ a print from traditional Norwegian ski sweaters). Our Norway Fan Effy described it as ‘unmistakably Norweigan’.
One of the stand-out stories behind the shirt is the China home shirt. It bears a phoenix, a symbol of China rising from the ashes of their 1999 penalty shootout failure. The same moment in history that also gave China's women a long-lasting nickname: Steel Roses. Twenty years later, the blend of toughness and femininity conveyed by that moniker defines the current squad. A rebirth.
A real underdog (we love an underdog) is South Korea. The home kit features a simplified black and white crest designed to imbue a sharp, contemporary feel. A bright red shirt and black shorts follow the trigrams of the national flag (heaven, earth, water and fire). "In the face of many challenges, we have succeeded and we continue to rewrite our history," says midfielder Ji So-yun, the first South Korean to play in the FA Women’s Super League and an integral member of Chelsea. Our Korea fans Chai and Rach hopes they can keep overcoming the obstacles in their way this tournament.
The USWNT are odds on favourites to win… Sarah thinks they’ve got it in the bag (we like that confidence). They are a strong team and have the same spirit as the team that demolished Japan 5-2 in the 2015 final. If you didn’t watch that match, google the highlights because it was a wild ride. If they do win this year, it’ll be their fourth title… Killing it! And we all want to see Megan ‘Rapid’ Rapinoe bang in a few in the top bins.
During the past 5 years the ascent of La Roja has been well documented. They are, well, killing it. All the Chilean fans are excited to see if they can further their achievements. There are 4 key features on the shirts you may have missed…
La Roja. Chile’s bright red not only informs the byname for the National Team, but also serves as the base of the new home jersey.
The Andean condor, Chile’s national bird. This represents a modern Chile, the prowess of their national icon in the condor and the blistering intensity at which football is played in the country.
Chilean Street Signs that pays homage to Santiago’s street signs and Chilean car number plates. A reflective eight-point star pattern provides additional visibility under the floodlights.
The Chilean Flag - the five-point star from the National Flag, the football association crest and the eight-point star from the Mapuche war flag.
Onto the Matildas. The exuberant team spirit is one we all admire and the kit amplifies this team (and national) spirit. A fixture on the world stage, the Matildas have qualified for every tournament since 1995 and reached the quarters in the last three contests. Captained by the awesome and hilarious Sam Kerr, one of the most proficient strikers in the game, they are expected to get far. Our Matildas fan Mog will be cheering hard for her beloved team.
Last but not least, the leafy Ferns of New Zealand. The kit of course bears the plant that is the endemic symbol of the country and one that New Zealanders are very proud of. Our New Zealand fan Kiri is certainly very proud of her home country and the women’s team.
The other incredible thing about this team is that on May 8th 2018 New Zealand Football announced a landmark agreement to bring equality to elite female and male athletes.
The deal gives The Ferns, as the women's national team is affectionately known, pay parity, equal prize money, equal rights for image use and parity across travel while representing New Zealand. As one of the first nations to promote such a plan in football we absolutely love this progressive attitude and long may it continue in NZ.
And that is our 14 federations donning their support and their specially designed Nike women’s kits. We absolutely loved this project, we got to feature some firsts, and we hope that the tournament provides us all with loads more. Big thanks to all the team that were involved in this project. We hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to get creative with showing your support!
Photos by Jackson Bowley & Milly Cope.
Copyright This Fan Girl and Nike Football 2019