So, I know this happened over a week ago. But with just getting back to classes and getting situated, it took a tad bit longer to finish the actual write-up. However, the long awaited recap of the uniform unveil is FINALLY here. Sorry it took so long everyone!
Following the 2010 WPS draft, PUMA and the WPS partnered to unveil the newly designed WPS uniforms. It was a fantastic event, giving these players, especially the newest members of the WPS an opportunity to unwind and have a little bit of fun as well.
The veterans stepped out first with the home jerseys on, each of the players sporting their respective team’s home kit with LA Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc announcing each player.
The entrances ranged from a runway walk by Atlanta’s Leigh Ann Robinson, to the Sol’s Manya Makowski’s “two step” dance, to the Athletica’s Kendall Fletcher doing her trademark back handspring, to Washington’s Cat Whitehill’s dancing down the catwalk to “Sweet Home Alabama.”
The rest of the models included Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Leslie Osborne (Boston Breakers), Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars), Tiffeny Milbrett (FC Gold Pride), and Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC).
Then it was time to unveil the away uniforms. The newest draftees, a top international signee, and one of last year’s top picks provided some great entertainment on their entrances, while showing off the newest away kits.
The Atlanta Beat’s No. 1 overall pick, Tobin Heath kicked things off with Le Blanc introducing her as a player who was “just ok”, which definitely got some laughs from the crowd. Boston’s Lauren Cheney was up next walking out to Miley Cyrus’s "Party in the USA," having stated before that she wanted to be on the cover of a magazine.
So with the cameras flashing, she finally had the chance (or so said Karina Le Blanc). She was followed by FC Gold Pride’s Kelley O’Hara, who pretended to shoot the crowd after slapping hands with former U-20 teammates Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney. Heath’s former UNC teammate, Whitney Engen stepped out in the Chicago Red Stars away kit, posing in front of Heath who pretended to snap a picture.
The LA Sol’s Casey Nogueira came up, pushing aside Cheney and Heath (as both players laughed) before continuing her walk up the runway. Philadelphia’s Caroline Seger danced with Kelley O’Hara upon entering the catwalk in the Independence’s bright yellow away kit.
Brittany Taylor was lightly pushed down the line of models, showing off the reigning WPS champions Sky Blue FC’s uniform. Angie Kerr (formerly Woznuk) gave fans a look at the new St. Louis Athletica away kit. The Freedom’s newest player, Nikki Marshall ran through a tunnel made by the rest of the models on stage, stopping at the end to pose several times.
The unveiling itself was a fun, loose environment, and after a long day of waiting to hear who would play where, it was definitely needed.
“Well it’s a much needed event I think, for all of us because it’s so fun to see the draft but it’s a little bit stressful. And today, we didn’t know who we were going to get, we were anticipating it, so finally we just get to let loose and we get to look at these great new uniforms.” Washington Freedom defender Cat Whitehill said. “I’m loving the pinstripes that we have going on and you know, PUMA just did a really good job. And I’m excited about them.”
Several of the other models applauded the WPS and PUMA for putting on such an outstanding event.
“Oh it’s awesome.” Kelley O’Hara, the third overall pick said of the event. “I mean, it’s been a great day, more than I could have hoped for. The WPS has done an excellent job doing the draft and PUMA has done an amazing job of putting on this event with unveiling the new uniforms.”
First round picks and former teammates Whitney Engen (Chicago Red Stars) and Casey Noguiera (LA Sol) echoed O’Hara’s sentiments.
“Yeah, it’s been a really busy day and kind of tiring, but it’s been really fun and exciting. And this kind of event that the WPS and PUMA put on is just really special. I’m really happy to be here and it’s just fun.” said Noguiera
Engen agreed. “You know, it’s great. This whole day has been a lot of fun for me. A lot of new people, a lot of new things and PUMA is awesome for putting on this incredible event and they really went all out this year. It’s really exciting – I get to try on my new uniform and I’m having so much fun. It’s a great end to a great day.”
The uniforms are a bit different than last year’s kits and the players absolutely love them. The biggest difference, was the comfort level in the uniforms this year.
“The comfort. It’s tremendous, like it’s night and day from last year the comfort level of this.” said Whitehill.
Boston Breakers midfielder Leslie Osborne gave an excellent comparison between this year’s uniforms as opposed to last year’s.
“Personally, I love them. The shorts have a huge difference in them. Last year they were really skinny and narrow and tight and this year they’re wider and looser and more comfortable. And the long sleeves are great. The collars are different and looser so we all feel stylish but more comfortable.”
Overall, the event was incredible. Seeing the players on the runway was both entertaining and fun to watch and PUMA did an absolutely amazing job putting it together. The players finally got to let loose a little bit and have fun. For the veteran players, it was just another fun day in their careers.
For those rookies who were drafted mere hours before, it was just the start of the newest chapters in their soccer careers.
Special thanks to the WPS and PUMA for putting on such an amazing event and allowing us at Bleacher Report to cover it!
Photo Courtsey of Laine Schmid.