This article was first written and published for the Roar.
The countdown is on to this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be held in June in France. For Australia’s Matildas, this will be their seventh-straight World Cup appearance.
On Tuesday another key milestone was celebrated when Nike revealed the 14 jerseys which will be worn by the national teams during the Tournament.
For our Matildas it was a significant day given that the squad will be wearing their own National Team Collection for the very first time during this Tournament. You won’t have to wait that long to see the kit in action, with it set to make its debut for a Matildas friendly against the number one ranked United States in Colorado (which is also the Matilda’s next game).
The design takes inspiration from Hosier Lane in Melbourne, the golden wattle and Australia’s landscape and looks to resemble contemporary Australia.
If you haven’t seen the jersey, check social media because it’s everywhere. You’ll also get plenty of fan reaction to it.
The jersey design has been called Spew 2.0 given that it resembles a retro kit that the Socceroos wore during the 1990s. The home kit is mainly gold and has splashes of green and white throughout. It will be matched with green shorts and white socks.
The away kit is mainly green and is almost identical to the kit that the team has been playing in since last year.
What I loved the most about the jersey reveal was how much chatter it generated on social media. Some fans loved it. In fact, I think most fans loved it.
Others hated it and suggested that given its likeness to that Socceroos jersey from the 1990s, that people would associate the jersey with the men’s team first rather than the women. Given the success the Matildas have had, this didn’t quite seem fair to some fans.
Regardless of whether people loved or hated it though, people were talking. In fact, I can’t remember a women’s kit generating so much discussion in the past (unless it was for some sort of fashion faux pas).
Potentially, the reveal is something other sports can learn from given that designing kits specifically for our female teams which are then made available to the public to purchase is something that has only recently (for most sports) become an option.
But fans weren’t just talking; they were spending too. By Tuesday afternoon, merely hours after the kit had been revealed, the men’s cut had already sold out and had to be restocked.
Not only did it generate plenty of discussion among fans, but it also had the team talking.
I couldn’t help notice the smiles on the squad during the reveal. I wonder how much confidence the Matildas will draw from the fact that they are wearing their own National Collection for the first time.
Given that the natural state of affairs has always been that what women wear on the field has been a second thought to what the men wear, it must be special for the Matildas to be wearing a jersey designed specifically for them.
And by that I mean a jersey designed specifically for women. Across the board, the reaction from the players seems to have been exceptionally positive with many commenting on how contemporary and fun the new kit is.
Sam Kerr, current captain was certainly on board and said that the new kit represented the spirit of the Matildas which is a team that is ‘out there and bold’.
The fanfare around this kit reveal signals just how much momentum surrounds this Matildas squad at the moment and the energy will just continue building as the World Cup gets closer particularly following their recent success in the Cup of Nations where the Matildas beat New Zealand 2-0, South Korea 4-1 and then Argentina 3-0.
There also seems to be increased conversation and action around the concept of equality and fair pay leading into this World Cup, with Adidas also announcing earlier this week that the athletes which they support and sponsor that are part of the winning team at the tournament will receive the same bonus payout as their male equivalents.
Well played, Adidas. Equal pay for equal play indeed.
It is positive to see so many big brands increasingly getting behind women’s sport. It sends an exceptionally powerful message to other brands that the investment is worth it and that equality is something that is worth fighting for.