The Sports Bra Project is committed to increasing access to sports by removing barriers to participation. We are excited to have been able to support the mission of Equal Playing Field during the 2019 Festival of Football in Lyon, France.
June 27-July 1 was an exciting time on the training grounds of the Oympique Lyonnaise Academy! Leading up to the 2019 Women's World Cup semifinals, Equal Playing Field ran a five-day Festival of Football that included educational programming, networking, and the breaking of at least one world record. With 807 players participating after 69 hours of continuous play, the Guinness WorldRecord for the largest number of players in a five-a-side match was set. Rumor has it there was also a record set for the most nationalities playing in an 11-aside game. Follow Equal Playing Field to learn more.
In addition to being able to connect in person with so many people both new and familiar all working to grow the game, The Sports Bra Project provided sports bras to NGO’s that Adidas and EPF sponsored to attend the event. Our sincere thanks to EPF for making TSBP a part of the festival and for their ongoing work toward Equality - Nothing more, Nothing less.
"It was a true privilege to meet in person, some of the women and girls whose paths to play are often not easy,” said Sarah Dwyer-Shick, founder of The Sports Bra Project. “Being able to remove just one barrier to their participation was truly a humbling experience. We are grateful for the work that Equal Playing Field is doing to support and raise awareness of women’s football around the world and look forward to continuing to support the athletes and organizations they work with.”
Football For All Vietnam
The women pictured are coaches from Football For All in Vietnam. They received sports bras and were sent home with additional ones for players and coaches in the organization. FFAV educates parents, volunteers and teachers to empower local communities to create sustainable grassroots football structures. To achieve this FFAV focuses on marginalized groups as well as on complete gender equity. The club has a strict 50/50 girls and boys participation requirement. Pictured far right is Equal Playing Field Co-Founder Maggie Smith.
Hestia FC, Greece
In May, TSBP provided new sports bras to participants in programming run by Equal Playing Field for Hestia FC in Greece. Set up by the Olympic Truce Centre, Hestia FC provides soccer programs for refugee women. Participants represent 14 different countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Ethiopia. I had the pleasure of meeting the director of Hestia FC, Katerina Salta, in Lyon. She is every bit as impressive in person as you would expect. To learn more about the program check out the recent Associated Press feature on Hestia FC.
Street Football World
60 players and coaches from Street Football World played in the record-setting Equal Playing Field game. The group then participated in the 2019 Street Festival World. More than 300 participants representing underserved communities in 35 countries took part in the 10-day festival at Sport Dans la Ville.
Yuwa, which means ‘youth’ in Hindi, was founded in 2009. Based in Jharkhand, India, Yuwa uses team sports and education to break the cycle of poverty by addressing child marriage, illiteracy and human trafficking in some of India's poorest regions. TSBP provided the six young women representing Yuwa that attended the Festival of Football with new sports bras and sent them home with additional bras for some of the more than 300 girls that play on Yuwa sponsored and predominantly female led teams.
‘Women belong in The Kitchen’ — we could not agree more!
The story, the energy and the excitement these women brought in the face of so many cultural barriers to participation was truly contagious. Where they live in Lesotho, Africa playing soccer, if you are female, is not encouraged. When they first began to play they were repeatedly told that they belonged in the kitchen and not on the field. Their response? Form their own club and name it Motseeo FC. Translation - The Kitchen.
Now when people ask what they are doing the say they are going to The Kitchen. They then gave each other nick-names of kitchen implements. Well played ladies, well played!
While we did not provide sports bras to the Motseeo FC team on this trip, you have not heard the last of this amazing group. Plans are in the works with San Diego Soccer Women to help others in Lesotho more easily access the game.
In The News
Here’s a roundup of coverage The Sports Bra Project has received in recent weeks:
On The Touchline podcast - Had a great conversation with Jason Broadwater before heading to The Festival of Football. You can listen to us talk all things soccer & sports bras on the Season 2, Episode 23, available anywhere you listen to podcasts.
Girls Soccer Network - Thanks Girls Soccer Network for the article and shoutout.
Soccer Parenting interview — A service opportunity for your child and club
Are you ready to pitch in?
We need your help in removing barriers to participation and increasing access to sports!