March is Women’s History Month. It is a time to look back and celebrate all the contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. At Eastbay, our ConqHER campaign continuously highlights women who are breaking barriers in sports. This March we will be sharing some of the stories of women who made history on and off the field in 2020.
Women have steadily entered the basketball and football coaching and front office ranks for the past couple of years, but baseball has lagged a little behind. That began to change when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the first female general manager in the Big 4 sports leagues. Kim is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball for four years and earned a B.A. in public policy. She was hired by the Chicago White Sox after graduation and has worked for numerous other teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. She also served as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the league office before accepting her new role with the Marlins.
Sam Mewis’s footballing resume continues to get more impressive. The USWNT midfielder has been a staple in midfield for the Americans and was a part of the team that won the 2018 World Cup. Currently, she is holding down the midfield for 2nd place Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Recently, it was announced she was the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the first time she has won the award.
Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented and decorated player to come out of the UConn women’s program. She is now one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, winning an MVP and multiple titles with the Seattle Storm. In 2019, Stewart suffered one of the worst injuries in sports when she ruptured her Achilles. After sitting out that entire season, she returned to help lead Seattle to another title and was named one of Sports Illustrated ‘Sportspeople of the Year’ for her activism off the court.
At every level of the sport, A’ja Wilson has dominated. She was a champion and McDonald’s All-American in high school. In college, she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first championship in school history and was a three-time consensus All-American. She was recently named the 2020 WNBA MVP after helping lead the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals.
Aliphine Tuliamuk will be representing the United States as a long-distance runner at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tuliamuk placed first in the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta, Georgia with a time of 2:27:23. A former cross-country runner at Wichita State, Tuliamuk was the first person from her village in her native home of Kenya to graduate from college.
Jennifer King recently became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. The former two-sport athlete at Guilford College was an intern with the Carolina Panthers, where she served as the wide receivers coach in 2018 and running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera. She then followed him to Washington, where she is now the assistant running backs coach.
Sophie Luoto has exceeded expectations in every role she’s stepped into in her professional career. She began her journey into football while still in college at UCLA when she started working for the athletic department as a student recruiting assistant. Afterward, she took a job at UC Berkley where she was quickly named the Director of Operations. During her time at Cal, several members of the LA Rams organization reached out to gauge her interest in working for an NFL team. She accepted and spent a few years working on the business side before being asked to return to the football side. After a year and a half, she earned the Director of Operations title which made her the highest-ranking female executive in the NFL.
Chelsea Romero has always loved the competitiveness of strength & conditioning. She enjoys inspiring and motivating people day in and day out to reach their goals. Chelsea knows that hard work can lead to incredible opportunities. While working at UC Irvine, she had a chance encounter with the LA Rams head of strength and conditioning. After offering to work for free, she became the training camp intern serving mostly as an extra set of hands at first. It wasn’t long before she was offered, and accepted, a position that made her the Rams first-ever female strength and conditioning coach.
Caster Semenya continues to fight for the human rights of female athletes everywhere. The South African runner was born with a rare genetic condition that causes elevated testosterone levels. This has led many people to demand she take testosterone blockers or simply block her from running. Caster will continue to lead the fight for her right to run the way she was born.
Becky Hammon may be the most well-known female coach in the Big 4 leagues. She is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, a role she’s held since 2014. She has made a name for herself as one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league and received buzz as a potential head coaching candidate this past offseason. This season, after Popovich was ejected during a game against the LA Lakers, Hammon assumed head coaching duties making her the first woman to coach in an NBA game.
This past college football season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across campuses. Games were canceled, players were forced into quarantine, the whole thing was a mess. From this mess came an opportunity for Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt’s starting goalie on the women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt had an upcoming game against Missouri, but due to opt-outs and contact tracing protocols, the team had no available placekickers. Head coach Derek Mason reached out to Fuller to see if she would be interested in trying out for the team. Soon after, she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game. Later in the season, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game when she went 2-2 on extra points against Tennessee.
Sabrina Ionescu was born to get buckets. After a spectacular career at Miramonte High School where she graduated as the all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and triple-doubles, Sabrina chose to attend the University of Oregon and play for the Ducks. During her senior season in a game against #4 ranked Stanford Ionescu became the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Following her career at Oregon, Sabrina was the #1 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, where she plays today.
Alyssa Nakken made history this year by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history after being hired by the San Francisco Giants. Alyssa played college softball for Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference selection at first base. She initially interned with the Giants working on their health and wellness programs before going back to school to get her Master’s degree. The Giants then promoted her in January 2020 to a full-time coach.
Katie Sowers has made history twice in the past 5 years. In 2017 she became the first openly LGBT coach in the NFL when she came out as a lesbian. In 2020, Katie became the first female coach to coach in the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers went up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Her career began when she was an intern scout with the Atlanta Falcons before moving over to San Francisco as an offensive assistant on Kyle Shannan’s staff.
Mickey Grace knows that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind too. The former Math and leadership teacher in Philadelphia was recently chosen to be a part of the Scouting Apprenticeship Program with the Los Angeles Rams. Mickey is a former high school football player and in addition to teaching also serves as the defensive line coach for her school.
Chiney Ogwumike is not only a dominant force on the court but off it as well. A decorated high school and college career led her to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. After multiple All-Star appearances while on the Sun she was traded to the LA Sparks and reunited with her sister Nneka. It was recently announced she and the Sparks had agreed to a multi-year deal keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future. In 2018, she signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, making her one of the youngest people to become a full-time basketball analyst. This year she made history as the first Black woman to host a national radio show for ESPN.
There is almost no parallel in the sports world for what Maya Moore has done. She is one of the best players in her sport: a four-time WNBA champion, MVP, and six-time All-Star. Yet she has willingly sacrificed two years of her prime, two years of not playing the sport she loves, to try and secure one man’s freedom from prison. This past July, Jeremy Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault, walked free after 20 years. Irons, whose conviction was suspicious given the complete lack of evidence, said of Moore, “She is light, pure light.” Moore has said she will give an update on her basketball career in the future, but whether or not she returns to the court, we should all be inspired by her courage and dedication to justice.
Sarah Thomas has made history multiple times. She was the first female referee to work a major college football game. Then Sarah became the first woman to ref a college football bowl game. Finally, this past February, Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. She continues to be an inspiration for all the other women out there looking to go into officiating.
Amy Trask has been in and around football longer than many people have been alive. The “Princess of Darkness” as she is affectionately called by Raiders fans started out in the legal department of the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1987. She was named their CEO in 1997 making her the first female CEO in the NFL. After resigning from the team in 2013, Trask went on to serve as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She recently won the 2020 Top Women in Media award given by Cynopsis Media.
Most people remember Samantha Gordon from when she was absolutely cooking boys on the football field when she was nine. The videos her father uploaded of her blowing past or juking boys twice her size immediately went viral. Now 17, she has continued to fight for all-girls football rights in her home state of Utah.
From her very first steps, Ariana Dos Santos had a soccer ball at her feet. By the time she turned two, she was dribbling through cones in the living room of her home. Her passion for soccer has led her to several of her favorite life experiences so far. She was a guest of honor for the Brazil National Team, the star of Steve Harvie’s “Little Big Shot,” and has filmed several sports commercials. Ariana now plays for Florida Premier Football Club and is excited to empower girls who play sports.
Below you can find several of her favorite drills that she uses to improve her dribbling and footwork skills so she can dominate on the pitch.
GLUED TO YOUR FEET: In this video, Ariana starts off with a little bit of foundation. She progresses into a step over and turn. Then she begins dribbling through the cones using the inside of her feet, focusing on keeping the ball close to her feet. In the second part of the exercise, she uses the outside and inside of her foot, with a little more speed to create confusion/uncertainty for the defenders.
PULL BACKS AND STEP OVERS: Here, Ariana is doing a combination using her right and left foot, focusing on using the inside part of her foot. After weaving through the cones, she sets up a pull-back move before using a burst of speed to quickly get to the next set of cones.
CLOSE CONTROL: Here is a combination of all the exercises. This gives Ariana the freedom to use her own creativity. She rolls and pushes the ball through the cones using her right and left foot. She follows that up with right and left foot scissors. To end, she uses a Ronaldo turn and finish with a fun flick in the air to catch the ball.
FREEDOM AND FUN: In this exercise, the cones were removed, and Ariana plays as if she was in the World Cup! She does a few double scissors through her imaginary defenders progressing into a Maradona move before slicing into a defender with an elastic. She finishes with some Ronaldo flair and celebrates her goal with a big smile and thumbs up.
Shawna Gordon is a California native who has loved the beautiful game of soccer since she was four years old. She played in college at Long Beach State, and also professionally in the United States, Australia, and Sweden. Shawna now owns a non-profit called ‘Football For Her’, and her mission is to educate, motivate, and develop confidence in girls on and off the pitch; helping them reach their goals regardless of economic standing.
When Shawna is out on the pitch, she knows how important precise footwork is. Check out some of her favorite drills to improve your touch and dribbling skills.
Drill #1 – 3 Cone Drill
For this drill, you will need to set up three cones in a line with one step in between each cone. From there you will be working on the following touches using Shawna’s technique in the video below.
One touch passing
Behind the back half volley
Inside thigh, opposite foot volley
Chest, inside volley
Drill #2 – 8 Cone Drill
For this drill, you will need to set up eight cones two steps apart from each other. Using all surfaces of your feet, you will be working on getting more comfortable moving the ball in different directions without losing control. The moves you will be working on are as follows:
The L Turn and Drag Touch Up – Start by working through the same side of the cones then alternate to the other side.
Outside/Inside Same Foot Touch – Make sure you’re in an athletic position and you only take one step with your opposite foot every time you touch the ball.
2 Bell Roll – Roll the ball across your body and immediately take two inside touches, forcing you to alternate feet each time through.
Traditional Roll – Start with your inside foot on top of the ball. Without taking your foot off the ball, roll the ball outside and then across your body. With the opposite foot, roll the ball across your body and through the cones. Lastly, take a touch forward with your opposite foot and then repeat, starting with your other foot.
Additional Footwork Drills
These are a couple additional drills that you can do in succession to help strengthen footwork on the field.
One Touch Passing Drill – Get a partner and set up three cones in a line with about a yard between each. Start with a longer one-touch pass then move on to a short one-touch pass, ending with an L turn to bring you to the other side of the cones. Repeat with the opposite foot and do this drill faster with each rep to improve footspeed.
Resistance Band Drill – Use a resistance band while driving your knees and arms as hard as possible. Remember to lean forward slightly, keep your core tight, and go as fast as you can.
Ladder Dribble Drill – Use a ladder and step in with your closest foot. Then, take a step out with your initial starting foot so both feet are outside of the ladder and alternate direction. Remember to use the figure 8 motion and dribble back to the top of the ladder as quickly as possible.
Shawna also depends on the top-performing soccer gear to keep her footwork on point. To see her favorite product picks click here or visit eastbay.com.
“Look good. Feel good. Play good.” The classic quote coined by the Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders has never been so relevant. Back then, it was exemplified by Sanders’ swaggering style. His ability to rock a windbreaker zipped just far enough down to show off the dangling gold chains. The shades that cost as much as your average compact car. The head-to-toe Nike fits with the designer bag to match.
That style may never be replicated, but today, the new generation of athletes are carrying on Sanders’ legacy with a modern twist. Basketball players test the boundaries of what’s hot and what’s not with extravagant pre-game outfits, football players wear customized cleats during warm-ups, and even baseball players have utilized partnerships with brands like Jordan to bring retro silhouettes to the diamond.
But no other sport has embraced high-end fashion and culturally relevant streetwear like soccer, especially European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain. PSG has become the poster child for this fashion movement, mostly because of their willingness to take risks, and because of the ability to do so with the financial backing of their Qatari Sports Ownership group.
They’ve collaborated on hoodies with BAPE, made denim jackets with Levi’s, and launched collections with multiple Parisian designers. They’ve opened specialty shops in Tokyo and released limited edition products at small bookstores in New York City. All in hope of being recognized as not just a popular Football Club, but a lifestyle brand.
However, PSG’s most influential and accepted creative collaboration came in 2018, when they sparked a partnership with the Jordan Brand. This marked the first time that Jumpman had worked with a soccer team, and it quickly became a match made in heaven.
The PSG x Jordan collab represented a dive into hip-hop, fashion, and celebrity culture – an aesthetic both parties want to embody going forward. The products they’ve rolled out so far have come with glowing reviews. From Instagram influencers to old school soccer supporters, the brands have struck a perfect balance between keeping some traditional kit elements while also putting a streetwear-inspired twist on their new drops.
With PSG and Jordan laying the framework for a successful partnership, the sporting and fashion world will become more intertwined with each other going forward. So, whether you’re a lifelong sports fan or just an avid reader of the reddit streetwear thread, be on the lookout for more of these exciting collabs to form in the near future.
Thankfully for now, you don’t need to travel all the way to Japan or wait outside a niche bookstore in the Big Apple for hours to cop some of the newest Jordan x PSG apparel. You can get it right here at eastbay.com.
It’s 2020. You’d think by now we’d have flying cars, alien best friends, and gender equality, but before those dreams come true, science has more to discover, and we’ve got more to conqHER.
In the meantime, Eastbay continues making history of its own. For Women’s History Month, Destyni Swoope designed our March catalog cover, becoming the first external artist to do so. If you’re on our catalog mailing list, you’ll be able to see her cool art in person, but her inspiration and her story are equally amazing, so we decided to talk with her about Eastbay, her art, and women’s empowerment. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What was your experience with Eastbay growing up?
A: Growing up as a young athlete, I anticipated getting the Eastbay catalogs in the mail. It was like the sneaker bible! Back then, my brother and I would circle and star all the things we wanted and leave it out on the table in hopes that our mom would feel generous and buy us something. Haha! It was fun to see the gear that our favorite players wore and then be able to copy their swag. Eastbay catalogs have always been a huge part of the culture; I don’t know too many people who didn’t love flipping through them as a kid.
Q: You said you were a young athlete, what sports did you play growing up?
A: My love for basketball began when my older brother introduced it to me. We shared a room most of our younger years, so I naturally took after him and embraced hoop culture. I started playing with the kids on my block, and eventually my family signed me up at the rec center where I played through high school. I had coaches, but my father was the one who really pushed and supported my desire to play – we practiced and worked on my game constantly. When I got older, he even took me to the gym to play games of 21 with grown men on the courts to really put me to the test. That’s where my drive and love for basketball flourished.
Q: So, as a former youth athlete to now being an artist, what life advice would you give to young Eastbay athletes?
A: I’d say, always let the passion you have for your craft lead the way. Be open to learning experiences and remain a student of the game, because, outside of the game, you’re a student of life. The fundamentals and skills you learn in your craft follow you into life. Embrace your inner beast and constantly reach for perfection. A great high school coach of mine drilled this into my head saying, “MTXE,” which stands for “Mental Toughness, Extra Effort.” I found that this follows me outside of athletics in my journey as an artist. I strive to always reach higher and put my all into each opportunity.
For many fall sports athletes, the intensity is building as you enter the most important part of the season. But as you prepare for your most high-pressure games, meets, or matches, you’re going to face a different kind of challenge: cold weather. As fall turns into winter, training outdoors gets increasingly more difficult. But don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting and researched all the top products to bring you our top recommendations of cold-weather training gear designed to withstand anything Mother Nature throws your way. So no matter what sport you’re training for this winter, you can keep warm outdoors with the right cold-weather gear.
Nike Aerolayer is another essential piece of training gear, especially when the rain, sleet, and foggy mist come around. Water-repellent and warm, Aerolayer technology puts a layer of lightweight polyester insulation in between a water-resistant shell and inner lining to provide warmth without feeling too bulky to move. And precisely cut holes in the insulation layer allow heat to escape ensuring you don’t get too hot or too cold while you train.
If you’re fighting both wind and rain, Nike Shield is the winning technology you need to shield you from the elements. The fabric, which remains soft on the inside, is weather-resistant against wind and water, so that even in the meanest storms, you can keep going strong.
Nike AeroShield provides protection against wind and rain without sacrificing breathability. With sealed seams to create waterproof clothing and vents to promote airflow, you can stay dry and comfortable while fighting the elements.
Nike Therma is thicker to keep you up and running through the windy winter months. Ideal for layering, it’s soft and comfortable while remaining lightweight and breathable. But the true technology in Nike Therma is that certain threads in the fabric trap the heat emitted by your body providing lasting warmth while the garment construction allows air flow in and out to prevent your body from overheating.
Under Armour ColdGear
For optimal mobility during sports, Under Armour ColdGear is made from a lightweight fabric that allows you to stay warm without wearing bulky layers. The material is designed to adapt to the cold by trapping your body heat and quickly wicking away sweat so you stay dry and avoid chaffing and chills from damp clothing.
Under Armour Armour Fleece®
Light enough to wear under another layer or by itself (depending on how low the mercury drops), Armour Fleece® provides warmth and comfort during winter. The inside of the fabric is brushed for ultimate softness and layered to trap your body heat.
So those are our top picks for cold-weather gear to help you conquer outdoor training this season. Whether you’re training for football, soccer or cross country, make sure you grab the clothing you need to stay ahead of your peers. And if you’re looking for a more casual but equally warm outfit, check out our cold weather style guide for this year’s best winter wear.