Women ConqHERing Sports History

Women ConqHERing Sports History

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.

Kim Ng

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

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

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.

A’ja Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Sarah Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Maya Moore

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

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

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.

Sam Gordon

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.

Enhance Your Skills with Dribbling & Footwork Drills from Ariana Dos Santos

Enhance Your Skills with Dribbling & Footwork Drills from Ariana Dos Santos

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.

Fútbol Meets Fashion: Soccer turns to Streetwear

Fútbol Meets Fashion: Soccer turns to Streetwear

“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.

Cold-Weather Gear

Cold-Weather Gear

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

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.

A man and woman, wearing Nike gear, stretch before their run on wet pavement with fallen leaves on the ground.
Male model wearing: Nike Aerolayer Vest.

Nike Shield

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.

Man, outfitted in Nike gear, running outdoors with trees in the background and fallen leaves on the path.
Model wearing: Nike Wild Run Aerolayer Vest and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Shield.

Nike AeroShield

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.

Woman and man, outfitted in Nike gear, running on an outdoors trail with fallen leaves around them.
Female model wearing: Nike Thermasphere Element Hood 2.0 and Nike Zonal AeroShield HD Jacket.
Male model wearing: Nike Therma Sphere Element 1/2-Zip Top 3.0, Nike Shield Warm Jacket, and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Shield.

Nike Therma

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.

Woman doing lunges on pavement outside while wearing Under Armour ColdGear tights and jacket.
Model wearing: Under Armour ColdGear Armour Colorblock 1/2-Zip and Under Armour ColdGear Armour Tights.

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.

Man stretching outdoors on pavement while wearing black Under Armour Fleece® pants.
Model wearing: Under Armour CG Armour Compression Fitted Mock and Under Armour Armour Fleece Jogger Pants.

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.

Coach Gift Ideas

Coach Gift Ideas

Gift giving can be difficult, especially when it comes to your coach. You want to say a big “thank you,” but what do you really know about them besides their favorite sport? So the end of the season rolls around and you just pick up a card for everyone to sign and put some cash inside. But with a little planning, you can find the perfect gift that you enjoy giving and your coach will appreciate receiving. So peruse the list below, find the description that best fits your coach, and check out our top gift idea.

 

For The Sentimental Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “I said it to last year’s team, and I may say it to next year’s team, but that doesn’t mean I don’t mean it now: you guys are the best team ever.”

An orange and white Nike Strike Soccer Ball.

A simple, yet special, gift idea is a signed ball – not only is it personal, but it’s unique to this season. Plus, if anyone on your team ever makes it to the big leagues, it could increase in value. Sports using larger balls are easier for a whole team to sign, but a baseball could be difficult, so consider having each player buy their own ball and decorate it as they want with their signature and maybe a favorite memory or inside joke. Then you can drop the whole lot of them off at your coach’s office for a nice surprise.

 

For The Always-Prepared Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Don’t worry, I’ve got an extra pair of socks.”

Grey Nike duffel bag opened to show gear inside (water bottle, socks, whistles, stopwatch).

You know this coach. They’re the one who’s car trunk looks like chaos with extra gear for players who may have forgotten to thoroughly pack their duffle bag. So for this coach, we’ve got an easy and fun gift idea. Find a bag in your team colors and fill it with an assortment of goodies – a water bottle, a funky pair of socks, sports drinks, snacks, small sports items like a whistle or stopwatch, and for extra “aw” – cards from the whole team.

 

For The Fan-damn-tastic Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Did you see the game last night?”

An assortment of fan gear laid out (a Golden State hoodie, a Chicago jacket, a Philadelphia T-shirt, a Houston jersey, Toronto shorts and a Boston hat).

If your coach has a favorite college or professional team, you probably know it. You’ve seen them sporting a hat or jacket with the team logo, seen their car bumper sticker, or heard a rant at practice after a rough weekend loss. If this is your coach, consider gifting them a new piece of professional or collegiate fan gear.

 

For The Sneakerhead Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Watch the shoes!”

A lineup of different shoe types including Nike Zoom KD 12, Jordan AJ 1 Mid, Under Armour Hovr Apex, HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 3 and adidas Originals Stan Smith.

Help your coach stand out on the sidelines with a gift they’ll love – a new pair of sneakers. We’ve got everything from the latest Jordans to Brooks running shoes to classic Stan Smiths. No matter what brand or style your coach prefers, you’re sure to find them the perfect pair of shoes.

 

For The Practical Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “I don’t need a gift. The best present you can give me is a championship.”

An eastbay holiday giftcard standing up

Sometimes the best gift is the one that lets your coach pick out exactly what they want. Sure, it may not be exciting to purchase or fun to put together, but when all else fails, there’s gift cards! Let your coach spend the money however they choose, whether that’s a piece of clothing for themselves or a piece of equipment for the team.


We want to hear the best ideas, comment a gift you gave (or received) that was a hit! And check out our other gift guides to find something for everyone on your list.