Washington Spirit players took time out of their busy training schedule to pack and tag more than 500 sports bras for DC SCORES poet-athletes.
On August 18, 2022, DC SCORES staff visited Washington Spirit players at their Leesburg training facility to pick up some very important equipment: sports bras!
DC SCORES staff joined Spirit players after their Thursday training session to sort and package brand-new donated sports bras of all sizes, which DC SCORES will deliver to middle-school poet-athletes who need them this fall.
Lack of access to sports bras is a consistent reason girls drop out of sports, with the most significant decline in participation occurring around puberty. Correctly fitting sports bras enable young athletes to play sports confidently and without pain or discomfort.
“After talking with some of our coaches, they told me not every poet-athlete had access to a sports bra,” said Katie Lu Clougherty, Senior Program Manager for Data and Evaluation at DC SCORES. “Sports bras are equipment, just like jerseys, and providing them ensures every poet-athlete is prepared to play soccer.”
Lack of access to well-fitting sports bras is a consistent reason for dropout among young girls and providing these important pieces of equipment helps girls play soccer through childhood.
The DC SCORES sports bra donation is part of a wider initiative by the Washington Coalition for Women’s Professional Sports (WCWPS), an organization launched in March 2022 that connects and supports the DMV region’s women’s sports teams. A WCWPS member team, the Spirit collected donated sports bras from fans at the team’s June 1 and June 11 home games and will host another drive at its September 10 match at Audi Field.
“We chose to do the sports bra drive because so often when we talk about needed equipment for kids playing sports, we totally disregard the necessity of a sports bra for so many,” said Zoe Wulff, Community Relations Manager for the Washington Spirit.
“We all know the extent of the challenges girls and women are going to face in their sports career and we want to work from the ground up to make sports a more equitable space for the next generation of athletes,” Wulff added.
The bras will make soccer even more accessible for DC SCORES program participants, many of whom do not have sports equipment of their own, said Clougherty. DC SCORES provides all its poet-athletes with jerseys, shorts, socks, and shin guards. “Providing sports bras in addition to these other items addresses inequities and removes more barriers,” explained Clougherty.
“It’s really important to be part of this drive to help young women, female athletes, to be able to step on the field with confidence,” said Spirit forward and DC SCORES Board Member Ashley Hatch, who joined the packing party. “A sports bra is just another piece of equipment that we need in order to play our best, so the more sports bras that we can donate and give to young girls the better!”