In a thoughtful move, one soccer team recently introduced new uniforms to boost the comfort and confidence of their female players during menstruation.
Breaking the Stigma
The topic of menstrual leaves and challenging the stigma surrounding it are being discussed more openly in workplaces. The Orlando Pride Team has notably taken a proactive approach in this regard.
The Orlando Pride, a team in the National Women's Soccer League, will be sporting black shorts this season instead of white ones. This decision was taken to address the comfort concerns of players during their periods, as white shorts may not have been ideal.
Putting Players First
According to the team, they proudly stand as the first in the NWSL to make a uniform change, driven by their players' concerns about discomfort while menstruating and competing in white shorts. There will also be a change in the names and numbers on the back of the jersey, switching them from silver to black.
A Big Step Forward
In a statement shared by the team, Orlando Pride midfielder Erika Tymrak said: “The reasons behind not wanting to wear white shorts are clear, but it is unfortunately something that hasn’t been addressed until recently. I think it’s a big step for us as a Club to make players feel comfortable and allow us to focus solely on competing."
Coping with Menstrual Concerns in Sports
While some athletes manage potential issues by using the contraceptive pill to avoid menstruation or have lighter periods, it remains a considerable problem for those facing heavier flows or unexpected mid-match periods.
Empowering Female Athletes
Commenting on the decision, Orlando Pride VP of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said: “We must remove the stigma involved in discussing the health issues impacting women and menstruating non-binary and trans athletes if we want to maximize performance and increase accessibility to sport. I am proud to be part of a Club that is making a small but extremely impactful change when it comes to both our professional and youth players.”
Prioritizing Safety and Comfort
Carter added, “The experience that players have and the safety and comfort they feel when wearing an Orlando Pride crest is a critical area of focus for us. We will continue to not only listen to player feedback but keep taking steps to make Orlando a world-class destination for athletes.”
To align with the Pride's decision, all girls teams in the organization's youth structure will stick to the current practice of wearing dark shorts for practices and games, and this standard will be maintained going forward.
Normalizing the Female Body & Periods
"This is a commendable move by the Orlando Pride and one that will surely improve the level of comfort amongst its players,” said Team Choice OBGYN Dr. Christine Greves of Orlando Health Medical Group.
“As a society we need to continue to work to normalize talking about the health and well-being pertaining to the female body and the period is a huge part of that. The more we do that, the more we’ll be setting up our athletes for success both on and off the field.”
Overcoming Puberty-Related Hurdles in Sports
The Women's Sports Foundation reveals that, by the age of 14, girls quit sports at a rate twice that of boys, partly due to puberty-related challenges. According to the U.S. Office on Women's Health, women, on average, experience menstruation for approximately 40 years of their life and typically lose around one to two tablespoons of blood during each menstrual cycle.
The team's decision to modify their uniforms represents a positive step towards destigmatizing menstruation, enhancing access to menstrual care, and addressing the puberty-related issues that cause girls to quit sports.
Years of Voicing Concerns
The Orlando Pride stands among the 12 teams in the NWSL, a professional women's soccer league established in 2012. Over the past few years, the US Women's National Team, comprising several NWSL players, has been openly discussing the utilization of period tracking as a way to enhance team performance and compete at the highest level.
Period Tracking Tactics & World Cup Glory
Back in 2019, Dawn Scott, who served as the high-performance coach for both NWSL and USWNT, pointed to period tracking as one of the strategies that played a vital role in securing their fourth World Cup title. By understanding the players' menstrual cycle and its symptoms, they could effectively tailor their training and performance accordingly.
England Lionesses Opt for Blue Shorts
The England Lionesses made another shorts switch decision, opting for blue shorts after players voiced concerns about menstruation. The Football Association responded to the team's concerted lobbying by making this change from white to blue.
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.