Jun 22, 2023

How adidas’ Focus on the Next Generation Is a Gamechanger for the Future of Women’s Football

Get the lowdown from behind the scenes of CHAMPION THE GIRLS – our latest initiative to give girls greater access to the beautiful game.
by Gonzalo Calvostaff

It is a hot Saturday in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The stadium is a boiling pot of emotions, and you can see girls and women everywhere – singing, dancing, and supporting their teams ahead of the biggest club final ever to be witnessed in professional women’s football. The eyes of my daughter are wide open, and in her face, I can see the astonishment from the scenes she is carefully capturing and saving in her memory for what will hopefully be the beginning of a lifelong love affair with football.

The importance of parental support in shaping the future of sport

Fact: women’s football is defying expectations and captivating audiences worldwide. An unprecedented rise fueled by major tournaments, increased media attention, and inspiring performances of talented female athletes. Yet, the reality is that women and girls still face many barriers to football, both at a professional and grassroots level, limiting the growth and potential of the sport.

"the reality is that women and girls still face many barriers to football, both at a professional and grassroots level"

Gonzalo CalvoDirector Communications, Culture, and Community

At adidas Football, we were particularly struck by the alarming fact that at the age of 14, girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports than boys. Reasons for girls quitting at a younger age vary, but clearly a lack of parental support is part of the issue, and as the father of a girl, this information touches my fiber twice as hard.

"Every child loves it when their parents take them to training or turn up on a Sunday to watch them play. I was lucky that I had the support of my parents."

David Beckhamfootball legend

As a leading company in sport, which is rooted in the belief that “Through sport, we have the power to change lives”, we do not want to see this from the sidelines. We want to take an active role in being part of the solution, so to help break down this barrier, we have joined forces with UEFA Women’s Champions League. With the empowering initiative called ‘CHAMPION THE GIRLS’ adidas reserved a block of seats exclusively for young girls and their parents and role models at the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in Eindhoven. The goal of CHAMPION THE GIRLS is to create a lifelong relationship between girls and the game, and to foster their participation in sports.

Champion the girls was an initiative against the backdrop of one of the key moments in European football, with around 250+ young girls – and their role models – invited to experience the euphoria of the game.Champion the girls was an initiative against the backdrop of one of the key moments in European football, with around 250+ young girls – and their role models – invited to experience the euphoria of the game.

The adidas Football Collective and the team behind the scenes

This initiative is not a standalone. It is part of a wider commitment to enable access to football worldwide. We are believers that football should be a right and not a privilege, but unfortunately in some parts of the world, the case is still the latter. Born from this belief, we created the adidas Football Collective, a movement that looks to host all our initiatives worldwide under one overarching umbrella, actively engaging with both global partners as well as hyper-local communities and focusing on marginalized groups who share a profound love for the game but are facing barriers to access it.

"CHAMPION THE GIRLS is part of our commitment to support women and girls in football."

Gonzalo CalvoDirector Communications, Culture, and Community

We extended an invitation to girls and their role models from across the Netherlands to experience the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final. All these girls share a deep connection with football. Some of them are young players from the Ajax academy on their path to joining Ajax women’s team. For others, their football team is there a second family, supporting them in the new country, as for the girls from the Breaking Barriers teams.

To create an unforgettable day, we brought all the girls together from their home cities, organized presents, and activities before the match. Young football players immersed themselves in the atmosphere of the final and captured cherished moments with their loved ones. Some of the girls could even feel like stars giving interviews to the press. After a day filled with incredible memories, we brought the girls back to the adidas hub, where a barbecue awaited them, along with the chance to win the match balls used in the final.

The CHAMPION THE GIRLS announcement is the latest initiative in adidas's long-term commitment to help make football equal, because when it comes to sport, fair play doesn't yet exist for all.
1% of net sales of the UWCL Pro-Ball Eindhoven made by adidas will be contributed to the Common Goal movement, aiming to increase participation, representation and leadership for women and girls in the grassroots game.
The activation also made room for the girls to experience what is like to engage with the local media after the game.
The role of parents, and role models is key to driving positive influence on the next generation of players and fans of the game.
The camaraderie of the game with friends...
... and the importance of sharing the passion for sports with role models was tangible!

"At adidas Football, we envision a world where girls and women have equal opportunities, support, and gain recognition in football."

Gonzalo CalvoDirector Communications, Culture, and Community

The adidas Football Collective is committed to be a driving force behind this change, working hand in hand with communities, organizations, and individuals who share our vision. Together, we will continue to CHAMPION THE GIRLS and women in football, amplifying their voices, leveraging our partnerships through global and in key sporting moments.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ is coming…

We are extremely excited about the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ in Australia & New Zealand, a global celebration of the women’s game.

In preparation, earlier in June we hosted a Global PR Day on Women’s Football at our Amsterdam HQ. Around 40 media outlets were invited to explore the world of adidas and women in football: Our restaurant, The gym and adjacent rooms were transformed for presentations of our stunning 2023 World Cup jerseys, our collaboration with Common Goal & the UEFA Women’s Champions League; the gym transformed into bra fitting studio including two spacious fitting rooms.

Together with our partners from Common Goal, the US Soccer Foundation, and Breaking Barriers for Girls, we travelled around the world to capture and share the stories of girls and women who live and breathe football, with the objective of bringing greater recognition to the women’s game. From Jamaica to Colombia, the United States, England and Italy, we will shed the light on the lives of the anonymous heroes that are changing the game at a grassroot level, highlighting their love for the beautiful game. Stay tuned for our docuseries live on adidas channels during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.

Behind the scenes of our FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ preparations.
Global sporting events always stimulate a sense of excitement within our teams.
Showcasing this year's Official Match Ball.
This year's jerseys have already created quite a stir.