Dear Thorns Fans:
At first, before the Portland Thorns, supporting women’s soccer meant attending every University of Portland women’s soccer game. Sitting next to the student section, wearing purple to every game, with a large bag of kettle corn in hand and watching the beautiful game as it should be played, was all I needed.
It was not until years after, the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league opened as a great opportunity for women from all over the world to play professionally.
However, it was when I attended a WPS match, FC Gold Pride vs. Los Angeles Sol, where I became confused. I wanted to purchase an FC Gold Pride Brandi Chastain jersey or even a FC Gold Pride shirt to bring back home to wear when I practiced, but there was no merchandise stand, and no building anywhere that I could purchase anything. No women’s jerseys or shirts available for anyone to wear and support their favorite WPS team or players.
With that said, there will be no more moments of confusion for female youth players or fans when it comes to wanting to support their favorite women’s sports clubs and players. Thus, it is our pleasure, and with great gratitude, to announce on behalf of Women Ball Too our first professional women’s soccer collaboration with the Portland Thorns!
Women Ball Too (WBToo) is our local, homegrown business based out of Eugene, Oregon run by both a woman and a man. We were both raised in Portland, graduates of the University of Oregon, and huge women’s sports fanatics! We are just two people, with two perspectives, together to grow one mission: the women’s professional sports market (WPSM).
For WBToo, the key to growing the WPSM is simple: community. We stress the importance that we need community to communicate change that cultivates. Our brand is needed because we cultivate spaces and movements to endure, persist, and grow for not only the female athletes of today, but for the next generations of female athletes to come.
From our first jersey sponsorship deal with a youth soccer club, to now our collaboration with the Thorns, this is how we envision supporting and growing the WPSM. Build from our youth, then create communities, clubs, and players who inspire and support youth players.
Thus, there is no better place than home to start and grow from, and our home is Portland. Being able to collaborate on this special piece with the Thorns has been humbling. From being a ball girl on the sideline for Thorns games, to both of us being super-fans in the stands chanting, it is an honor to be on the other side of the pitch giving back to our community, creating a shirt for the most supportive women’s sports fans and community we know.
Thank you to the organization, fans, and community for allowing us to share your platform to build and grow our mission together. But most importantly, thank you for being a club and a community who sets an amazing example for what an ideal space looks like for women’s professional sports.
Portland rainy days come and go, sunshine with rays sometimes show, but what is always here to stay are our Thorns and Rose City Riveters. #BAONPDX
Women Ball Too. SO CAN YOU!
From the bottom of our hearts,
Corinne Togiai and Donovan Neal
Founders of Women Ball Too